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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned more form this book than any other.
As a Junior AP English student, I was bombarded with summer work, and my assignments included chosing a summer book to read from a selected list. I chose the "Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, and was immeadiatly captured in the sad story of the Joads and there turbulent Oddessy. Sad and depressing yes, but hopeless it is not; if anything this book is about...
Published on July 4 2004 by Alex

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time is working against this book
One of the most important rules for writers is to write about what you know. John Steinbeck was not a migrant farm worker. True, he RESEARCHED them. But that's not the same as being one. And it really shows in this book. The characters seem contrived and phony, and the dialogue is really awful. In the dialogue, Steinbeck breaks another rule: Don't try to imitate...
Published on July 8 2003 by Geoff Puterbaugh


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Joads represent everybody, Feb. 26 2004
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
'The Grapes of Wrath' is one of the most famous books written by John Steinbeck, and it also is largely praised as one of his best works. The book received a Pulitzer Prize and was made into an Award winning movie. This novel is one of the best when it comes to portrait the consequences of the Great Depression in the life of poor families that were forced to leaver their homeland to search for food and jobs.
The narrative is filled with details of the landscape and the people. The main characters are the Joad family who embarks in a road trip to California, where they expect to find a better life. Throughout this journey they run into every sort of people --good and bad -- that will help, or not, them. Every new stop is a new challenge for the family, a new barrier to overcome.
Not only is the story beautiful, but also very compelling. Steinbeck created an unforgettable portrait of those lives, which were so sad and difficult. One of the major qualities of 'The Grapes of Wrath' is the language. While the narrator has a clear and grammar-perfect voice, the author could reproduce the dialogues with perfection. They were written in the way those migrants would talk. It is difficult for the contemporary reader, but not impossible. Such device requires more attention of the reader, but it gives more pleasure once one gets used to this language.
This novel interweaves two different kinds of chapters. In one of them the writer sets a general view of the migrants, their way of life, their habitat and such. In the other he talks about the Joads. Using such device, he makes the Joads' story universal. This single family could be everyone's who has to leave their homeland to find job and food in another place. The problems this family face are very down to earth. And, this kind of thing still happens everywhere.
With 'The Grapes of Wrath', John Steinbeck created a story that criticizes not only the ferocious capitalism, but, above all, the human nature. The evil nature that always wants more and more, and that doesn't mind exploiting, deceiving and hurting other people to fulfill its ambitions.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Slow Road to Sadness, Feb. 15 2004
By 
Heather H (Johnson City, Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
In Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath", readers are introduced to the Joad family in their miserable living conditions in Oklahoma and their dreams of a new and better life in California. All thirteen Joads pack up in one old truck and begin their journey on Highway 66 to California along with thousands of other families looking for any work. Their trip take them through the loss of five of their passengers for various reasons, bullying from cops, threats of starvation and no money, and even the death of their dog. Yet, there is some sunshine as they meet up with another family halfway through who become their travel mates for a while. As the Joads enter California, they eventually find refuge at a government camp for migrant families looking for work. However, their luck is minimal as they know they can't stay and continue on, looking for better work and wages. This brings them to their last stop in the novel which isn't any better than the last few. Steinbeck leaves the readers almost wishing they hadn't even read the book, because there is no solitude for either the Joads or the readers.
I gave this novel two stars, because it did not appeal to me. The story itself was depressing; it starts out sad, gets worse, and ends even more sad than it started. The bad plot doesn't make the novel any better, either. The book is literally just about a family riding in a car, looking for work. Another big factor was the writing style. I don't know if this novel is an example of all of Steinback's writing, but only half the novel was actually about the Joad family. The chapters alternated between the Joad family story and a story about migrants in general. This approach wasn't appealing. I found the book to have a very slow start, and once it started moving along, the chapters about the migrants just seemed to be in the way, prolonging the story for nothing. I wouldn't recommend this book, unless you're a fan of Steinbeck.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ...the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy., Feb. 7 2004
By 
Thomas Moody - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
Interpretation of great American literature usually requires some perspective...indeed one must have lived a large portion of life to fully appreciate it's hardships. This philosophy is never more evident than when considering John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath". At once a testament to human fortitude while also a study for the historian to obtain a more humanistic perspective on the Great Depression, Steinbeck achieves a sort of literary pantheon with this timeless classic.
