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The Grapes of Wrath
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Archived > The Grapes of Wrath - Week 1 (March 2016)

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Rose Rocha dos Santos (roserocha) | 192 comments Hi, guys!
This week's reading is about:
Chapters 1-6

I am traveling right now, so if anyone can search for good questions to this first part of the book, I will be really grateful! :)
The internet here is limited... :/


Terry Candee | 72 comments Half of the chapters in The Grapes of Wrath focus on the dramatic westward journey of the Joad family, while the others possess a broader scope, providing a more general picture of the migration of thousands of Dust Bowl farmers. Discuss this structure. Why might Steinbeck have chosen it? How do the two kinds of chapters reinforce each other?


Kimberly | 145 comments Just finished thru Chapter 6. I find the two different chapter types interesting. It reminds me of Les Miserables, in a way. Every other chapter takes us away from the main story, yet ties back into it in the very next chapter. Steinbeck definitely has a way with words. Chapter 1's description of the dust bowl amazed me. :) Young Tom seems like a good guy, even if he went to prison for killing someone. He even willingly admits he would do it again, considering it was self-defense. Can't wait to see how his family reacts when he shows up. :)


Marta (gezemice) | 214 comments This is a very good book and very well written. Alternating the general chapters and the Joad family's struggle is powerful. The general chapters are also written as one scene but he uses plural or no quotes to indicate this is a typical story - the effect is very strong. I have never read anything like it.

I am also finding it difficult to concentrate - it is a tough story and a lot of dust, futility and struggle.


Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments I'm enjoying this book and the structure too. I like how it gives the general picture of the setting and then alternates that with the story of the characters. It makes the story personable but also does a good job of showing the big picture and giving the context. Reading this is like being able to admire a painting from close up and far back. I'm already starting to feel the desperation of the characters. This is my first Steinbeck book. I don't know why it took me so long to read his works. I now see why he's so well-known.


Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments Here's another question.

The turtle in Chapter 3 is often interpreted as a parable or symbol. What do you think?


Dmreichle | 12 comments So I've been a member of this group for awhile but this is the first time I am participating! One of my goals for the year was to read more classics, so Grapes of Wrath it is! I read this in high school, and don't remember it very well (I'm 47 now) but I do remember it being depressing. I'm enjoying the descriptive language much more than I expected; as I usually don't like that. The Joad family story is really intriguing and sad. The descriptions of banks as "monsters" and machines is particularly interesting. I feel like that part of the story hasn't changed much in modern times.


Dmreichle | 12 comments Michelle wrote: "Here's another question.

The turtle in Chapter 3 is often interpreted as a parable or symbol. What do you think?"


It's always going somewhere but never arriving, it's quest for what? seemingly futile.


Dmreichle | 12 comments Dmreichle wrote: "So I've been a member of this group for awhile but this is the first time I am participating! One of my goals for the year was to read more classics, so Grapes of Wrath it is! I read this in high s..."

It's very sad how he describes the "roots" these families have in the land, how they settled there, cleared the land of the inhabitants, snakes, and trees, and now are being forced off something that is a very part of their being and identity.


Terry Candee | 72 comments the turtle story is representative of the Joads and other displaced people of the dust bowl era's struggle to survive. Slowly plugging along through life, meeting obstacles along the way, occasionally getting help from strangers, getting trapped in what appears to be a dead end trek across the west with no real chance to make it or any fair opportunity ( the turtle in the bag).
But, never giving up hope, constantly striving for some type of salvation. That is the human spirit. Just when all seems lost or for saken we find a way to survive or nature gives us a break. ( the turtle is released) The Joads never give up despite all odds they face.


Luella Dmreichle wrote: "So I've been a member of this group for awhile but this is the first time I am participating! One of my goals for the year was to read more classics, so Grapes of Wrath it is! I read this in high s..."

I am way behind on this because I moved this month but I wanted to jump in on the discussion. I liked the analogy of the banks as monsters too. It still rings true today.

The friend Muley also had a point about the banks taking memories and a part of them but I think his sticking around is not the best idea.

I had no background for the Dust Bowl really so I read and finished. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl which was helpful to be able to get into this book. So I already know how depressing this is going to get...


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