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Go Back       Himalayan Journal of Education and Literature | Volume:4 Issue:6 | Dec. 6, 2023
75 Downloads211 Views

DOI : 10.47310/Hjel.2023.v04i06.002       Download PDF       HTML       XML

The Dehumanizing Aspect of the American Capitalism in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1986)


Bineta SARR

1 Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar.

* Correspondence: Bineta SARR. b.sardiop09@gmail.com.


Abstract: This study aims at examining the hardships undergone by a family of farmers, the Joads, evicted of the land they have been tied to for hundreds of years after being drastically affected by a drought. Being no longer able to stay in their homeland where they have no other source of survival than the land taken from them, they move to California during the fruit picking season to earn their living. Unfortunately, they experienced there harsher realities epitomized by hunger, rejection and injustice. Through the countless ordeals met by that family, Steinbeck uses the poor economic situation of the working class to unveil the inequalities that exist in the American society, and at the same time demystify the ideals that adorn the American dream. This work has followed a historical and descriptive analytical approach focusing on the aftermaths of the Great Depression and that of the Dust Bowl along with the description of the difficulties undergone by the Joads. In this analysis, realism and naturalism are also applied, the first one mirrors the true life of the American society, and the second one depicts the hard conditions of the working class. As far as the outcome is concerned, this analysis has revealed that people called capitalists in the novel, are financially rich but spiritually poor or even spiritually empty because they consider other humans as inhumans. In addition, the tough living conditions of the Joads family in the States has shown the dark side of the American dream.


Keywords: Drought, hunger, rejection, injustice, poor economic situation, working class, Great Depression, Dust Bowl

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