In Episode 003, "The Gals of Wrath" tackle The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and consider the dual trauma of the Dust Bowl and Depression, the power and pitfalls of the protest novel, and the plausibility of a central character going missing halfway through this book. Seriously, where did Noah GO?
Travel with us as we join the Joads and make our way from Oklahoma to the Golden State!
To reread with us, grab a copy of The Grapes of Wrath at your local bookstore or neighborhood library, or download it from your favorite digital book space.
To learn more about the Dust Bowl and its impact, read The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, and grab a copy of Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl at your local library. In this episode, we also mention an essay by James Baldwin, titled “Everybody’s Protest Novel,” which can be found in his collection Notes of a Native Son.
- John Steinbeck is said to have borrowed subject matter from the field notes of Farm Security Administration official Sanora Babb, whose own novel on the subject, Whose Names are Unknown, was published in 2004. Check it out!
- Of the final scene in the book, Ernest Hemingway is rumored to have said “that’s hardly the solution to our economic problem.” We love a good literary zing!
- In the 1980s, there was a rumor that Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath had been translated into Japanese as ‘The Angry Raisins’. This rumor was, however, false. It has been debunked numerous times.