Grapes Of Wrath Thesis

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During the 1930’s America had come to a standstill. Not only was the nation confronted with the economic crisis of the Great Depression, but the severity of over-cultivation had brought on the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl, which ultimately caused the evacuation of large portion(s) of America's Great Plains. As a result, thousands of what came to be known as migrant farmworkers hit the road in anything allowing transportation in search of work. Often many of these migrant workers would take the threatening trip to California where there had been a need for these ‘new gypsies’. According to John Steinbeck (1936), “at least 150,000 homeless migrants wandering up and down the state, and that is an army enough to make it important to …show more content…
During this particular time period many of the workers lived in ‘squatter camps’. According to Steinbeck (1936), squatter camps had been located on river banks or near irrigation ditches or on the sides of roads where a spring of water is available. From a distance these camps looked like a city dump. In most cases, the city dumps were the sources for the material of which these homes were built. When walking toward the camp you could see a litter of dirty rags and scrap iron, houses built of weeds, flattened cans, ¬¬¬¬or of paper (Steinbeck, 1936, p. 26). When reading, Steinbeck traces the retrogressive of the migrants as their poverty and hunger increases. He thinks that the longer these individuals live this way, the further they degenerate into tragic inhumanity cause by the complete loss of personal dignity. When the new migrants had arrived, those who still posed “dignity and hope” would attempt to maintain social graces. Those who had been around longer would tend to lose all thought of moral conception. Finally, Steinbeck (1936) distinctly describes the migrant’s vacancy and anger “[…] after the loss of dignity and spirit have cut him down to a kind of sub-humanity” (p. 31). As a whole, this particular series shows the loss of human dignity is the most devastating consequence of migrant