RAM Readers Spring 2020 discussion

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The Grapes of Wrath

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
Learn all about the Dust Bowl of the 1930's through one Oklahoma family.


message 2: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments • Not surprisingly, I actually struggled with this book. The first few chapters really made me feel drowsy. Later on, I dived into this fiction. I only had a very vague picture about people’s life of the 1930s when I learned American history tracing back to middle school. I know people were suffering a lot during the depression. However, I still got shocked when I read through the story about the Oklahoma family. People were starving and they had to migrate to other places for the sake of living under the hardship and bitterness. Muley Graves is too stubborn to stay, but he is just lonely and has nothing to eat. He misses the old days and is angry. (Chapter 6) Jim Casy, the preacher, says that, “Seems like Jesus got all messes up with troubles.” The Joads finally is ready to start over a new life towards California. (Chapter 9) My grammar is getting worse for sure when reading this book. (Just kidding). But sometimes, I doubt myself, “Am I reading English?”
• People help each other on the road to the west. It is really sad that grandparents passed away in a miserable situation. They do not want to leave their land. It reminds me of my grandparents on my father’s side. They are living in a big city with my family right now. I know they are not so happy because they do not know the place at all and they have to leave the place where they have been living for many years. I really miss them, and I wish I had more patient to listen to their stories. As you may know, there is the novel coronavirus going on in my country. I want to be with them. STAY STRONG CHINA!
• This book is truly encouraging to me thinking of every step I take, which will not be a waste. It makes me more courageous to act according to my own will and keep moving to a better future. I may fail, like most of migrants would fail in the story, but at least I have tried my best as human being would try for every chance of existence.


message 3: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Hi Yao ... I am in the same situation as you! I am struggling with this book. The language that was written is not easy for ELL learners. Now it is an important point when we choose a book to our students, make sure they are in the same proficiency level as the book. Since we are in the Master we should understand easily the content, I can’t imagine an ELL high schooler trying to read the book. Dr. Dryden's class is the focus of reading to teens, and now I can see the importance of the reading teacher to connect with ESL teachers. I liked the comparison you made with your grandparents....


message 4: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments It was my first time to listen to an audiobook, I couldn't find a hard copy in the libraries close to my home ( the attendant explained to me that they have more than 5 copies that were out, probably the teachers still recommended this book to their students). The advantages of listening to a book you can playback many times you need, but the speaker was an old guy his voice was a little trembling and the vocabulary made the listening difficulty to understand the situation.
I decided to rent a movie in the Amazon prime, which made my life better because they used to have transcription! I could understand the situation. Finally, I decided to search for more information about the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma in the impact on the society and the US economy in that period.
The Dust Bowl caused a situation that farmers had to Oklahoma from California to survive. It reminds me of my country that people to northern migrate to southern to look for jobs and better conditions to live. It is a sad feeling when the author describes the grandparent's death leaving their home to way to California.
The migration and immigration still happen nowadays, which is the point that is important to mention to the students in this book together with the historical content.
The reflection of the personal life, for every decision that you need to take in your live the consequences will appear, doesn't matter if the consequences are good or not, it is just to help in your personal growth.


message 5: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments The Grapes of Wrath was written in 1939, and as an Educator, we should know about the American Culture. However, I would not recommend this book for teenagers. I struggled with this reading, mainly because of the hard vocabulary, old fashion expressions, and the way the subject is repeated many times makes the reading boring. I believe that there are other kinds of books that can help students understand the America Culture, especially the Dust Bowl Migration and what happened during the Great Depression era in America.
I have never heard about The Dust Bowl before, and I am impressed that it was the name given to the drought-stricken Southern Plains region of the United States, which suffered severe dust storms during a dry period in the 1930s, from Texas to Nebraska.
The Joad´s journey is based on real-life events during the Dust Bowl Migration of the 1930s. Due to the Great Depression period, dust storms, and the rise of industrial Farming, many families from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas traveled west in search of better opportunities.
As the Industrial Farming was pushing families off their land, the Joad´s family heard that California was a promised land, they head to there, but during their journey, they struggled with many difficulties, such as sickness, and the deaths of family members. I found beautiful their generosity to people along the journey and the friendships they made, mainly with Wilson´s family. When they finally arrived in California, things were not as good as they expected, the work was hard and the wages low. This story is also about facing challenges and go ahead, and in this aspect, the Joads were very brave overcoming their limits.


message 6: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Yao wrote: "This book is truly encouraging to me thinking of every step I take, which will not be a waste. It makes me more courageous ....

