John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath


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Inhaltsangabe zu „The Grapes of Wrath“ von John Steinbeck

When The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, America, still recovering from the Great Depression, came face to face with itself in a startling, lyrical way. John Steinbeck gathered the country's recent shames and devastations--the Hoovervilles, the desperate, dirty children, the dissolution of kin, the oppressive labor conditions--in the Joad family. Then he set them down on a westward-running road, local dialect and all, for the world to acknowledge. For this marvel of observation and perception, he won the Pulitzer in 1940.
The prize must have come, at least in part, because alongside the poverty and dispossession, Steinbeck chronicled the Joads' refusal, even inability, to let go of their faltering but unmistakable hold on human dignity. Witnessing their degeneration from Oklahoma farmers to a diminished band of migrant workers is nothing short of crushing. The Joads lose family members to death and cowardice as they go, and are challenged by everything from weather to the authorities to the California locals themselves. As Tom Joad puts it: "They're a-workin' away at our spirits. They're a tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're workin' on our decency."
The point, though, is that decency remains intact, if somewhat battle-scarred, and this, as much as the depression and the plight of the "Okies," is a part of American history. When the California of their dreams proves to be less than edenic, Ma tells Tom: "You got to have patience. Why, Tom--us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." It's almost as if she's talking about the very novel she inhabits, for Steinbeck's characters, more than most literary creations, do go on. They continue, now as much as ever, to illuminate and humanize an era for generations of readers who, thankfully, have no experiential point of reference for understanding the depression. The book's final, haunting image of Rose of Sharon--Rosasharn, as they call her--the eldest Joad daughter, forcing the milk intended for her stillborn baby onto a starving stranger, is a lesson on the grandest scale. "'You got to,'" she says, simply. And so do we all. --Melanie Rehak

One of the greatest and most socially significant novels of the twentieth century, Steinbeck's controversial masterpiece indelibly captured America during the Great Depression through the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads. Intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity, The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is not only a landmark American novel, but it is as well an extraordinary moment in the history of our national conscience.
Dorothy Allison on John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath: "
"John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is a novel completely of it's time-but that time is as much the concrete nineties as the dust bowl thirties. With language that echoes the poetry of the gospels and characters who cling to simple human decency under the most horrific assaults, it is both a work of social criticism and a celebration of the American character. The Joad family speaks to us of all the homeless and displaced families on our streets today, and to the fears and prejudices that tempt so many of us to close our eyes or look away. In telling the story of the Joads, John Steinbeck has retold the story of this nation. We are not a small mean people, Steinbeck's work proclaims, and to prove it he showed us the courage and grace in the poorest of us."
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  • Rezension zu "The Grapes of Wrath" von John Steinbeck

    The Grapes of Wrath


    03. May 2007 um 23:15

    Ein Buch, das in den USA (laut Einband) für Furore gesorgt hat, und das (sofern man die beschriebenen Umstände als bare Münze nehmen kann) interessante Einblicke in eine sozial katastrophale Zeit gibt. Der Leser erhält hierbei wie in einer daily soap Einblicke in das "ganz normale" Leben der Familie Joad; Es gibt dabei Romanzen, ist jedoch keine Liebesgeschichte, es gibt Kämpfe ohne ein Action-Thriller zu sein, gespickt mit detaillierten Alltags- und Naturbeschriebungen - die Geschichte hat eigentlich keine nennenswerten Höhen und Tiefen, schafft es aber trotzdem (oder vielleicht gerade wegen seines soap-Charakters) zu fesseln. Zu Schluss wird man jedoch jäh und ohne Vorwarnung wieder aus dem Geschehen herausgerissen, nichts für Leser, die keine offenen Enden mögen! Diese Englische Version halte ich vom Schreibstil und Vokabular als gut verständlich, und wer Südstaaten-Slang etwas gewohnt ist kommt auch mit den wörtlichen Reden gut zurecht, da diese durchgehend so geschrieben wie gesprochen sind.

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