John Steinbeck.The Grapes of Wrath. NY: Viking, 1939. 473 pages.
My grandfather was a socialist.
I am not. However, I cannot be harsh in my judgment of his political leanings. He knew hunger, real hunger. I have not. He had to struggle with the fact that he could not feed his children. I have known my share of difficulties, but so far I have always been able to put nutritious food in front of my children.
I recently read The Grapes of Wrath. It is a classic. There is not much that I can say about it’s literary worthiness, its creative style, or its cultural influence that has not already been said by tens of thousands of other readers.
Nevertheless, I can say that it helped me to better understand my own family. I know that probably sounds a little weird. However, vicariously walking and struggling alongside the Joads in the pages of The Grapes of Wrath helped me to better appreciate the struggles of my own family with hunger, joblessness, loss, and self-image.
So, I can say that The Grapes of Wrath is probably one of the best works of literature I have ever read. And, in so far at it nurtured a greater understanding of, and appreciation for my parents and grandparents, it is one of the most important books I have ever read.
I recommend it, but with a HUGE caveat. The book has much language that I believe to be dishonoring to God. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.