Amy Reads Books

Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Modern Classics)

The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck, Robert DeMott The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of a family that is forced through increasing industralisation of farming and poor weather, to move from their home in Oklahoma over to California in an attempt to find work, and a new home. And Steinbeck tells the story brilliantly I fell in love with Steinbeck after reading Of Mice & Men for GCSE, and so I was pretty happy to read another one of his works; and perhaps his best-known. Although it took me a while to get used to Steinbeck's style in the novel; chapters tend to alternate between the main Joad family narrative and musings on the entire idea of the migration in the 1930s of people from the East to the West, looking for work.Steinbeck's prose is beautiful. His descriptive passages painted a picture of rural America brilliantly. Steinbeck also wasn't afraid to let his politics shine through either; a couple of his non-narrative passages deal with the evils of encroaching business ownership of the land and the government-run camp that the Joad's settle in at one point is portrayed as almost a utopia as people can vote for their own representatives-much to the dismay of the other landowners.The central characters of the Joad family are generally quite interesting. The reader primarily follows Tom Joad, who has recently been released from prison for killing a man (possibly in self-defence); he's an interesting character as he tends to want to do the right thing; but doesn't think twice about say, repeating his previous crime or breaking parole. Ma was also an interesting character, essentially in control of the family (Pa hardly ever questioned her) and quite tough, but occasionally unable to see that her desire to keep the family together could be causing them to suffer more than gain. There were some characters that I wasn't such a fan of; ex-preacher Jim Casy's only purpose was to serve as an almost Christ-like figure; sacrificing himself for others and Rose of Sharon (name?!)was just portrayed as a kind of vapid young woman.On the whole, however, I really loved this novel and can't wait to read East of Eden at some point soon!