THE GRAPES OF WRATH

DuringCollage.jpg (24197 bytes) the Okie immigration of the 1930's, resultant of horrendous dust storms in the heartland, the agronomic Salinas Valley was a major destination. Steinbeck's first experience with these poor people he was to champion around the world came when he paid a visit to the new shantytown that had sprung up on the east side of Salinas. Astounded at the sight and plight of the raggedy-butt, All-American farm folk he found there, he went home and told his wife, "There's a story in there somewhere."

 

Yep.The Joads.JPG (51195 bytes) Or two. Or four. Or more. Some years later I was born and raised in that particular Hooverville - it was called The Alisal - and I feel particularly awake to what Steinnie says about Okies. He's got a great slant on them, even their foibles. Yes, maybe especially their foibles.

 

OurGrapes Poster 2.jpg (32061 bytes) Steinbeck Country show is staged in 1939, just prior to the publication of his book, the ensuing award-winning film, and the total fame, acclamation, and condemnation they brought him for his efforts to right wrongs. After this, he was no longer "ours."

 

Now: has ever so serious a writer ever come up with so serious a work that is by so many taken not so seriously, yet by others so seriously taken it breeds angst to this very day? Many still think an Okie's an Okie, so what? But I have a friend who got all worked up in the reading of it, broke into tears, and zinged his copy hard against a wall in frustration. John himself lived in literal fear for his life in those times, so incensed were some of the men whose almighty dollar ethics he deplored and exposed.

 

Myself, I think him quite commendable.

 

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THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Larry Hosford

 

The grapes of wrath are grown and swollen, bursting in the sun,

Overripe and dying on the vine,

Long, long past the picking time,

The grapes of wrath make a bitter, bitter wine.

 

West we come to follow the sun with our family and friends,

Blown along like leaves on a bitter wind,

They've tractored down our homes around us,

Broken all the ties that bound us to our farm,

Now there is no farm.

 

The grapes of wrath are grown and swollen, bursting in the sun,

Overripe and dying on the vine,

Long, long past the picking time,

The grapes of wrath make a bitter, bitter wine.

 

Thousands strong we rolled along across the great southwest,

Me and mine we suffered like the rest,

Tex says, "Okie, if you see Arkie,

Tell him out in Californy there'll be work,"

But there is no work.

 

The grapes of wrath are grown and swollen, bursting in the sun,

Overripe and dying on the vine,

Long, long past the picking time,

The grapes of wrath make a bitter, bitter wine.

 

"Mama feed me," the baby pleads, she thinks it grows on trees,

Sadly strange the things a child believes,

Sadly strange in the land of plenty,

To have no milk and to have no honey, to have no food,

And there is no food.

 

The grapes of wrath are grown and swollen, bursting in the sun,

Overripe and dying on the vine,

Long, long past the picking time,

The grapes of wrath make a bitter, bitter wine.

The grapes of wrath make a bitter, bitter wine.

 

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