The Grapes Of Wrath: The Effects Of Sudden Poverty

John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath explains how Oklahoma’s economic situation affected the Joads in the 1940s. Tom Joad returns to his home after being released from prison. He finds his family house abandoned. Tom, Jim Casey and Muley, his neighbor, learn that banks have forced out almost all of the local farmers. Tom’s parents are moving to California for better employment. The three men visit Tom and discover this when they go to see his family. Tom, who is on parole, cannot leave the state. Farmers were forced to move away from their homes during the Great Depression to seek better-paying jobs. Poverty is a major factor in the lives of many people, and can sometimes force us to make bad decisions.

Tom Joad’s personality is very laid-back. Tom Joad is a very easy-going man. Tom’s parents are still very supportive, even though he has been released from prison. Tom is well aware that his entire family will soon be moving away, and he is not willing to be separated from them. Tom is willingly risking his freedom so that he can be with family and build a better life for them in California. Tom’s decision to leave the state is not a concern for him if his family can be supported. The entire family is with him, and they invested everything they had earned. People who are poor have a high chance of leaving everything behind in order to live a better, more prosperous life. The Joads’ actions carry a significant risk. Tom’s mum mentions how she is scared to leave California, because it does not guarantee a high-paying job. Tom’s Grandpa is reluctant to leave but his family makes him. It is frightening to leave their familiarity and move into the unknown. They don’t know what they will find. They accept that they may not know what happens next but they leave together. Tom’s family is still going with him despite the fact that he could be in more trouble for ignoring his parole. This is how poor people act. They are aware of the dangers, but continue anyway because they must try to change things. It is unfair to judge the Joads because people are encouraged to take big risks in order to change their lives. The Joads handled this event differently than anyone else.

Works Cited

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes Of Wrath. Originally published in 1939 by Penguin Books.


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    David Wong is a 29-year-old educator and blogger who focuses on helping students learn in creative and interesting ways. He has a background in teaching and has been blogging since 2006. David's work has been featured on a variety of websites, including Lifehack, Dumb Little Man, and The Huffington Post.