The Grapes of Wrath

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The Grapes of Wrath
JohnSteinbeck TheGrapesOfWrath.jpg
First edition cover
Author John Steinbeck
Cover artist Elmer Hader
Country United States
LanguageEnglish
GenreNovel
Publisher The Viking Press-James Lloyd
Publication date
April 14, 1939 [1]
Pages464
OCLC 289946
813.52

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. [2] The book won the National Book Award [3] and Pulitzer Prize [4] for fiction, and it was cited prominently when Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. [5]

Literary realism is part of the realist art movement beginning with mid-nineteenth-century French literature (Stendhal), and Russian literature and extending to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Literary realism attempts to represent familiar things as they are. Realist authors chose to depict everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of using a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation.

John Steinbeck American writer

John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was an American author. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." He has been called "a giant of American letters," and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature.

The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.

Contents

Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they seek jobs, land, dignity, and a future.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

A tenant farmer is one who resides on land owned by a landlord. Tenant farming is an agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating capital and management, while tenant farmers contribute their labor along with at times varying amounts of capital and management. Depending on the contract, tenants can make payments to the owner either of a fixed portion of the product, in cash or in a combination. The rights the tenant has over the land, the form, and measure of the payment varies across systems. In some systems, the tenant could be evicted at whim ; in others, the landowner and tenant sign a contract for a fixed number of years. In most developed countries today, at least some restrictions are placed on the rights of landlords to evict tenants under normal circumstances.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. [6] [7] A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was released in 1940.

Cinema of the United States Filmmaking in the USA

The cinema of the United States, often metonymously referred to as Hollywood, has had a large effect on the film industry in general since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1917 to 1960 and characterizes most films made there to this day. While Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumière are generally credited with the birth of modern cinema, American cinema soon came to be a dominant force in the industry as it emerged. It produces the total largest number of films of any single-language national cinema, with more than 700 English-language films released on average every year. While the national cinemas of the United Kingdom (299), Canada (206), Australia, and New Zealand also produce films in the same language, they are not considered part of the Hollywood system. Hollywood has also been considered a transnational cinema. Classical Hollywood produced multiple language versions of some titles, often in Spanish or French. Contemporary Hollywood offshores production to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

<i>The Grapes of Wrath</i> (film) 1940 film by John Ford

The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 American drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F. Zanuck.

Henry Fonda American actor

Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor with a career spanning five decades.

Plot

The narrative begins just after Tom Joad is paroled from McAlester prison, where he had been imprisoned after being convicted of homicide. On his return to his home near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Tom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together. When they arrive at Tom's childhood farm home, they find it deserted. Disconcerted and confused, Tom and Casy meet their old neighbor, Muley Graves, who tells them the family has gone to stay at Uncle John Joad's home nearby. Graves tells them that the banks have evicted all the farmers, but he refuses to leave the area.

Oklahoma State Penitentiary

The Oklahoma State Penitentiary, nicknamed "Big Mac", is a prison of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections located in McAlester, Oklahoma, on 1,556 acres (6.30 km2). Opened in 1908 with 50 inmates in makeshift facilities, today the prison holds more than 750 male offenders, the vast majority of which are maximum-security inmates.

Homicide is the act of one human killing another. A homicide requires only a volitional act by another person that results in death, and thus a homicide may result from accidental, reckless, or negligent acts even if there is no intent to cause harm. Homicides can be divided into many overlapping legal categories, including murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, killing in war, euthanasia, and capital punishment, depending on the circumstances of the death. These different types of homicides are often treated very differently in human societies; some are considered crimes, while others are permitted or even ordered by the legal system.

Sallisaw, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Sallisaw is a city and county seat of Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. The population was 8,880 at the 2010 Census, an 11.2 percent increase from 7,891 at the 2000 census. Sallisaw is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas–Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The next morning, Tom and Casy go to Uncle John's. Tom finds his family loading their remaining possessions into a Hudson sedan converted to a truck; with their crops destroyed by the Dust Bowl, the family has defaulted on their bank loans, and their farm has been repossessed. Consequently, the Joads see no option but to seek work in California, described in handbills as fruitful and offering high pay.

