The Grapes of Wrath (Everyman's Library)

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Overview

Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisons against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet ...
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The Grapes of Wrath

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Overview

Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisons against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679420408
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/9/1993
  • Series: Everyman's Library
  • Pages: 578
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.35 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck
Chronicling American dreams destroyed by either injustice or the simple difficulty of the world, John Steinbeck left lasting testaments to the struggles of working people in The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. His refusal to water down his realistic work got some of his books banned – and earned him a Nobel Prize.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 536 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(290)

4 Star

(116)

3 Star

(50)

2 Star

(35)

1 Star

(45)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 538 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read book.

    The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck is an all time classic novel that depicts the reality of the Great Depression during the 1930's. The story first takes place in Oklahoma where the Dust Bowl had hit many crops and open fields where farmers farmed, children played, and had also hit the worst place to be hit-the lives of innocent people who lived day by day off their land. Because food and jobs were scarce, many families were forced to pack up what ever belongings they had left and move west. The main characters who take on the expedition of a new life are Tom, Ma, Pa, Jim, and Rose of Sharon. Each character has their own special quality's that they carry within that suffices the long and hard journey to California. While on the road the characters find not only how difficult it is to survive, but there are many things that have to be sacrificed in order for the majority to move on. Within the storyline you will find bumpy roads and battles that the characters must endure, thus so does every other book, however, this book will catch your attention very quickly because you will not only feel empathy for each and every character, as they struggle through the day, but you will be able to relive the hardships of the 1930's and think to yourself, "Wow, this tragic event actually happened to ordinary people and they survived." John Steinbeck is an amazing author and has never let his readers down. You will be oh so very delighted to read this book and will not ever want to close it.

    50 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good

    At times, I had to make myself plow through this one. It was very depressing, made more so by the fact that things like what the Joads went through actually happened. I'm 'anti-spoiler', so I won't give away the ending, but let me just say that the ending hit me hard. It's as if the whole story came back to slap me in the face, making the power of it much stronger. I'm glad I finished it.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    ANOTHER, AL TIME, CLASSIC

    As much a political manifesto as the simple story of a family forced to leave their family farm and seek a new life in California, the Grapes of Wrath is a masterpiece of American literature. Set in the American West at the start of the mass migration to the West Coast, the story follows the Joad family from the foreclosure of their farm through the long road trip along Route 66 and finally to their lives as migrant workers in a land overflowing with workers. Their lives and hardships are vividly painted in Steinbeck's outstanding prose.<BR/>Steinbeck alternates styles in each chapter. Every other chapter details the story of the Joads. In the remaining chapters Steinbeck uses a repetitive, haphazard, ungrammatical, absolutely brilliant style to sketch a scene from the life of a migrant family, ostensibly the Joads. In these chapters, he conveys scenes such as the high-paced action of a used car lot, the bitterness of a family receiving foreclosure notice, or the back breaking work of cotton picking with such clarity and color that the words of the book seem to fall away leaving the reader with a tangible world in which voices are shouting or the breeze is tossing the cotton tufts into the air. In my own reading, I've seen many authors try to mimic this unstructured, repetitive style, but never done as well as this.<BR/>The story is rich with symbolism and emotion. While there are some spots where Steinbeck seems to be working too hard, the book as a whole is a wonderful read. You will come away a little more educated about that era in America's history, a little more sympathetic to the plight of migrant workers, and maybe even a little more left-leaning in your political views. Regardless of what you intend to get out of it, the Grapes of Wrath is absolutely recommended for anyone of the maturity to understand the deep themes that run through the story. Highly recommended novel.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    After reading Of Mice and Men, which I loved, I was really looking forward to this book. However, no matter how many times I tried to pick it up, I just couldn't get into it. Some of the descriptive prose is beautiful, but the plot moves at a glacial pace and I couldn't understand whole chunks of dialogue. Reading multiple pages of a turtle trying to cross the road is a good metaphor of trying to get through the book.

    9 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    Amazing Book!

    I had to read this book for a tenth grade summer assignment. To tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be terribly boring? I thought, "What adventures could this family possibly go through that would be worth putting into a book?" I was so wrong! This book is amazing. Not difficult to understand; definitely an ideal American Literature novel.

