The Grapes of Wrath


Rory Galbraith, Chief News Editor

Applauded by critics, banned by governments, disliked by high schoolers, “The Grapes of Wrath” has quite a controversial and storied history. Considered Steinbeck’s greatest work, the legacy of this book is not only a required read for most juniors at Hoover but an immensely detailed period piece of our American history from not even 100 years ago.

The first time I read this book, it was required with questions and tests along with extremely organized and scheduled process for finishing certain chapters. Some chapters we would outright skip. Usually the unique and drawn out intercalary chapters which acted as broader context to similar events the Joads lived through would be untouched by our discussions in class. I can see the point made about these chapters holding up the story and slowing down the pace to an absolute crawl, however these chapters serve a similar purpose to flashbacks in movies. They provide context and necessary detail to this world that the characters live in. A reader might be able to picture a dusty American with millions seeking refuge to the West but these chapters really put you in the shoes of the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression and act practically as a time capsule mimicking the true feelings and values of the time. It wasn’t until my second read of this book that I finally appreciated these chapters and even grew to love reading them more than the actual fictional narrative.

English class ruined this book for me. A strict deadline and structured questions made the reading process incredibly slow and painful. This is the kind of book you chew on for a while. A simple plot yet complicated characters and themes. In an ideal world I would read this book for as long as a year. Even for this review there was a deadline which I felt overwhelmed with pressure to speed through the chapters. After thinking it over, I stopped and put out this review simply to ask one thing. Reconsider this book and read it!

Rating: Five Stars