Saturday, April 14, 1979

John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath: Published 40 Years Ago Today

Updated 2/8/2019.

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First Publication: April 14, 1939

Category: realist novel

Sales: 15 million


About the Book:

The Grapes of Wrath “galvanized – and sometimes outraged – millions of readers.” AZ “At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.” AZ

His “epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one…farm family, the Joads.” AZ They are “driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work.” WK “The Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other ‘Okies,’ they seek jobs, land, dignity, and a future.” WK

“A portrait…of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel…probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America.” AZ “Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.” AZ

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

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