Rating: ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️
In the middle of an extremely dull semester of early American literature, The Grapes of Wrath was a gem that I wasn’t expecting to love as much as I did. I admittedly had somewhat high expectations of this novel because I have heard nothing but good things about this book. My grandfather and fellow classmates assured me that it was a good read, and my old roommate even went as far to say it is her favourite novel. Very promising indeed!
The story of the Joads and their move west during the Great Depression was a surprisingly captivating and, not surprisingly, depressing read. I felt for these characters more deeply than I had for the other characters explored in my class. I loved this family! Pa and Ma Joad, along with Tom, Rosasharn, Casy and co., all came across as such good and genuine people, and my heart couldn’t help but break while witnessing their hardships.
This is a novel studied in school for a reason – the symbolism is oozing from the pages, especially in the “inter-chapters” found throughout the novel. I enjoyed these inter-chapters way more than you would think one would enjoy seemingly boring descriptions of landscapes, people, and events. I just found them so well written and beautifully described! The metaphors you can find in these chapters moved me as well. There was one chapter in particular where the “owner men” were telling the “tenant men” that they had to leave and the banks were described as being monsters and not men. This depersonalization was also in another chapter when Steinbeck wrote about tractors farming the land as opposed to the men and horses. He talked about the men in tractors and how the land was not their home and the disconnectedness that was there. I know I’m rambling, but I could go on because all of the inter-chapters were fantastic!
The final scene in the book (one I will not spoil because I highly encourage you to read it and have it hit you like it hit me) was extremely eerie, moving, and POWERFUL. The degradation of these people is unbelievable and the fact that Steinbeck followed a white family and not a family of a different ethnicity just goes to show that this could happen to ANYONE. I didn’t feel any disconnect with this family whatsoever and could easily see myself as part of them. You know if I was a Southern kind of gal (which I most certainly am not 😝 )
Overall this book was a deeply moving, enlightening and beautiful depiction of life during the Great Depression. It’s definitely one of those books I’m glad to have read, and even if you don’t need to read it for school, I highly recommend it and feel it’s a book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
If you want to learn more about John Steinbeck and his books, visit his wikipedia page here –> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck