The Grapes of Wrath

Context

Overview

The Grapes of Wrath CoverSeventy five years ago, The Grapes of Wrath secured its place as one of the most famous novels in the entire American literary canon. The final piece of Steinbeck's labor trilogy—following In Dubious Battle (1936) and Of Mice and Men (1937)—The Grapes of Wrath was written between March and October of 1938; it was an instant bestseller. The Grapes of Wrath, which has been translated into dozens of languages, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature, and played an important role in Steinbeck winning the Nobel Prize in 1962.

Inspiration came from the 1937 documentary short "The Plow That Broke the Plains" and Steinbeck's experiences researching and writing a series of San Francisco News articles called "The Harvest Gypsies." Steinbeck witnessed labor struggles as large numbers of migrants arrived in California, and he had the opportunity to tour labor camps and interview migrant families. In the winter of 1938, Steinbeck saw firsthand the miserable conditions brought on by intense flooding in Visalia, CA.

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