Hudson Motor Car Company company

The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was discontinued.

Dust Bowl period of severe dust storms in North America

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

The Joads put everything they have into making the journey. Although leaving Oklahoma would violate his parole, Tom decides it is worth the risk, and invites Casy to join him and his family.

Traveling west on Route 66, the Joad family find the road crowded with other migrants. In makeshift camps, they hear many stories from others, some returning from California, and the group worries about lessening prospects. The family dwindles as well: Grandpa dies along the road, and they bury him in a field; Grandma dies close to the California state line; and both Noah (the eldest Joad son) and Connie Rivers (the husband of the pregnant Joad daughter, Rose of Sharon) leave the family. Led by Ma, the remaining members realize they can only continue, as nothing is left for them in Oklahoma.

U.S. Route 66 Former US Highway between Chicago and Los Angeles

U.S. Route 66 or U.S. Highway 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television series, which aired on CBS from 1960 to 1964. In John Steinbeck's classic American novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the road, "Highway 66", was turned into a powerful symbol of escape and loss.

Reaching California, they find the state oversupplied with labor; wages are low, and workers are exploited to the point of starvation. The big corporate farmers are in collusion and smaller farmers suffer from collapsing prices. Weedpatch Camp, one of the clean, utility-supplied camps operated by the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal agency, offers better conditions but does not have enough resources to care for all the needy families. Nonetheless, as a Federal facility, the camp protects the migrants from harassment by California deputies.

In response to the exploitation, Casy becomes a labor organizer and tries to recruit for a labor union. The remaining Joads work as strikebreakers in a peach orchard, where Casy is involved in a strike that eventually turns violent. When Tom Joad witnesses Casy's fatal beating, he kills the attacker and flees as a fugitive. The Joads later leave the orchard for a cotton farm, where Tom is at risk of being arrested for the homicide.

Tom bids his mother farewell and promises to work for the oppressed. Rose of Sharon's baby is stillborn. Ma Joad remains steadfast and forces the family through the bereavement. With rain, the Joads' dwelling is flooded, and they move to higher ground. In the final chapter of the book, the family takes shelter from the flood in an old barn. Inside they find a young boy and his father, who is dying of starvation. Rose of Sharon takes pity on the man and offers him her breast milk to save him from starvation.

Characters

Religious interpretation

Many scholars note Steinbeck for his many uses of Christian imagery within The Grapes of Wrath. The largest implications lie with Tom Joad and Jim Casy, who are both interpreted as Christ-like figures at certain intervals within the novel. These two are often interpreted together, with Jim Casy representing Jesus Christ in the early days of his ministry, up until his death, which is interpreted as representing the death of Christ. From there, Tom takes over, rising in Casy's place as the Christ figure risen from the dead.

However, the religious imagery is not limited to these two characters. Scholars have regularly inspected other characters and plot points within the novel, including Ma Joad, Rose of Sharon, Rose of Sharon's stillborn child, and Uncle John. In an article first published in 2009, Ken Eckert even compared the migrants' movement west as a reversed version of the slaves' escape from Egypt in Exodus. [8] Many of these extreme interpretations are brought on by Steinbeck's own documented beliefs, which Eckert himself refers to as "unorthodox". [9]

Development

This is the beginning—from "I" to "we". If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I", and cuts you off forever from the "we".

Chapter 14

Steinbeck was known to have borrowed from field notes taken during 1938 by Farm Security Administration worker and author Sanora Babb. While Babb collected personal stories about the lives of the displaced migrants for a novel she was developing, her supervisor, Tom Collins, shared her reports with Steinbeck, who at the time was working for the San Francisco News. [10] Babb's own novel, Whose Names Are Unknown, was eclipsed in 1939 by the success of The Grapes of Wrath and was shelved until it was finally published in 2004, a year before Babb's death.

