The Grapes of Wrath
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Grapes of Wrath is an American novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940; however, the endings of the book and the movie differ greatly.
Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California's Central Valley along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs, and dignity. The novel is meant to emphasize the need for cooperative, as opposed to individualistic, solutions to social problems brought about by the mechanization of agriculture and the Dust Bowl drought.