Green Left Weekly
This year marks the 50th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s great mythic novel of alienation under US capitalism, Of Mice and Men. The story is of lonesome labourers, reeling from the Great Depression, wandering from farm to farm seeking respite from their endless oppression.
The enduring thrust of the Grapes of Wrath is the call to “be there,” to supply the missing response to the “imminent social change.” We see one answer today in the groundswell of support by ordinary people across Europe for welcoming and hosting the migrants, while their governments discuss quotas and border enforcement. But Steinbeck’s novel provokes other responses: a grasp of the meaning of home and homeland — and the trauma of being uprooted from them.
Subscribe to John Steinbeck
The Daily Beast
In the 75 years since novelist John Steinbeck published his masterpiece about the Okie migration, the towering Ma Joad has faded from archetype to anachronism. Ever since Steinbeck published his opus on the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants in 1939, readers have warmed to Ma as a paragon of folksy integrity - "an unforgettably vigorous figure, like Mother Courage without the corruption or rapacity," - and, more recently, praised her as a feminist icon...