The Grapes of Wrath

Grapes of Wrath as a Compassionate Social Narrative College

“Like William Faulkner and Willa Cather, John Steinbeck wrote his best fiction about the region in which he grew up and the people he knew from boyhood…” Paul McCarthy

Steinbeck’s novels of the common people and the troubles that beset them have earned him the reputation as one of America’s greatest writers. He has employed various forms, from short story to allegory to morality plays, yet his approach is consistently realistic. Critics often feel that the realism is marred by his sentimentality, but Steinbeck’s clear, forceful writing and his sensitive treatment of his characters are considered his strengths. Granville Hicks's 1939 review in The New Masses declared The Grapes of Wrath an exemplary proletarian novel, noting that Steinbeck's "insight into capitalism illuminates every chapter of the book." Yet another critic, Joseph Fontenrose is of the view that “The Grapes of Wrath is a product of Steinbeck’s own experience and direct observation; its realism is genuine.”

It is a great task to tell a story, but to tell it with the essence of the environment in which it takes place surely requires great efforts on the part of the writer. The Grapes of Wrath, one of the period’s most brilliant and innovative novels, can be read...

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