Hey Yao,
From my own experience, I completely agree with you that we should think before taking each step. It is a wise way to face life; even if we fail sometimes, we should never give up. The situation that Joad´s family passed makes us think about how valuable it is to be brave.



message 7: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Bruna wrote: "It was my first time to listen to an audiobook, I couldn't find a hard copy in the libraries close to my home ( the attendant explained to me that they have more than 5 copies that were out, probab..."

Hey Bruna,

I am a BIG fan of audiobooks. I just love it so much and hope you find it enjoyable. Usually, I would like to listen to and read the physical books at the same time. (Only in English not in Chinese.) But it also depends because we are second language learners. I admire how you always work hard to gather extra information and connect the novels to reading teachers. On the other hand, I make more personal connections. Lastly, good point of personal growth. Enjoy reading the next book!

Yao


message 8: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Lourdes wrote: "The Grapes of Wrath was written in 1939, and as an Educator, we should know about the American Culture. However, I would not recommend this book for teenagers. I struggled with this reading, mainly..."

Hey Lou,

I agree with you that literature teachers have to know their students and pick up some appropriate books for the class. It is very important to fill in background knowledge and cultures behind the book you choose. Life is not easy for everyone! Like you said, we have to face the challenges and believe we will get through eventually. Have a productive week!

Yao


message 9: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments I really enjoyed this novel, but it certainly took a lot of patience, and re-reading to get through. I can definitely appreciate this novel more as an adult than when I was a teenager. I learned about the Dust Bowl as a teenager, but, back then, it was merely information I read in a textbook. And, like most teenagers, I didn't really take that information to heart; I didn't grasp the enormity of the situation. Reading this novel was like looking at the Dust Bowl with fresh eyes. The struggles that the Joad family had to overcome were more than I imagine most people could bear: having to leave that place you always knew as 'home', going without so many basic comforts, working your life away for mere pennies, accepting death as readily as one would accept a bad grade. It's a world I hope to never comprehend. But, just knowing that these struggles were not just the imaginings of John Steinbeck--that they were a reality for thousands of people--is a humbling thought. The Dust Bowl was a very true and real part of American history. I can appreciate that, but I wonder if most teenagers could?
I LOVED the dialogue in this book; the colloquialisms were both endearing and complex. I did find myself having to re-read just to make sure I understood everything each character was saying. But, to me, their words were such a representation of the South, and its unique culture at the time.
It is also not lost on me that this book is timely, considering the immigration issues we face today. Even though this book takes place in America, with families moving only states away, they were migrants. Strangers in a strange land. Some things never change.


message 10: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments The Grapes of Wrath
Before reading this book, American is one of the best industrial development country in the world. I have not know that about Dust Bowl and how it destroyed the America agricultural.
The crops were destroy and nothing left, The Joads decide to left Oklahoma and move to California. On the way, many things happen: grandpa and grandma pass away. When they arrive California, they realize this state is in a very poor condition, they try to manage their new life.
By the Joads, we can feel how severe consequences of the Dust Bowl, how difficult for the farmers to find a “new land”, how is the life happened at that time.
It remind me many period times in Vietnam, in 1945 there was a famine in the South of Vietnam. And many novels were published to describe the situation at this time, there were lots of people death. One of the famous novel is “ Vợ nhặt”/ pick a wife. Because of starving, people accepted to do everything to have food, even to be a wife of a straight person, and a man easily had a wife on the road, it was too easy like you can buy a bunch of spinach. Author gave reader the situation to show that how poor of people and how dangerous of the famine. And even in the really bad situation, people always help each others.


message 11: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Yao wrote: "• Not surprisingly, I actually struggled with this book. The first few chapters really made me feel drowsy. Later on, I dived into this fiction. I only had a very vague picture about people’s life ..."

