Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 233

Among a few distinct themes of The Dust Bowl lies the theme of human responsibility. As Worster unfolds the various causes and effects of the devastating Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the Great Depression that ensued, he calls readers to evaluate the part people played in the destruction of the land. Worster asserts that the Dust Bowl was preventable, but decisions by Americans (primarily farmers, business owners, and government officials) exacerbated poor environmental conditions. He calls for greater human responsibility in regard to environmental and civil exploitation.

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In his critique of the human involvement in the Dust Bowl, Worster also presents the theme of greed. He argues that the capitalistic fervor of the time to compete, industrialize, and constantly increase profit swept across America like the great winds of the decade. Worster states that there should have been more regulations and safeguards in place to protect the land, the Midwestern states, and the organizations from overly zealous and greedy Americans.

Likewise, the theme of learning from history cannot be ignored. Worster argues that there must be a constant analysis of farming, industrial, and governmental practices to keep people and organizations accountable in order to avoid another Dust Bowl period from ever happening again. Worster cautions readers to understand, evaluate, and remember what led up to this devastating decade in America's history to avoid destroying the land in a similar fashion ever again.

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