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Anger & Hate Quotes in The Grapes of Wrath

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

''The Grapes of Wrath'' is the story of the Joads that move from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression in hopes of finding work. This lesson discusses the hatred in the story.

The Grapes of Wrath

Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath after doing research on the California migrant workers and becoming angry over how they were treated and lived. The story focuses on the Joads and their journey from Oklahoma to California and subsequent fight to find work of any sort that would help them survive. Throughout the story, the Joads never really get the big break they were hoping to get by moving, yet they keep plodding on.

One of the deepest messages of the book can be seen in the very beginning. The narrator of the story talks about how hate is the cause for the grief and issues the farmers and families are experiencing. 'Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other.' This lesson will look at the anger and hatred that can be seen in The Grapes of Wrath.

Corruption and Power

The Grapes of Wrath shows the trials of the working farmers during the Great Depression. California put out flyers to bring workers to work the farms, but they did it for a manipulative reason. The farmers drew the people out with the intent of offering lower wages. The farmers knew if desperate people were looking for work, they would take any amount of money the farms were willing to pay, because it was better than nothing. One of the workers in the camps said 'He was panting with anger, and his eyes blazed with hate. 'That's why them han'bills was out. You can print a hell of a lot of han'bills with what ya save payin' fifteen cents an hour for fiel' work.''

This corruption is a running theme in the novel. The power and money of the rich will always stay with the rich, because they know how to oppress the workers and get what they want. Even on the original journey, as the Joads make their way west, they run into an old man at a garage who is experiencing the same issues. The Joads' truck had died, so they needed help. They find it at an old station. The worker there is an old and worn man, good at what he does, but paid very little. He is full of anger and hates his boss and the power he holds. 'The man shambled close, his one eye flashing. 'I hate 'im,' he said softly. 'I hate the son-of-a-bitch!'' He hates his boss because he taunts the old man with the pleasantries and fun of the rich, but never allows him to experience it.

At one of the migrant camps, the anger is obvious, but not from the migrant workers. Instead it comes from the cops that cannot control and manipulate the workers. The original Californians are incredibly angry at the migrants for moving in and taking jobs and money from the people of the state. The man says 'An' that's why they hate this here camp. No cops can get in.'

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