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The Grapes of Wrath
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The Grapes of Wrath

Select a Chapter:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
 
Chapter 1

Summary
The novel opens with an evocative, "big picture" description of the "Dust Bowl," the devastating drought conditions that characterized the Plain States in the 1930s. Steinbeck paints vivid word pictures of "the last rains" falling, in vain, upon the earth. Raindrops bounce off of dying corn. Stinging wind attacks the crops. Dust fills the air, even blotting out the stars at night. Farm women and children wonder if the harsh weather and the crop failures will cause their men's spirits and wills to break.

Analysis
Throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck alternates macrocosmic (or what might be called "big picture") chapters with microcosmic chapters that illustrate the effects of large scale social changes.

The novel begins by depicting the misery that was brought on by the drought that hit the Great Plains in the 1930's. This dust-blown landscape is the environment wherein the sharecroppers, including the Joads live.

Steinbeck describes in vivid detail the setting of the novel before introducing the characters. With this he emphasizes the importance of nature and how it can affect the lives of people and force them to become helpless victims.

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