Perhaps one of the most studied and discussed novels of the twentieth century, The Grapes of Wrath was to win the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and propel Steinbeck toward his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
During the Great Depression thousands of tenant farmers lost their livelihood in Oklahoma due to a swath of terrible events - drought, economic collapse, bank foreclosures - and one family, the Joads, made their way to California, investing all they have in the journey believing a better life to be ahead. Along the way they meet personal tragedy and find themselves in the company of so many whose lives have collapsed under them. In California they find the promises to which they clung to be false and to be disadvantaged in an overcrowded labour market. The Grapes of Wrath ends on a heartbreakingly hopeful note as the Joads prove that they can survive and rise above all that fate could throw at them.
Other authors have taken inspiration from Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley
Come Again No More by Jack Todd