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Grapes of Wrath

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Grapes of Wrath

The book, Grapes of Wrath, follows the life of the Joad family, who live in Oklahoma during the Depression. The story begins with the return of Tom Joad from prison, where he has spent the last few years. He killed a boy in a bar fight and is now on parole. He is taken by surprise when he returns to Oklahoma only to find that his house is in ruins and his family is not there. He doesn't know that, while he was gone, the banks forced his family and thousands of others off their land. Tom is accompanied by a former priest, Casey, who searches with Tom for his family. Tom and Casey find the Joad family at Tom's uncle's house. The family is preparing to move west to California in hopes that they will find jobs and escape the Dust Bowl drought. The Dust Bowl drought has killed all the farmer's crops and the land has lost it's richness. Tom decides to travel with his family, even though he's going against parole rules by leaving the state.

The Joads travel west with all twelve members of the family and Casey piled into an old truck. The trip to California proves to be hard when their grandpa dies just days after their departure. Truck problems are regular occurrences and the penetrating heat tires the migrating family. They have very little money and they have many family members to feed as well as gas to buy. Tom is warned by families going back east that there are no job opportunities in California. They say the Joads will be forced to live in Hoovervilles, which are temporary shanty towns, and they won't have enough money for decent meals. This news is disheartening to Tom, but the family's only choice is to keep traveling west. Tom's grandmother eventually dies too from exhaustion and heat. Finally after many grueling days in the hot sun and numerous stops to fix the car, the Joads arrive at California. However, their dreams of finding a wonderful place to live are shattered when they hear California residents calling them Oakies and saying bad things about them. Californians feel threatened by the families migrating into California because the newcomers will take all the job opportunities and they will steal food to avoid starvation. At first the Joads can't find work and they are forced to live in one of the Hoovervilles. The Hoovervilles are very run down and Connie , Tom's brother, runs away from the family because of the disappointment of realizing his dreams will not come true.

When Tom gets in trouble with a officer in a Hooverville, Casey says it's his fault and he is arrested instead of Tom. If Tom had been arrested he would have been sent back to prison for three years. Tom has always looked up to Casey and he is even more grateful for Casey's actions.

The Joad family learns that there are jobs available as peach pickers to the north.

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