    The only thing I disliked about the book was the chapters in between that described in GENERAL the experiences of migrant farmers during the Great Depression. Some of them were interesting, but in general, boring and hard to understand. But don't let that stop you from reading the book. It's great!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    a classic vintage

    Even when I first read this in high scool I enjoyed it, but now it seems eve3n better to me. Maybe it's having such a hard time with finding work or working in such a crap job when I do, but this is a book that holds up to time in both the texture and pleasure of the story and in the subjects it tacles. I recomend it to anyone willing to let a little bit of real into their fiction.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Most Profound American Novel Ever Written

    This is, as far as I'm concerned, the most perfect novel ever written. It is at once a very simple story about a simple family and their struggles during the Dust Bowl era, and at the same time it is a complex commentary on a plethora of social issues that still affect working people today. Even the language of the book is deceptively simple, until the depth of what Steinbeck is saying through his characters or through his descriptions of the land hit you. Then you realize that what he has done is amazing...he's taken the simplest words and the simplest characters and created poetry.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I got bord after the first paragraph...

    I got bord after the first paragraph worst book ever id rather wath dry paint dry thats how bord i was.:(

    5 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Uuuugh....

    I got halfway through this book and thought my eyes were going to fall out of their sockets. This book SUCKS!!!! I read it at night to put me to sleep.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Ew

    I HATE this book with a passion.

    4 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    The First Classic That I Ultimately Deplored!!!!

    First off, I would like to state that I have a love for classic reads; I have read many great literary works such as Moby Dick, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Les Miserables, and Oliver Twist, just to name a few. This was the first classic that I found myself utterly despising. Steinbeck's writing style in this novel was just. . . not good. All of his characters were the same, with no psychological means of motivation, and all of the "villains" were similar and stereotypical. The author has awful grammar, in areas in which he wasn't using the literary technique of vernacular, he would make up words (again, not in the dialogue), such a case his inventing the term "firelighted". In addition, he would forget what was occurring throughout the novel, such a case being where Tom asks where he can wash in the peach farm, at which point the officials answer shrewdly, then, a page later, Tom goes and asks his mother the same exact question! In addition, I didn't find that the author used too much description throughout the novel, as was said in numerous other reviews, but, rather, he used too little, people having to rely instead on dialogue. I'm fine with realism, I have read many nonfiction-based books, but without the backing of psychological cause there lies very little literary gratification. A terrible book, I thought, biased, with little character development, and depth that matches that of a tidal pool. Do not stereotype all classics on the basis of this book!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    From 1939 to 2009, It's a Classic Contemporary

    While having been writtin in 1939, John Steinbeck wrote a masterpiece that is as contemporary today in its ideas as it was when it was written. The simple matter is that the "monster" never went away, it only grew and, "it breathes profits. If it doesn't have profits it will wither and die." The more things have changed, the more the banks and asset holders haven't. We've gone from the Great Depression to the Great Denial, now referred to as the "Great Recession."
    This is a masterpiece that highlights the depth of people in a time of trial, and shows that even if society should lose its humanity, there will still be individuals who will bring hope for the future.
    The genius of this book is in the ending. Whether it is a tragic or hopeful ending is left to how the reader sees the last chapter, as an ending or as a new beginning.

    FD.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Oh yeah, the greatest American classic ever!

    The story is about an Oklahoma family,the Joads. After Tom is released from prison for killing someone, he finds his house is torn dow, and he leads his family to work in California.

    My dad is the one who recommended this book for me, because he is a great fan of classics, and I guess I inherited that from him. This book is an absolutely, positively, must! Steinbeck, as every author does, has his own unique writing style. In a way, he is like another one of my favorite authors, Hemingway. He has a very simplistic, but beautiful writing style. The story is a sort of historical social realism and that's what makes me different from today's readers. Instead of the modern-day thriller, I'm into these kinds of stories.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

    Most Boring Book I've EVER Read!