The Grapes of Wrath developed from The Harvest Gypsies , a series of seven articles that ran in the San Francisco News, from October 5 to 12, 1936. The newspaper commissioned that work on migrant workers from the Midwest in California's agriculture industry. (It was later compiled and published separately. [11] [12] )

Title

While writing the novel at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California, Steinbeck had unusual difficulty devising a title. The Grapes of Wrath, suggested by his wife Carol Steinbeck, [13] was deemed more suitable than anything by the author. The title is a reference to lyrics from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", by Julia Ward Howe (emphasis added):

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

These lyrics refer, in turn, to the biblical passage Revelation 14:19–20, an apocalyptic appeal to divine justice and deliverance from oppression in the final judgment. This and other biblical passages had inspired a long tradition of imagery of Christ in the winepress, in various media. The passage reads:

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

The phrase also appears at the end of chapter 25 in Steinbeck's book, which describes the purposeful destruction of food to keep the price high:

[A]nd in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

The image invoked by the title serves as a crucial symbol in the development of both the plot and the novel's greater thematic concerns: from the terrible winepress of Dust Bowl oppression will come terrible wrath but also the deliverance of workers through their cooperation. This is suggested but not realized within the novel.

Author's note

When preparing to write the novel, Steinbeck wrote: "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects]." He famously said, "I've done my damnedest to rip a reader's nerves to rags." His work won a large following among the working class, due to his sympathy for the migrants and workers' movement, and his accessible prose style. [14]

Critical reception

Steinbeck scholar John Timmerman sums up the book's influence: "The Grapes of Wrath may well be the most thoroughly discussed novel – in criticism, reviews, and college classrooms – of 20th century American literature." [12] The Grapes of Wrath is referred to as a Great American Novel. [15]

At the time of publication, Steinbeck's novel "was a phenomenon on the scale of a national event. It was publicly banned and burned by citizens, it was debated on national radio; but above all, it was read." [16] According to The New York Times, it was the best-selling book of 1939 and 430,000 copies had been printed by February 1940. [3] In that same month, it won the National Book Award, favorite fiction book of 1939, voted by members of the American Booksellers Association. [3] Soon, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and its Armed Services Edition went through two printings. [4]

The book was noted for Steinbeck's passionate depiction of the plight of the poor, and many of his contemporaries attacked his social and political views. Bryan Cordyack wrote: "Steinbeck was attacked as a propagandist and a socialist from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. The most fervent of these attacks came from the Associated Farmers of California; they were displeased with the book's depiction of California farmers' attitudes and conduct toward the migrants. They denounced the book as a 'pack of lies' and labeled it 'communist propaganda'". [12] Some[ who? ] argued that his novel was filled with inaccuracies. [17] In his book The Art of Fiction (1984), John Gardner criticized Steinbeck for not knowing anything about the California ranchers: "Witness Steinbeck's failure in The Grapes of Wrath. It should have been one of America's great books...[S]teinbeck wrote not a great and firm novel but a disappointing melodrama in which complex good is pitted against unmitigated, unbelievable evil." [18] Others[ who? ] accused Steinbeck of exaggerating camp conditions to make a political point. He had visited the camps well before publication of the novel [19] and argued their inhumane nature destroyed the settlers' spirit.

