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Copy of Grapes of Wrath - Chapter 19
Transcript of Copy of Grapes of Wrath - Chapter 19
In chapter 19 of the Grapes Of Wrath the narrator explains the historical roots of California's farmers. Years ago, "sqatters" took the land from the Hispanic famers but once the "squatters" came and farmed it they believed it was rightfully theirs. The decsendants of these "sqatters" are now the wealthy owners of large farms with fences and security guards and hire workers for a very low pay. These workers are "Okies," poor migrant families from the southeast trying to escape the Dust Bowl. The Okies are a threat to the decsendants because they are hungry and strong workers but all they wanted was a good pay and food to eat. The workers live in Hoovervilles that were frequently shut down by the Department of Health. In desperation, some Okies trespassed on farm and created secret gardens. Eventually, the security guards found and destroyed them. On one occasion, an Okie was trying to stop the guard from destroying his sercret crop, they started fighting, and the son of the Okie shot and killed the guard.
The Grapes of Wrath
The shanty towns built by the migrant workers were named Hoovervilles. Herbert Hoover, the president during the Great Depression, was blamed for the United States economic downfall. Because of the accusation, they dubbed the towns "Hoovervilles" to mock his failure and "show" him what he did.
Migrant families in California, came to be known as "Okies." These poor, white, southeastern families came looking for work and eventually pushed out most of the Hispanic and Fillipino workers. Between the year 1935 and 1940, over 70,000 "Okies" flooded California. Because there were so many and because they had low wages and were impoverished, they built little shanty towns.
the Joad Family
In the previous chapter, the Joad family is en-route to Claifornia to escape from their home, Oklahoma. They stop in Arizona where they meet a father and son who tell them that once they get to Claifornia they'll be called "Okies" and be very diliked by the farmers. They also explain that "they hate you 'cause they're scairt (Steinbeck 205)."
When the Joads arrive in California, they will the the burdens to the wealthy farmers, a complete change for them since in Oklahoma they were the land owners.
"And the hunger was gone from them, the feral hunger, the gnawing, tearing hunger for land, for water and earth and the good sky over it, for the green thrusting grass, for the swelling roots."
"And these things were possesions, and possesion was ownership."
"And new waves were on the way, new waves of the dispossessed and the homeless, hardened, intent, and dangerous."
"Then the farmers who were not good shopkeepers lost their land to good shopkeepers."
"One of our folks in the Revolution, an' they was lots of our folks in the Civil War-both sides. Americans."
"And a homeless hungry man, driving the roads with his wife beside him and his thin children in the back seat, could look at the fallow fields which might produce food but not profit, and that man could know how a fallow field is a sin and the unused land a crime against the thin children."
"The Mexicans were weak and fed. They could not resist, because they wanted nothing in the world as ferociously as the Americans wanted land (Steinbeck 231)."
"Notice one thing? They ain't no vegetables nor chickens nor pigs at the farms. They raise one thing -- cotton, say, or peaches, or lettuce. 'Nother place'll be all chickens. They buy the stuff the could raise in the dooryard (Steinbeck 235)."
"Qoute: In Lawrence a deputy sheriff evicted a squatter, and the squatter resisted, making it necessary for the officer to use force. The eleven-year-old son of the squatter shot and killed the deputy with a .22 rifle (Stienbeck 236)."
"Poor little fella... And hands went into pockets and little coins came out (Steinbeck 239)."
Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won't all be poor. Pray God some day a kid can eat. And the associations of owners knew that some day the praying would stop. And theres the end.