harvest_gypsies_ccr.pdf - Name: Class: Excerpt from The...

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Name:Class:"Migrant Worker and Cucumbers, Blackwater, VA"by Bread for theWorld is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.Excerpt from The Harvest GypsiesArticle IBy John Steinbeck1936John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was an American author who won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature. WhileSteinbeck was most popular for his novels, which often focused on agricultural workers in California, he alsowrote a series of articles on migrant farm workers for theSan Francisco News. In this excerpt, Steinbeckdiscusses the role of migrant workers in California’s agriculture industry. As you read, take notes on thecommon life and work experiences of migrant farm workers.At this season of the year, when California's greatcrops are coming into harvest, the heavy grapes,the prunes, the apples and lettuce and the rapidlymaturing cotton, our highways swarm with themigrant workers, that shifting group of nomadic,1poverty-stricken harvesters driven by hunger andthe threat of hunger from crop to crop, fromharvest to harvest, up and down the state andinto Oregon to some extent, and into Washingtona little. But it is California which has and needsthe majority of these new gypsies.2It is a shortstudy of these wanderers that these articles willundertake. There are at least 150,000 homelessmigrants wandering up and down the state, andthat is an army large enough to make it important to every person in the state.To the casual traveler on the great highways the movements of the migrants are mysterious if they areseen at all, for suddenly the roads will be filled with open rattletrap cars loaded with children and withdirty bedding, with fire-blackened cooking utensils. The boxcars and gondolas on the railroad lines willbe filled with men. And then, just as suddenly, they will have disappeared from the main routes. Onside roads and near rivers where there is little travel the squalid, filthy squatters’3camp will have beenset up, and the orchards will be filled with pickers and cutters and driers.The unique nature of California agriculture requires that these migrants exist, and requires that theymove about. Peaches and grapes, hops and cotton cannot be harvested by a resident population oflaborers. For example, a large peach orchard which requires the work of 20 men the year round willneed as many as 2000 for the brief time of picking and packing. And if the migration of the 2000 shouldnot occur, if it should be delayed even a week, the crop will rot and be lost.[1]1.Nomadic(adjective):wandering from place to place2."Gypsies" are members of a nomadic ethnic group, also known as the Roma, who originated in South Asia andmigrated to Europe; the term is associated with nomads and migrants who move about often.3.people who unlawfully occupy a vacant building or unused land1
Thus, in California we find a curious attitude toward a group that makes our agriculture successful. Themigrants are needed, and they are hated. Arriving in a district they find the dislike always meted4out

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Term
Fall
Professor
ANGEL CROSS
Tags
Migrant worker

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