In 1962, the Nobel Prize committee cited The Grapes of Wrath as a "great work" and as one of the committee's main reasons for granting Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature. [5]

In 2005, Time magazine included the novel in its "TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005". [20] In 2009, The Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom included the novel in its "100 novels everyone should read". [21] In 1999, French newspaper Le Monde of Paris ranked The Grapes of Wrath as seventh on its list of the 100 best books of the 20th century. In the UK, it was listed at number 29 among the "nation's best loved novels" on the BBC's 2003 survey The Big Read. [22]

Adaptations

In film

The book was quickly made into a famed, 1940 Hollywood movie of the same name directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. The first part of the film version follows the book fairly accurately. However, the second half and the ending, in particular, differ significantly from the book. John Springer, author of The Fondas (Citadel, 1973), said of Henry Fonda and his role in The Grapes of Wrath : "The Great American Novel made one of the few enduring Great American Motion Pictures." [23]

The documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story (2009) revealed that The Grapes of Wrath was comedian Bill Hicks' favorite novel. He based his famous last words on Tom Joad's final speech: "I left in love, in laughter, and in truth, and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." [24]

In July 2013, Steven Spielberg announced his plans to direct a remake of The Grapes of Wrath for DreamWorks. [25] [26]

In music

Woody Guthrie's two-part song"Tom Joad – Parts 1 & 2" – from the album Dust Bowl Ballads (1940), explores the protagonist's life after being paroled from prison. It was covered in 1988 by Andy Irvine, who recorded both parts as a single song"Tom Joad"on Patrick Street's second album, No. 2 Patrick Street . [27]

The song "Here Comes that Rainbow Again" by Kris Kristofferson (1981) is based on the scene in the roadside diner where Pa Joad buys a loaf of bread and two candy sticks for Ruthie and Winfield.

The band The Mission UK included a song, titled "The Grapes of Wrath", in their album Carved in Sand (1990).

The progressive rock band Camel released an album, titled Dust and Dreams (1991), inspired by the novel.

American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen named his 11th studio album, The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995), after the character. The first track on the album is titled "The Ghost of Tom Joad". The song – and to a lesser extent, the other songs on the album – draws comparisons between the Dust Bowl and modern times. [28]

Rage Against the Machine recorded a version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" in 1997.

Like Andy Irvine in 1988, Dick Gaughan recorded Woody Guthrie's "Tom Joad" on his album Outlaws & Dreamers (2001). [29]

An opera based on the novel was co-produced by the Minnesota Opera, and Utah Symphony and Opera, with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and libretto by Michael Korie. The opera made its world premiere in February 2007, to favorable local reviews. [30]

Bad Religion have a song entitled "Grains of Wrath" on their album, New Maps of Hell (2007). Bad Religion lead vocalist, Greg Graffin, is a fan of Steinbeck's. [31] [ better source needed ][ not in citation given ]

The song "Dust Bowl Dance" on Mumford & Sons' album Sigh No More (2009) is based on the novel.

Pink Floyd's song "Sorrow", written by David Gilmour, from the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason is thematically derived/based on the novel.

In theatre

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company produced a stage version of the book, adapted by Frank Galati. Gary Sinise played Tom Joad for its entire run of 188 performances on Broadway in 1990. One of these performances was filmed and shown on PBS the following year. [32]

In 1990, the Illegitimate Players theater company in Chicago produced Of Grapes and Nuts, an original, satirical mash-up of The Grapes of Wrath and Steinbeck's acclaimed novella Of Mice and Men . [33]

