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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is set against the backround of dust bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells the story of the Joad family, who like thousands of others are forced to travel west in search of work. their journey is one of false hope, thwarted desires and broken dreams.

The Grapes of Wrath is an excellent introduction to the times of the Great Depression and an account that gives a realistic impression of the Dust Bowl and migration. Steinbeck thoroughly describes the hardships experienced in the travel to California. The reader travels looking through the eyes of both parties; the poor migrants and the wealthy Californians.

Steinbeck relies on the use of symbolism to strengthen and enhance the plot and I loved how in Chapter 3 he introduces the turtle which later is picked up by Tom on the roadside shortly after he was paroled from McAlester prison. The turtle while crossing the highway is narrowly missed by a woman driving a car as she swerves to avoid the turtle, then a man in a truck swerves to try and hit the turtle. The truck just touches the edge of the turtle's shell, and flipped the turtle like a tiddly-wink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway. In this instance the turtle symbolizes the determination of the farmers in California. These families, even though they are homeless, jobless, and out of money, do not give up their struggle.

While I did find the Grapes of wrath a great read. it was a very slow read for me. At times throughout the novel I found my mind wandering whilst reading long descriptive passages and the plot really did not hold my attention as I found it lacking. I loved the characters but I did feel I never really got to know them.

I really disliked the ending of this novel as I found myself disappointed in its conclusion and after spending many hours reading I had really hoped for a better ending.