Gorfo's Reviews > The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
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Jul 19, 10

bookshelves: classic, historical-fiction, banned-challenged, my-favorite-character-died, coming-to-america
Read from July 06 to 12, 2010

I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I started reading the Grapes of Wrath. For some reason I was laboring under the misconception that it was going to be a nice pleasant book about farmers who picked grapes. Boy was I wrong!

The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family, a collection of strange characters. Tom Joad is on parole from prison, his dad has become a broken man after the loss of his land due to industrialization. Al is a swaggering womanizer, Noah has always been a little lost, Rosasharn is "in the fambly way" and her husband Connie doesn't have much of a personality. Grampa and Granma are a wild and lively bunch, and Uncle John is constantly drinking his sin. Casy is a tag-a-long preacher who says he's not a preacher. Ruthie and Winfield, are just kids trying to figure out their changning world and Ma is the stronghold of the family. She is one of the strongest characters I've ever encountered. She's a quiet presence at first and you might not realize it but soon it becomes clear who keeps the family, moving, living, breathing and together. I think without knowing it John Steinbeck unintentionally creates a story filled with emotion that highlights the importance of family.

The family moves west to California after sharecroppers have become obselete in order to find work, but to no avail, they don't like "Okies" in California. They hate them without knowing them, and hurt them so that they won't get hurt. Being completely unfamiliar with this part of American history I was quite shocked to get a peek at the circumstances surrounding the dust bowl and the depression. Could Americans really be this cruel to other Americans? The same skin color, maybe the same kin? Was it plausible? Was it possible? Apparently it was.

I got mixed reviews about this book. Some said it was slow and laborious. Others said it was the best book they'd ever read. I agree with both accounts. The book was slow, but not laborious. It was just filled with substance, and that made it like wading through a vat of molasses, but I think reading this book is worth it because when you've finished you come away with something that's bigger and greater than you. And you feel a certain kind of understanding of the way life is. Does that make any sense? To me it does. I think it's funny how the people who don't have anything are the first to give. And how people who don't have anything find amusement in life, building up amusement out of nothing, like Steinbeck says.

The one thing I didn't quite like about "the Grapes of Wrath" is the ending. As I turned the last page I thought. Huh? That can't be it. Seriously, this is what you're leaving us with? I don't think I'll ever be satisfied because of that peculiar ending. What did it mean? Was it symbolic? Or was it just so. The ending was just outlandish if you ask me.

So how do I feel about this book? It's a great book. I loved it. Hated it. And I feel like I'll probably read it again. I'll read it when I'm lonely and when I need to cry. And when I feel like admiring the beauty of the earth. And when I'm angry at the cruel reality of the world. Cause we're never broken as long as our fear and sadness can turn to wrath right?
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Quotes Gorfo Liked

John Steinbeck
“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck
“Sure, cried the tenant men, but it's our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it's no good, it's still ours. That's what makes it ours-being born on it, working it, dying on it.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


Reading Progress

07/07/2010 page 114
25.0% "This book is so sad! And I think Tom has forgotten to mention something very important to his family!" 6 comments
07/10/2010 page 200
43.0% "There's something about the way that things are described in this book which makes you want to really take your time when reading"
07/12/2010 page 312
67.0% "Somehow I have the feeling that the worse is yet to come"
07/12/2010 page 312
67.0% "Wow I totally had no clue that this book was banned in the US!"
07/12/2010 page 405
87.0% "Favorite character just kicked the bucket. Yet again"

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