The Grapes of Wrath - Glossary of Cultural References

Setting | Character SummariesPlot Synopsis | Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts | Major Themes


Akron Rubber Strike: The 1936 protest began when Goodyear Tires issued layoffs in conjunction with increasing the workday to eight hours and decreasing wages. An estimated 10,000 workers joined the picket line on the strike’s second day. A month in, Goodyear reinstated the laid-off employees and returned to six-hour shifts.

Geronimo (1829-1909): Native American war chief responsible for attacks on Mexicans and Americans in the Southwest, prompting a military campaign against him in the late 1800s.

William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951): Newspaper magnate who built a castle on 240,000 acres of land in San Simeon, California.

1930s bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd“Pretty Boy” Floyd: Outlaw who committed bank robberies and murders in the Midwest and Southern states. Floyd was at one point considered the FBI’s Public Enemy No. 1, and was killed by policemen during a 1934 shootout. 

Teapot Dome Scandal: The 1920s political scandal involved Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior under the Harding administration, who was convicted of accepting bribes so that oil companies could lease Navy oil reserves without going through the competitive bidding process.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake: A book of poems, composed between 1790 and 1793, which imitate biblical prophecy and reveal Blake’s personal beliefs. The line “every thing that lives is Holy” can be found here and in Blake’s America, a Prophecy.


Setting | Character SummariesPlot Synopsis | Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts | Major Themes