Skip to comments.Leonard Pitts Jr.: 'The Grapes of Wrath' Resonates, 75 Years Later
Posted on 04/23/2014 4:07:38 PM PDT by nickcarraway
It was an angry book.
Much of the response was angry too. Some towns banned it, some towns burned it. Every town talked about it.
"The Grapes of Wrath" was published 75 years ago this month, a seminal masterpiece of American literature that seems freshly relevant to this era of wealth disparity, rapacious banks and growing poverty. John Steinbeck introduced readers to the Joads, a poor, proud clan of Depression-era Oklahoma farmers who set out for the promised land of California in a rickety truck after their own land dries up and blows away and the bank seizes what little is left.
Perhaps you remember what happens next, how misfortune piles on misfortune, the promises of the promised land receding like a wave from shore. Perhaps you remember how Tom Joad, the decent everyman, becomes radicalized with the realization of how heavily the deck is stacked against him and his. Perhaps you remember what he promises his mother as he prepares to flee after killing a brutal strikebreaker.
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
They should re-release it under a new title: “The Fruits of Socialism”.
The poorest American today would be a Rockefeller or Morgan back then. They have plentiful food, shelter, air conditioning & heating, wireless telephones, Internet, several cars, hundreds of television channels, MP3, video games, closets full of clothes and shoes, indoor plumbing with safe, clean drinking water, food refrigeration, interstate highways, free medical and dental care, free glasses & contacts, unemployment insurance, worker’s comp., welfare, Section 8, food stamps, WIC, Social Security, etc. etc. Pitts is out of his mind.
Pitts has always been out of his mind (besides, Lenny, the Joads were White — what about that “White privilege” ?). Problem is that “Grapes” (at least the film) is almost unwatchable today in its over-the-top big gubmint as savior propaganda.
Never read the book but have seen the movie a couple of times. I thought it was pretty good but when I learned that Steinbeck was a Commie, I realized it was pretty blatant propaganda.
Steinbeck is nothing more than a documented liar. “Travels with Charlie” is a total fabrication.
Haven’t read Grapes of Wrath but i’ve seen the movie. I have read Tortilla Flat but haven’t seen the movie.
It does have left wing messages but it is still a great movie.
People of need were willing to work hard and rely on themselves to survive. They did not feel entitled to anything more than a honest day’s wage. Nothing like today’s profession victims poverty pimps.
Truth be told the descendants of the Depression Era Central Valley Okies own big chunks of it now it now and are being water starved by the government.
Since the Joads were poor whites from Oklahoma, doesn’t that render the book “right wing populist” propaganda, which all “true liberals” are against?
With Spencer Tracy as Pilon the movie is light hearted and a joy to watch no politics!
I read the book and saw the movie. Many of the poor Okies from the Great Depression are probably many of the few Republicans left in California. In the thirties Steinbeck most likely thought they’d always be radical leftists like himself. Steinbeck himself lost a lot of his leftist radicalism before he died.
The saddest thing, at least in my opinion, about Steinbeck is that he was a truly gifted writer, and a true pleasure to read, but he was simply dead wrong in the message he wanted to convey. Much like Ayn Rand, without question utterly brilliant and talented in some areas, yet has fundamental myopia in others.
I was born in 1954 and up until I was 8 or 9 had family that lived in the Weedpatch Camp which appears in Steinbeck’s novel. My first memory is of my aunt and uncle who lived in 2 tin cabins in the camp. They had 4 kids so one cabin was for sleeping and the other cabin was for ‘living’, cooking, etc. They had a 2 burner hotplate that they cooked on. No heating or air conditioning of any kind. It was hotter than Hades in those cabins so we spent a lot of time outside under the trees. There was a huge community bathrooms with showers that we were not allowed to go in alone. They scared the heck out of me. lol I also remember the music from the dances they had in the community hall on Saturday nights.
Eventually they moved from the tin cabins to a 2 bedroom adobe duplex in the camp and finally to a 3 bedroom townhouse in the camp. I also went to Sunset school which was the school built next door for and by the migrants.
When my grandparents first came here from Arkansas they lived in a tent city in Weedpatch which was about 1 mile from the Weedpatch Camp. Moving to Weedpatch camp was definitely ‘moving up’.
They still have Dust Bowl days in Lamont and Weedpatch but now both towns are nothing but Mexicans.