See also

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References

Notes

  1. "Grapes of Wrath, a classic for today?". BBC News. April 14, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  2. The official publication date of April 14, 1939, was exactly four years to the day of the Black Sunday Storm, among the worst Dust Bowl dust storms which, in real life, caused Oklahomans to migrate to California in search of work.
  3. 1 2 3 "1939 Book Awards Given by Critics: Elgin Groseclose's 'Ararat' is Picked as Work Which Failed to Get Due Recognition", The New York Times, February 14, 1940, page 25. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851–2007).
  4. 1 2 "Novel" The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  5. 1 2 Osterling, Anders. "Nobel Prize in Literature 1962 – Presentation Speech" . Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  6. "AP: English Literature". CollegeBoard. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  7. "The Big Read | The Grapes of Wrath". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  8. Eckert, Ken (November 1, 2009). "[Exodus Inverted: A New Look at The Grapes of Wrath, Color Plates]". Religion and the Arts. 13 (4): 340–357. Bibcode:2007ReArt..11..299O. doi:10.1163/156852909X460447. ISSN   1568-5292.
  9. Eckert, Ken (November 1, 2009). "[Exodus Inverted: A New Look at The Grapes of Wrath, Color Plates]". Religion and the Arts. 13 (4): 340–357. Bibcode:2007ReArt..11..299O. doi:10.1163/156852909X460447. ISSN   1568-5292.
  10. Sanora Babb (Ken Burns)
  11. Published by the Simon S. Lubin Society of California as a pamphlet entitled "Their Blood is Strong." Republished 1988 by Heyday as "The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath." Source: Cordyack.
  12. 1 2 3 Cordyack, Brian. "20th-Century American Bestsellers: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath". Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  13. DeMott, Robert (1992). Robert DeMott's Introduction to The Grapes of Wrath. Viking Penguin, a Division of Penguin Books. p. xviii. ISBN   978-0-14-018640-6.
  14. http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/8555
  15. Dana, Gioia. "The Grapes of Wrath Radio Show – Transcript". The Big Read. The National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved September 22, 2010. Writer Richard Rodriguez discussed The Grapes of Wrath as The Great American Novel: "There hasn't been anything like this novel since it was written. And this is the great American novel that everyone keeps waiting for but it has been written now."
  16. Lisca, Peter (1958). "The Wide World of John Steinbeck". Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  17. Crockett, H. Kelly (1962). "The Bible and the Grapes of Wrath". College English. 24 (3): 193. doi:10.2307/373284. JSTOR   373284.
  18. Gardner 1991, p. 10.
  19. Shillinglaw, Susan; Benson, Jackson J (February 2, 2002). "Of Men and Their Making: The Non-Fiction Of John Steinbeck". London: Penguin. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  20. "All Time 100 Novels". Time. October 16, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  21. "100 novels everyone should read". The Daily Telegraph . January 16, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  22. "The Big Read", BBC, April 2003. Retrieved January 12, 2014
  23. Nixon, Rob. "The Grapes of Wrath". This Month Spotlight. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  24. Hicks, Bill. Love All the People (New Edition). Hachette UK, 2009, p. 336.
  25. "Steven Spielberg eyes Grapes of Wrath". guardian.co.uk. July 4, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  26. "Steven Spielberg in talks to remake 'The Grapes Of Wrath'". nme.com. July 4, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  27. Sleeve notes from No. 2 Patrick Street, Green Linnet SIF 1088, 1988.
  28. Symynkywicz, Jeffery B. (2008). The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Redemption, from Asbury Park to Magic. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN   0-664-23169-1. p. 122.
  29. "Dick Gaughan Discography Outlaws & Dreamers (2001)", Retrieved 8th October 2015
  30. Michael Anthony, "'Grapes' is a sweet, juicy production", Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/12/2007
  31. Books | The Answer | The Bad Religion Page – Since 1995
  32. "American Playhouse" The Grapes of Wrath (TV Episode 1991) , retrieved September 30, 2017
  33. Lawrence Bommer, "Sending Up Steinbeck," Chicago Reader, 11/8/1990

Bibliography

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  • Sobchack, Vivian C. "The Grapes of Wrath (1940): Thematic Emphasis Through Visual Style". American Quarterly 1979 31(5): 596–615. ISSN   0003-0678 Fulltext: in Jstor. Discusses the visual style of John Ford's cinematic adaptation of the novel. Usually the movie is examined in terms of its literary roots or its social protest. But the imagery of the film reveals the important theme of the Joad family's coherence. The movie shows the family in closeups, cramped in small spaces on a cluttered screen, isolated from the land and their surroundings. Dim lighting helps abstract the Joad family from the reality of Dust Bowl migrants. The film's emotional and aesthetic power comes from its generalized quality attained through this visual style.
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