Steinbeck The Lower Class Analysis

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In the late 1920s, a culmination of factors, both foreign and domestic, led many American families into unemployment and poverty. The Great Depression was a time of widespread poverty and forced migration, as it was common for young children to beg for money and search trash cans for food. Accordingly, different geographical regions were impacted more than others, which divided Americans. The economy experienced a greater wealth imbalance than ever before, as a small portion of Americans controlled an disproportionate percentage of the nation’s wealth. Additionally, the unemployment rate reached an all time high, with a quarter of Americans unable to find employment, further establishing socioeconomic divide. Literature of this time period …show more content…

The upper class despises the lower class, constantly insulting them, pushing them around, and making social mobility unachievable. The low class men describe their encounters with the Westerners, recalling how a man once told him, “‘I don’t like you, you son-of-a-bitch” (Steinbeck 221). Here, the upper class disrespect people they had never met before, solely based off of socioeconomic class. Their distaste for the lower class becomes more evident, as the men describes how you could “see in people’s face how they hate you” (Steinbeck 221). With this, Steinbeck illustrates the hatred which the upper class had towards their potential employees. These emotions provide further reasoning for such poor economic conditions, as those with money were using it to prevent others from economic prosperity. Rather, the upper class were labeling those in need as “Okies”, and attempting to drive them out of “their” land. Steinbeck illustrates the lower class’ reception of this treatment, and their disgust with the upper class for treating them this way. The lower class believe that their ardent work ethic has incited fear in the upper class and caused them to try to eradicate any possibility for the lower class to succeed by reducing their opportunities. By demonstrating the upper class’ perception of the lower class and the response of the lower class to those perceptions, Steinbeck captures the many emotions present during the Great

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