Hi Yao!
This is outside the novel but i want to talk about the virus. I and you, we almost have the same situation: we are here, and our family are in Asia, i think we are both worry about that. I hope everything will be fine, " be strong China"


message 12: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Yao wrote: "• Not surprisingly, I actually struggled with this book. The first few chapters really made me feel drowsy. Later on, I dived into this fiction. I only had a very vague picture about people’s life ..."

Yao: Just like you, I struggled with some of the 'in-between' chapters. Steinbeck takes many, many pages to describe a piece of land. In fact, he took an entire chapter to describe a turtle! This definitely makes reading very tedious. I, too, found myself bored with some of his lengthy descriptions. I know that some people consider Steinbeck's detailed descriptions as beautiful, but I'm much more interested in the story itself, the plot line.


message 13: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments ThaoTam wrote: "By the Joads, we can feel how severe consequences of the Dust Bowl, how difficult for the farmers to find a “new land”, how is the life happened at that time.
It remind me many period times in Vietnam....."

Hi Thao,
I like the way you connected the consequences of The Dust Bowl to what happened in Vietnam many years ago. It is interesting that novels are written to describe the history of countries. Considering that language changes all the time, over the years, the vocabulary used in the texts becomes hard to understand.



message 14: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Bruna wrote: "It was my first time to listen to an audiobook, I couldn't find a hard copy in the libraries close to my home ( the attendant explained to me that they have more than 5 copies that were out, probab..."

Bruna: I am not a regular listener of audiobooks, but your suggestion of listening to this novel interests me. Because I really, really loved the dialogue, I think I would truly enjoy actually hearing the words being spoken. I wonder if the older voice actually helped to visualize the scenery or make you get a better feel for the characters? But, I imagine, since you struggled with some of the vocabulary, that the speaker's voice could make it even more confusing--especially if the voice is speaking quickly. The dialect is not common, and there were many times when I did not get the references the characters were talking about. Good job for viewing the movie; i'm sure the video combined with the audiobook, helped to understand the story better. You definitely thought like a teacher and used different learning styles to help with a difficult novel!


message 15: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Lourdes wrote: "ThaoTam wrote: "By the Joads, we can feel how severe consequences of the Dust Bowl, how difficult for the farmers to find a “new land”, how is the life happened at that time.
It remind me many peri..."


Hi Lourdes!
i have the same promblem with you when i read this book, it is difficult to understand some parts. i must use the internet and youtube to support me to understand more about the book.


message 16: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Isaiah wrote: "ThaoTam wrote: "The Grapes of Wrath
Before reading this book, American is one of the best industrial development country in the world. I have not know that about Dust Bowl and how it destroyed the ..."


Hi Isaiah!
Thanks for your information, i think i should learn more and read more. By the way, i really enjoyed to learn about the Dust Bowl, even though the book is difficult to understand for an international student like me. But this is a good book for me and the other students have new experiences and new knowledge


message 17: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Bruna wrote: "It was my first time to listen to an audiobook, I couldn't find a hard copy in the libraries close to my home ( the attendant explained to me that they have more than 5 copies that were out, probab..."

Hi Bruna!
Listening to an audiobook is a good ideal in this situation. Because the language in the book sometimes makes me misunderstand. And i must use the internet and youtube to get morinformation. i intend to watch a play. This is the new experience for me, i never watch the play before


message 18: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Hi Natalie!
I really appreciate your comments when you can feel the story in your heart looking a few years ago you couldn’t have enough maturity to understand this situation. Probably the language written by the author is not to teenagers nowadays, but adults can appreciate and enjoy this book.


message 19: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments ThaoTam wrote: "Yao wrote: "• Not surprisingly, I actually struggled with this book. The first few chapters really made me feel drowsy. Later on, I dived into this fiction. I only had a very vague picture about pe..."

Hi ThaoTam,

Thank you so much for your support!

Yao


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