    I read this book solely because I was told to by one of my teachers. I tried very hard to keep an open mind on how this book was going to be, after all, it is a clasic. Soon after opening this book, however, I started to question why anyone would want to read this. I was warned in the beginning that this book was very dull, though it was required to read. I seriously took a month to read three chapters. I had desperatly hoped that my teacher would be wrong, but to my disheartening, I found that he was absolutly correct.
    This book is a about Tom Joad, though about half way through the first 100 pages, you start to question that because John Steinbeck starts refering to him as 'Tom' as aposed to what he had previously been calling him, 'Joad'. That confused me tremendusly and made me start to question if he just did that because half way through he realized he was writing about four Joads. On the actual character of Joad, he was self-centered, rude, and very immpolite. Gradually he got better as the story progressed, but he still made it very hard to want to read about him. The other characters aren't really someone who I would want to read about either, especally his sister, she gets unbareable at times. The characters, however, are only one small part as to why I did not enjoy this book.
    The writing style I did not enjoy for two reasons: it seemed very pointless to put in the exact way they spoke, and because he had chapters on nothing, basicly. Steinbeck actually included how the different characters spoke so you would only get half of the word and like ten commas saying 'we don't say this letter so you shouldn't read it'. It drove me absoultly bonkers trying to figure out what it was that the characters were saying. I also didn't like the writing style because what Steinbeck's style of writing is that you have a chapter of story and a chapter of backround information that only partly relates to the story and for the most part has no relevance to it. Quite honestly, if I wasn't going to be quizzed on what those chapters said, I wouldn't of bothered to read them, they really didn't add anything to the story for me.
    Steinbeck's world choice was very mature and very crude. What he would do is string out an intire sentence of swear words, and then make a comment on absoutly nothing. If you have a problem with swearing, don't go anywhere near this book. Steinbeck's word choice rivals both Stephen King and J.D. Stalinger. The word choice, when it isn't all cussing, is very simple and very downward on education which did capture the characters. He didn't make a man that just spent four years in jail sound like an Ivy Leauge Scholar, which was very good in that aspect.
    In all, would much rather have not read this book. It was absolutly terrible and it made you want to throw the book at John Steinbeck. The book was boring, but it gave you a glimpse into the 1930's. This book is good for history people with a very good attention span, not so good for students.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    American literature at its finest!

    The Grapes of Wrath is definitely an American classic. John Steinbeck has written a magnificent story that captures the hopes, shattered dreams and intense struggles of the Joad family during the Great Depression. This book is a must read for anyone looking for a stimulating book that will leave a big impression on you for a long time!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    My all time favorite!

    The Grapes of Wrath is my absolute favorite novel of all time. It's beautifully written- honestly written. I recommend this book to everyone- some may say that it starts out slow, but only to set the whole mood of the story. It is full of hardships, sadness, passion, the will to survive and the love of a family trying to hold it together while they begin to lose everything. Shocking, historical, emotional. Don't miss this book -or the powerful ending!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    The Best by Steinbeck

    This is one of the best written books from John Steinbeck. Tom Joad is a classic character. A must read for anyone interested in classic American literature.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Not the best book in the world

    I had to read this book for a summer assignment and it bored me to tears. Steinbeck uses so much description and detail that you get lost and forget what is happening in the story. I am not kidding you when i say that there is an ENTIRE chapter devoted to a box turtle crossing the street. I also did not like the end, because I felt like there was no real conclusion of the story (maybe there was closure for Rose of Sharon, but what about the other characters?). All in all, i would not recommend this book if you are looking for a quick, satisfying, and easy read because it is the exact opposite of this.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    complete crap!

    I had to read this book for a summer reading assignment and it is actually MORE entertaining to watch grass grow. One of the worst books I have ever had to read.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    Save Yourselves

    I have to say right now that I really hate being the negative reviewer, but in no better words, this book totally stunk. I had to read it for junior English and thought that all 544 pages (in the copy we got stuck with, 619 (I remember every awful page)) were about as interesting as sitting in the grass and letting ants bite your toes. I should not have to read a sentence, replace the horrendous verbage with real-people words, and then reread the sentence I construct in my head. Yes, I know, it's literature and he wrote how the people spoke. So? Had the story had a little more real meat to it, I might have been able to overlook it. Might. The characters were irritating - I wanted to throttle most of them. I swore that if the turtle in the early chapters got run over that I would throw the book down and stoop to reading SparkNotes. Sadly for my sanity, the turtle was delivered. And, seriously, the end was just creepy. Really creepy. They teach this in schools, and then they wonder why so many teens have suicidal thoughts. This is why - depressing books that glorify things people are usually taught to avoid, but I probably shouldn't get into philosophy or psychology.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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