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GoW Notes - Grapes of Wrath Book Analysis Who were the...

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Grapes of Wrath Book Analysis Who were the Joads and why did they leave their home in Oklahoma in the novel? The Joads were a family of sharecroppers in Oklahoma. o Consists of Tom Joad, the protagonist of the story o Ma o Pa o Al, Tom’s little brother, 16, typical teenager o Noah, Tom’s older brother, intellectually disabled in some way o Rose of Sharon, Tom’s sister, oldest daughter, pregnant when they leave for California, delivers a stillborn o Connie, Rose’s husband, abandons the Joads after the stillborn is delivered once they reach California; act of immaturity only surprises Rose of Sharon o Grandpa Joad, Tom’s grandfather, who is so unwilling to leave his home in Oklahoma that he must be drugged, and soon dies from a stroke o Grandma Joad, Tom’s grandmother, depressed after death of her husband and dies on tedious journey across the desert o Ruthie Joad, close with Winfield and very competitive o Winfield Joad, youngest Joad child o The Joads left because they had been “tractored” off the lands, and needed to find a place to stay and work. The landowners and the banks, unable to make high profits from tenant farming, evict the farmers from the land. (Tenant farming is an agricultural system in which farmers live on the property of a landowner and share in the profits.) Some of the property owners are cruel, some are kind, but they all deliver the same news: the farmers must leave. Tractors arrive on the land, with orders to plow the property, crushing anything in their paths—including, if necessary, the farmhouse, though the Joad’s farmhouse was fairly intact. A large farming company bought the land and evicted the tenant farmers in order to cut labor costs. o Joads go to Uncle John’s in order to earn money picking cotton in the dry cotton farming areas of Oklahoma, and hopefully be able to journey to California and find work in the fruit picking industry there o Tom reunites with his family at Uncle John’s, where they Who were the people like the Joads and why did they leave their homes in Oklahoma in historical reality?
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The sharecroppers in Oklahoma were a lot like the Joads, and their reasons for leaving are similar as well. The Dust Bowl, drought, debts, banks taking over farmers’ lands, and the mechanization of farming with tractors, all drove people out of the Midwestern states and to California where rumors boomed of prosperous lands and ample employment opportunities. Steinbeck exaggerates the number of people who migrated on account of the Dust Bowl, while many people were forced to move from their homes, there were other reasons, particularly drought making the small farms unproductive. Also, Roosevelt’s New Deal Agricultural Adjustment Act gave landowners money to cease producing crops, and allowed them to evict the tenant farmers. It also put farming in the hands of large farm companies, who switched to mechanized farming with tractors and
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GoW Notes - Grapes of Wrath Book Analysis Who were the...

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