The Social Inequality In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

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Through Steinbeck's novel he brings to attention the social injustice occurring against the working class. Inequality is recognized in many forms: from unequal land distribution, to allowing migrants to starve and contract diseases. One individual in the novel, with a newspaper company, is rumored to possess over a million acres, while the working class, many of whom are former farmers, are only allowed to view or work such land (Steinbeck 201). Working the land also poses labor injustice as pay is reported at a meager “twenty cents an hour,” which is incapable of supporting a family (Steinbeck 338). Without access to resources of the land and insufficient funds to support a family, migrant workers are positioned at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The working class also experiences persecution from police as the law enforcement demoralizes…show more content…
This instability allows police to charge any migrant with vagrancy, and have the accusations be believable. While many workers do travel and move frequently, seeking stability and hope for a permanent home, most do so while working a job, regardless of the insufficient pay. Instability also reflects over to the land as during the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains the soil was uplifted into the air with violent winds. The West evolved as migrants were forced from the Great Plains allowing for employers to take advantage and control wages. Many people's lives become affected due to poor conditions, leading to poverty, disease, and increased amounts of crime. The complete control over wages is due to the “Bank of the West” which owns the “Farmers’ Association” and “most of [the] valley” (Steinbeck 294). Steinbeck shows that the banking system controls the wages and the distribution of the land. He brings to attention the overwhelming power of the banks and how they are controlling the lives of both migrant workers and their employers (Steinbeck

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