Student Question

In "Bud, Not Buddy", why do the characters plan to go west?

Expert Answers

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The answer to this lies in the novel's setting. The story takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930's when many Americans were unemployed. In the Midwest, where Bud lives, poverty was made worse by the Dust Bowl. Many farmers in the Midwest saw their farms literally blow away when prolonged drought turned their once fertile fields to dust.

The American West seemed to offer people affected by unemployment and farm loss greater opportunity. Many families picked up and made their way west seeking jobs and a better way of life, a migration made famous by the Joads of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.

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