This is the story of the everyday mid-western crop farmer during the great "dust-bowl" tragedy of the Depression. Forced by economic and personal factors to disband their farms and land (leaving generations of family history behind), they head to California to start anew with the promise of economic stability. Alas, this notion is soon discovered to be false as life there becomes even more destitute than the one that they have just left. Steinbeck's fictitious Joad family most assuredly mirrors the many similar groups that actually made this treck across a suddenly barren mid-western United States. Hardships and sorrows accrue as their savings run out and the promise of work becomes an ever lengthening ideal. Steinbeck presents a tome that emphatically enforces this personal sorrow while maintaining a fast paced novel thats unique in literary circles. Historical accuracy is never compromised as Steinbeck keeps the State and Federal governments' skewed Depression Era's economic policies at the forefront of the story and shows how these mis-guided actions indirectly become the driver for Franklin Roosevelts "New Deal" policies.
The overriding virtue of this work, however, is Steinbeck's ability to take the reader along and make him a part of the story. Time and again, I truly felt the compelling sadness and overwhelming desperation of the Joads plight and when this is coupled with the incredible "readability" of the story, one can see why this work has long been considered "the great American novel". Having half-heartedly read this in high-school, I'd submit that it should be re-read by those who now have families and responsibilities...a new appreciation will most assuredly be gained and I give this my highest recommendation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book to read if you read one anually, Feb. 7 2004
By 
Jason (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
As staged in the 1920¡s, Steinbeck starts with a subtle beginning. A slow developing plot, but worth while if you be patient. This book is definitely worth the time and effort, if you read a book once a year. A mixture of both intimidation and desperation sets fills your mind, and entices you to continue reading. The Joads, a family of four from Oklahoma, are on a journey westward toward California, with grandpa and grandma, after a famine sets over and destroys most of their crops. As the story continues on, the Joads realize that death and hatred pay a significant part out of their country. Death was the biggest cost from reaching their goal. Many family members died, and so, the family started to question the destiny. Being intimidated and threatened treason from the other states, the Joads feel despised. There is only one communication that Steinbeck wants to communicate, ¡¥the hard workers survive¡. The weak does not. The perseverance and indifference from the other people create this silence war from other states. Some where nice folks and some didn¡t crack a smile at all. People not only scorn them, but actually refuse to serve them. As a book, it would be one of the most memorable one, and to compensate the slow pace, the conclusion. The Great Depression brought many people down, and this is actually what life was during that time.
It is fairly a nice body, with many uses of southern accented language. Steinbeck should be famous for using all those apostrophes and accents, which I would never know how to do it. ¡§I ain¡t got nothin¡ for you, boy,¡ quotes the Joads, as an example.
The ending was actually quite a shock. It was like, ¡¥then I woke up and it was all a dream¡ endings. I don¡t want to spoil it, and certainly I wouldn¡t tell you. It was abrupt and unexpected. A must read to all people of all ages, but beware; you are in for many surprises.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What You Should Know Before Starting, Feb. 5 2004
By 
MZ (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath (Paperback)
You know it's an American classic, and everything that has been written about it being a great book that depicts an era in American history in a phenomenal way is true. I will just point out two things that I think the person who reads this book should know (especially if the reader is anything like me):
1. The book starts out sort of slow. I read the beginning and wondered what I had gotten myself into. In fact, it started out so slow that I would have put it down had it not been required reading. I urge you to keep reading! The book is a classic for a reason, and it is good. Eventually, it turns into a real page-turner, and you want to find out what happens next to the Joad family. Later, you will want to check out what other people have said about this book. I never would have gotten all of the Biblical allusions or other symbolism without reading and discussing this book with others.
2. The ending will surprise you. It shocked me. I definitely won't spoil it, but the ending of this book left me, quite literally, jaw wide open. WHAT? I thought. Oh my gosh! I was glad I had someone to talk about it with, because even in today's world, I'm sure most people would find it shocking. And it is nothing like the movie.
That's my two cents. This book is a great addition to your literary knowledge, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it, from both the literary angle and the historical perspective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Grapes of Wrath-Western Lit. p.1, Jan. 19 2004
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
The Grapes of Wrath is a compelling novel dealing with the many hardships the Joad family undergoes while struggling to survive during the depression. John Steinbeck takes the readers on an emotional roller coaster as each chapter introduces new twists and turns hooking the reader and bringing them in. Throughout their endeavors the characters seem to transform and take on new roles; whether it be a desperate man trying to forget the past, live in the present and move into the future, a hopeless reverend striving to find meaning and holiness in life or a husband coping with failure and the fact that he cannot support let alone take care of his family without the strength and guidance of his wife. The Grapes of wrath focuses on family ties and humanities need of relationships and companionship.
