Saturday, May 15, 2010

#213: To the Stars Through Difficulties

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;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
I am almost finished with reading John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and it's been getting me thinking if I would've survived something like that. Being a native son of Kansas, I would like to think I would especially in the 1930s when people were heartier than they are now. Would I even want to move? I guess if I absolutely had to I would but it would but considering it seems as if no one really had a say in the matter, you'd pretty much have to. Settlers in the area of the Midwest were duped in the mid to late 1800s because everyone thought that area wasn't a good place to start of farm but good years and good rains changed everyone's mind. That all changed in 1930 when the Great Plains suffered through a huge drought which caused the topsoil to erode and be easily carried by continental winds creating huge walls of dust that engulfed large areas of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Grapes of Wraths features the Joad family from Sallisaw, Oklahoma traveling down Route 66 toward California where they hope to get jobs picking fruit and cotton.  The journey doesn't go as well as one might think with Grandpa dying almost immediately but the Joads make it but unfortunately can't find any permanent work.  I enjoy working, it makes me feel like I am actually contributing to society and not just occupying space waiting to die so I think I'd be okay with that.  The only difference is that in the present day I am not very good at manual labor but this would've been in the 1930s and I would've been working on a farm anyway so I think I have it covered.

During the book, despite that the Joad family literally falls apart with members abandoning them and running off, you don't really feel sad or heartbroken.  They are persevering and that's the important thing.  You know that when everything works out in the end, they will all be reunited in some way.  It's no wonder this book won a Pulitzer and a Nobel.

Until next time, I remain...