Posted by ESC on June 17, 2001
In Reply to: Grapes of wrath posted by R. Berg on June 17, 2001
: : I desparately need to know what "Grapes of Wrath" means. Does anyone know? Thanks!
: Its source is a lyric in "The Battle Hymn of the Republic": "He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored." It has to do with righteous anger. Maybe someone else can be more precise.
And, as you probably already know, it's the title of a 1939 book:
Life during the Great Depression of the 1930s was extremely difficult for almost everyone. But for those who had little to begin with, it created often unbearable circumstances. By 1935, drought and poor farming practices, especially in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas, led to the wind erosion of topsoil. So severe was this problem that the affected areas of the Great Plains were labeled the Dust Bowl. At nearly the same time, the development of the all-purpose tractor enabled large landowners to dispense with the labor of farmers who were tenants on their land. By the late '30s, a majority of the approximately 1.8 million tenant farmers in the South had been evicted from their homes. Many of the displaced farmers sought work in the "promised land" of California. Eventually, there were as many as 300,000 migrants in California, several workers for every available job in the fertile farming valleys of that state.
In 1936, John Steinbeck conducted research on the people who had moved to California from Arkansas and Oklahoma; in 1937, he toured the Dust Bowl and traveled with migrants on their relentless drive to California. From those experiences he wrote The Grapes of Wrath, which upon publication in 1939 earned Steinbeck both high praise (including the Pulitzer Prize) and harsh criticism for its strong language and sociopolitical implications. The novel continues to be one of the most highly praised and vehemently criticized pieces of American literature.