The novel is centered around one of the themes concentrated on this semester; the person's fear of loneliness as well as inability to be content with solitude and constant need of interaction and new relationships with that of other persons. This theme is very evident throughout the novel from the very beginning with the quickly evolving comradeship of Tom Joad and "Reverend" Jim Casey. The men find each other in the desolate and barren environment, which at one point had been a thriving community. Each man is in search of something; for Tom it is his home and family that he has been away from for four years and in Casey's case he is on a spiritual endeavor in the hope of finding holiness and renewing his faith. The two men find comfort and consolation with their camaraderie. The theme repeatedly presents itself in various situations for instance: the relationship the Joad's family forms with the Wilson's while venturing to California in hope of a promising new beginning, the effort of uniting the migrant workers against the intolerable working conditions they are forced to cope with initiated by Casey and finished by Tom Joad, and the last scene in the book in which Rose of Sharon saves the life of a man starving to death with her own breast milk. The Grapes of Wrath is an incredible as well as realistic tale of the ability to mend a desperate soul with the love and solidarity of another.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Growing heavy for the vintage..., Jan. 16 2004
By 
Srinath Jagannathan "athithi" (Cary, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
Nestled between the parched earth of the Oklahoma country and the flooded fields of the California valley lies a tale so stark that its own nakedness adorns it like the most precious jewel. The story is narrated in the rustic tongues of the Joad family and the poetic maelstrom of the author's conscience; the guileless, earthy wisdom of country folks and the refined, high-flying ideology of Steinbeck. I don't recall being more moved by any other piece of literature ever.
The younger Tom Joad is easily one of the finest characters I've read. There is no magic attributed to Tom or his family and the author does not ask you to suspend reality anywhere in the novel. If anything, the reality is so overwhelming that I often found myself breaking in-between and taking a few minutes off to unwind.
The book is written with excruciatingly detailed observations like "Joad took the bottle from him (Casy, the preacher), and in politeness did not wipe the neck with his sleeve before he drank"! To write something like that, a person would have to have powers of perception that transcend sight or sound. We've read so many times of vague emotions; unidentifiable joys, unnamed pains, inexplicable kinship and intuitive distrust. With Steinbeck, there is no ambiguity. It is, as is.
Every alternating chapter details the journey of the Joads while the ones in between are the author's discourse on the larger issue of human depravity of which the sufferings of the Joad family are but the most nominal instance. My favourite such chapter in the entire novel was Chapter 25. To quote, "The Spring is beautiful in California. Valleys in which the fruit blossoms are fragrant pink and white waters in a shallow sea. Then the first tendrils of the grapes, swelling from the old, gnarled vines, cascade down to cover the trunks. The full green hills are round and soft as breasts"...
The author proceeds to describe in the most tender and in the most fascinated of terms, the luscious growth of fruits and vegetables and flowers and the men who work to create this marvel of plenty. He sings paeans to their ingenuity and slowly trundles through to the ripening and maturing of this plentiful produce and suddenly we find ourselves facing the most abhorrent of truths. In the face of exploitation and refusal to pay the wages for this harvest to be reaped, Steinbeck wreaks his vengeance on this paradisical beauty so elegantly painted in his lyrical prose. He commands the birds and the wasps and the flies to feast on the decaying, stinking, putrefying apparition left in the aftermath of his destructive force. His weapon, his mighty pen. Truly, no sword could obliterate with such completeness.
"Men who can graft the trees and make the seeds fertile and big can find no way to let the hungry people eat their produce. Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow."
Steinbeck has had his revenge. It does little to comfort him.
"There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success."
I shook when I was done reading this chapter. I am no Communist, not even quite a Socialist. But this book is one of the finest examples of how high the human mind can fly, how far and wide it can see, how unflinchingly it can comprehend and how limitlessly it can feel. I consider myself most fortunate to have read this book. Read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In the view of a boy from Oklahoma., Dec 25 2003
By 
David P Oller (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
I can remember the brown clouds rising up and sweeping over our home, even in Oklahoma City in the early 1950's. And the stories from my parents and grandparents who stayed in Oklahoma through the depression, and the stories from my grandmother who moved to California looking for work, but it wasn't until 1967 when I was in the Navy in San Diego situations would inspire me to read this book.
