The Grapes of Wrath
Back in the day on May 6th, 1940, author John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” won a Pulitzer Prize. First published seventy years ago, Steinbeck’s story chronicled the migration of the fictional Joad family from Oklahoma to California. Set in the “Dust Bowl” era of the Great Depression, “The Grapes of Wrath,” portrayed the plight of “Okies” looking for work and searching for hope in California’s Central Valley only to find the exploitation of harsh labor conditions instead. With a strong intent, Steinbeck wrote his editor in 1938 saying “I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags.” The novel certainly struck a nerve as it went on to sell nearly half a million copies in its first year of publication before being awarded the Pulitzer Prize shortly thereafter.
Steinbeck’s work also did indeed incur a “wrath” of its own as it also became a target of censorship through the years, but as Oscar Wilde once said, “The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”