Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Grapes of Wrath

Hey, I finished the Grapes of Wrath this past week. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was definitely sad, and made me ponder. It's funny that someone can get through high school (taking English Lit and English) and university (studying English) without reading The Grapes of Wrath. I even took an American Lit course, and it wasn't on the list. Anyways, it is a classic and I'm glad I read it now. In true Steinbeck style the main characters are poor and 'noble'--as in, honest, good, hardworking, beset by the winds and tides of the social structure surrounding them. This kind of character in a book tugs my heartstrings, but also irks me because it seems a slight oversimplification of a group of people, in this place the dispossessed, migrant farmers from the midwest during the depression, for the purpose of highlighting the message or theme of the story. Which makes me feel like Steinbeck was using these poor people for his advantage. I prefer my characters more fleshed out, and less holy.
The ending was also a bit abrupt.
It sure was fascinating though to read about this period of history when SO MANY people were dispossessed and impoverished, and the leadership of the time (from church leadership to school leadership to government leadership on all levels) was so thoroughly ill equipped to deal with them.
It did seem like the 'grapes of wrath' were just festering under the surface of the migrant workers by the end of the book, but no actual manifestations of wrath seemed to rise up on a community level (individuals rose up, and were killed, but not the group as a whole), though it appeared this wrath was about to blow up with all the foreshadowing going on near the end.
On the whole a very good book; interesting, educational, thought provoking, and historically based. A good read.

1 comment:

Roboseyo said...

It's funny how you can get all the way through university without reading some "classics" -- I got an honours English degree, studied Hamlet three times (12th grade, 1st year Drama, 4th year Shakespeare), but never read Othello until after I'd graduated.

Plus, I purposefully avoided Novel courses where possible, partly because of all the reading, and partly because Dr. Downey taught most of those classes, and he kind of scared me -- so I have huge gaps in what I have and haven't read, despite having read a lot in my life.

Steinbeck was my favourite writer for about a year, and on of the few paintings I made references TGOW.

These days, I have the kiwi of glee growing in my belly, instead of the grapes of wrath. that's much nicer.