Even today in California, being called an "Okie" is not a compliment. It is said with a derogatory note of disdain akin to so many other predjudicial nicknames, and you really don't feel the entire impact unless one is directed at you.
What was this about? Why was there such an attitude towards people from Oklahoma? A friend told me I would find the answers in this book. It was in reading this book I lost my naivete about the depth of human prejudice and callousness. It was this book that inspired me to participate in civil rights demonstrations when the Navy transfered me to Mississipi. It was this book that woke me up!
I will always be grateful to Steinbeck for the skill to tell a story such as this, and I can only hope it's message will endure through all time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping. Intense. Powerful., Dec 1 2003
By 
Hilde Bygdevoll (Stavanger, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath (Paperback)
"The Grapes of Wrath" was the one great novel Steinbeck was born to write. Of the authors 17 books I dear say this must be the best one. The novel won Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize in 1940, and it was "a cornerstone" of his 1962 Nobel Prize award.
From the first page I fell in love with Steinbeck's way of writing, his humble and delicate language. Published in 1939, "The Grapes of Wrath" is the story of the 250 000 American migrants who pulled up, and headed west on Route 66 - to California.
Through the book we follow one of the families that headed west, The Joad family. We enter the story as Tom Joad, one of the children in the family, gets out of jail. He comes home, finding his family suffering from the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Tormented and forced to leave their land, the Joad's strap as many of their belongings as they can to their truck. With the truck piled high they hit the road for their journey to promise land - to California.
The Joad's believe that leaving Oklahoma for California is the answer to all their troubles. California will be abundant with opportunities - work for everyone, plenty of food, oranges and peaches on every tree. Pa even has a leaflet saying they need thousands of men on the farms. Reality will soon catch up with them. The journey to California turns out to be everything but easy. They experience all sorts of hardship; loss of family members, trouble with the truck, harassment by the police and locals. When the Joad's finally make it to California, their troubles and suffering are rewarded not by work, plenty of food, and oranges on every tree, but with even more troubles. While moving around, following the different picking seasons chasing for work, the family is enduring such poor living conditions. They are living in squatter camps, government camps, and in the end shacks in labour camps.
The characters in "The Grapes of Wrath" are all very well developed. They are so vivid and one cannot help but to care deeply for them all. Several of the characters have left a lasting impression; Tom Joad, Grandpa, the courageous ex-preacher, and above all Ma Joad. She is a loveable, courageous, strong woman and I admire her spirit, dignity and her determination as she struggles to keep her family together. Even facing so much testing and hardship, she still keeps perspective and hope.
An experiment that works well in this novel is the "in-between" chapters. Short stories with reflections and background about the Great Depression; how a used-car dealer take advantage of his desperate customers or how farmers sprayed oranges with kerosene and threw potatoes in the river to keep market prices up while hundreds of thousands of people was starving, as well as other small stories, true literary treasures such as the first "in-between" chapter about the turtle.
"The Grapes of Wrath" is written in a most memorable way. The book is no less than a landmark in American history and it is one of the absolute greatest and most significant novels of the last century. This book deserves every bit of praise and reward that it has received. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book, Nov. 30 2003
Ce commentaire est de: The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) (Paperback)
My favorite book. Simple. I love this book. I was not someone who was forced to read it (although we did do Catcher in the Rye for English, and I loved it still) and all the can say is "ThiZ book sux!11!1" Steinbeck is a master storyteller. He is not a master of the language as say, Dickens, but that is why he is so brilliant. I feel like I'm right there with the Joads. I've read this book three times in a year, and I always love it. Steinbeck's writing is so simple, you feel like you are listening to your grandpa tell a story. His initial description of Grandpa is hilarious! I love how he changes back and forth between the Joads and the scenes of the other migrant farmers. Two scenes really stick out in my mind. The car dealer and the trucker diner. Steinbeck's style makes you feel like you're in the diner right next to Al.
Steinbeck's characters are simple, static,and one dimensional, but this works for this book. They are simple people, and help Steinbecks universal message of oppression.
If you want to start reading great books, start here.
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The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition)
The Grapes of Wrath: (Centennial Edition) by John Steinbeck (Paperback - Jan. 17 2002)
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