Grapes Of Wrath Summary

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1. Author’s Times: John Steinbeck, author of Grapes of Wrath, was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. The book Grapes of Wrath was written in the middle of Steinbeck’s career and was definitely the high point. Steinbeck published the book in 1939, and it was extremely successful. Over 500,000 copies were sold within the first year, but it was not well received. Many critics considered it socialist propaganda. It was banned from schools and libraries due to its language and “obscenities.” People also protested the book for its treatment of corporate farmers. At the time this book was written farmers were being pushed off their land by banks and the dust bowls and were migrating west to find work. This affected the composition because it highlighted the poor conditions of migrant workers which eventually lead to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt supporting the book and having congressional hearings held about those conditions.
2. Form, Structure, and Plot: In The Grapes of Wrath every other chapter switches from a narrative chapter to an intercalary chapter. The inter chapters describe the events taking place and provide more
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Point of View: Throughout most of the novel the narrator is Third person omniscient. He knows each character’s thoughts and fears throughout the book. Occasionally throughout the novel’s chapters it shifts to first person narrative. One example of this is when a car salesman is explaining that he needs to make a profit selling broken down used cars to poor families. The novel is told in the past tense. By being told mainly in the third person past tense it provided readers with an objective view, never focusing solely on one character. The first person narrative provides multiple perspectives and views of life was like for migrant workers.
4. Setting: The Grapes of Wrath takes place during The Great Depression in the 1930s on the Oklahoma plains where farmers crops have been destroyed and families are forced to move to survive.
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