Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

Author: John Steinbeck

Year: 1939

Famous for: Heart-wrenching descriptions of human suffering and a whole lotta wrath.

Main character: Tom Joad: former convict, favorite son, and by the end of the story, champion of the oppressed.

The scoop:

During the day, you see the strain on your parents’ faces. At night, you hear their whispers. Money is tight. Foreclosure looms. They’re desperate for opportunities—for themselves and for you, their child. Should they pack up? Default on their loans? Search for a better life somewhere—anywhere—else?

Less than 75 years after John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, some things have changed … while others have remained terrifyingly the same. Countries in economic crisis? Check. Families suffering the indignity of foreclosure? Check. And then there are the effects of climate change …

Children of Depression-Era Migrant workers.

John Steinbeck’s world: Three young children of depression-era migrant farm workers, in the trailer they called “home.”

True, we’ve come a long way since the society that Steinbeck wrote about in his story of one migrant family—the Joads—and their dreams for a better life in California.

Working conditions are better … mostly. There are government programs to help those in dire need … sort of. And some of that change is thanks to writers like Steinbeck, who sought to rouse readers to action on behalf of migrant working families like the Joads.

Today, The Grapes of Wrath is still a reminder of the importance of standing up to injustice. Not to mention a survival guide for the uncertain times in which we live.


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