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Study Guide for John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath including chapter summary, character analysis, and more. Learn all about The Grapes of Wrath, ask questions, and get the answers you need.


Book Basics

Author: John Steinbeck

Year Published: 1939

Type: Novel

Genre: Fiction

Perspective and Narrator:

The Grapes of Wrath is written from a third-person omniscient point of view, which allows the narrator to explore the thoughts and feelings of all characters. Even-numbered chapters tell the story of the Joad family; odd-numbered chapters provide background information about the drought and Dust Bowl, the migration of Oklahomans to California, and the life of the migrants in California. These explanatory chapters are called intercalary chapters because they are inserted between other parts.


The Grapes of Wrath is told in the past tense.

About the Title:

Steinbeck chose the title for the novel from a verse in "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which reads, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord / He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored." Explaining the title—which was suggested by Steinbeck's wife—in a letter to his agent, Steinbeck commented, "I like the song because it is a kind of a march and this book is a kind of a march."

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