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Steinbeck began the novel with a description of the dust bowl climate of Oklahoma. The dust became so thick that men and women were forced remain in their houses, and when they were required to leave they tied handkerchiefs over their faces and wore goggles to protect their eyes. After the wind stopped, an even blanket of dust covered the earth. The corn crop was ruined. As you can see the land of plenty became the land of nothing..... there was no food, no crops, no income, and nothing for the families to put aside until their luck turned. They weren't landowners, so they couldn't wait it out, even if the banks weren't moving in on them they still would have had to move on and find somewhere they could work, somewhere they could survive.