Friday, September 26, 2014

The Grapes of Wrath Part 1

So, I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Whoopdee freakin' doo. That's not sarcasm, it's a really awesome book so far. Before I start actually talking about the book, I have to share a story about my personal experience with it. It's short, don't worry. So, I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and they had no idea what it was about, and when I asked them if they knew what it was about, their response was, "Angry Grapes."

This is not what the book is about. Not in the slightest.

The book takes place after the great depression and during the dust bowl, from what I've gathered, and it centers on Tom Joad Jr. Mostly. Steinbeck(the author) will often take a whole chapter to talk about something else, like a turtle, or a used car salesman, or something like that. But the main character is Tom Joad. Now, Tom Joad isn't someone who most people would want to associate with, because he killed a man and went to prison for it. He got parole for good behavior, and decided to go home to his family, and that's where the story begins. He gets a ride with a truck driver and talks to him about life. Then he gets off the truck, and starts moving on foot. Then a turtle's movements are described in great detail. Then Joad picks up the turtle and puts it in his back, and continues on. In the time that Joad spent in prison, a lot changed in the place he lived. The bank, which is often referred to as "The Monster" in the book, has totally jacked up where Joad used to live, and the surrounding areas. They did this by kicking people out of their houses and fracturing their farmland to make "better" use of it. This part of the book really made me think, because I do believe that the monster is making an overall better use out of the land, but I feel bad for the families that are getting forced to leave their home and lose just about everything they own.

Joad continues on towards home, and meets a man named Reverend Casy, who is actually and ex-reverend, along the way. Casy is probably my favorite character from the book so far. He has some pretty good thoughts and views on things, and I find his old situation funny. He would get people so full of "the sperit" as he calls it, which was in reference to getting people riled up about God and whatnot, and he would end up getting it on with some woman who got over excited. Then he would feel bad about it. Then he would do it again later. Casy ended up questioning his religion, and that put him where he is in the story. Casy joins Joad and they keep heading towards Joad's home.

Before I move on in the story, I would like to talk about Tom Joad Jr. I have mixed feelings about him. The negative feelings I have towards him primarily stem from the fact that he is a country bumpkin, and I really don't like that kind of person. At all. Like, I'll go out of my way to avoid anyone who wears overalls and is missing teeth. But despite that, and despite the fact that he was in prison for murder, Joad is a very likable character. That's it really. He's kind, and seems to think of other people's happiness as much as his own, considering he picked up a turtle with the intent of giving it to his younger siblings as a pet. And he did that almost immediately after getting out of prison. To me, that's the sign of a righteous dude.

Joad and Casy eventually make it to the Joad residence, or what's left of it. It was one of the aforementioned places who had it's owners booted out and it's farmland tractored. So, it's kind of in shambles. Joad and Casy go into the house and see what's left of the inside, remembering some of the events that took place when the house was still in good condition. This included talking about how Joad family pig ate the neighbor's baby, and about Tom's badass grandpa who took a pillow from a guy while he was on vacation and never gave it back. After looking around, the two men see a resident of another nearby house, Muley Graves. The men talk, and Muley tells Joad and Casy what happened. They eat a dinner of freshly caught rabbits, and sleep outside.

The next chapter is one of the chapters that doesn't focus on the adventures of Tom Joad, but instead on a used car salesmen who describes how to swindle people who have lost their homes into buying terrible cars. A method for this was putting sawdust into old crappy transmissions so they wouldn't make noise. I hate to say it, but I feel like I would be a person pulling stuff like this if I were a character in this book.

At the point I'm at in the book right now, the men are moving towards where the Joad family is staying. During this chapter we find out that Joad's uncle John's wife died and he feels responsible, and he is a kind and generous man because of it.

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