Popular Dust Bowl Books
Popular Dust Bowl Books
Set during the Great Depression , the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl , the Joads set out for California along with thousands of other " Okies " seeking jobs, land, dignity, and a future. The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. The narrative begins just after Tom Joad is paroled from McAlester prison , where he had been imprisoned after being convicted of homicide. While hitchhiking to his home near Sallisaw, Oklahoma , Tom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together. When they arrive at Tom's childhood farm home, they find it deserted. Disconcerted and confused, Tom and Casy meet their old neighbor, Muley Graves, who tells them the family has gone to stay at Uncle John Joad's home nearby.
Sanora Babb with CIO organizer, migrant, and child. Sanora Babb was an author, poet, editor, and journalist. The daughter of a gambler, Babb had spent her childhood moving from one place to the next in the area around No Man's Land: Baca County, Colorado; Elkhart, Kansas; and then Forgan, Oklahoma, where she had graduated from high school as the class valedictorian though two town matrons kept "the gambler's daughter" from delivering the valedictory speech. After a job as cub reporter for the Garden City Herald in Kansas, she moved to Los Angeles in , hoping to make a name for herself on a big city newspaper. The stock market crash ended that dream, and she was homeless for a while, until finding temporary work in a string of secretarial jobs.
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When The Grapes of Wrath came out 77 years ago, it was an instant hit. The story of a destitute family fleeing the Dust Bowl sold , copies in a year and catapulted John Steinbeck to literary greatness. But it also stopped the publication of another novel, silencing the voice of an author more intimately connected to the plight of Oklahoma migrants because she was one herself. In many ways, the books are complementary takes on the same subject: one book is spare and detailed, the other is big and ambitious. One spends more time in Oklahoma, the other spends more time in California. One focuses on individual characters, the other attempts to tell a broader story about America.