Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grab a Blanket, Salt up Some Pork and Pile Into A Jalopy... Grapes of Wrath Update/ Review #1

Due to the length of this novel, I have decided to review the book as I read it. Basically, three updates, roughly every two hundred pages. With all the business talk out of the way... Let's talk about some fine literature.

Since I never took any advanced English classes and went to an altogether lame high school, I have never read the Grapes of Wrath (In second grade, we did watch the movie) and this has come as a shock to many people.

Let me begin by also saying that while it has nearly taken four years to getting around to reading it... The Grapes of Wrath does not disappoint. It is a well-written account of the trials faced by a family during Dust Bowl/ Great Depression.

The novel has everything, a paroled anti-hero in Tom Joad, a tight knit family doing all it can to survive and of course a scathing rebuke of Capitalism. Now, you might be curious what has happened in two hundred pages.

Essentially, Tom Joad (paroled for murder) returns home after four years to find things very different. Family's have been expelled off their lands by the banks because they can't produce anymore. Many families --like the Joads-- have received handbills detailing a better life in California and have decided to try their luck there. After salting some pigs, the Joads are on the road.

The thing that makes this novel relevant is the ills associated with Capitalism and the concept of a corporation. These themes are as pertinent today as they were when Steinbeck put letters to a page. You begin to empathize with the Joads and the poverty stricken rural farmer. Where do you direct your anger when it is abstract entity displacing you? What lengths would you go to keep your family together? I guess that I would place my faith in a handbill as well.

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