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2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 11:35am - 11:55am
Disenfranchisement And Displacement: American Migration And The Search For The American Dream In John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath'

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A writer of twenty-seven novels published between 1929 and 1961, John Steinbeck based many of his works on his childhood experiences growing up in the quiet town of Salinas, California. Many of his stories focus on social and economic issues, drawing on themes such as roles in family and community, companionship, and the pursuit of happiness. In the third novel of his Dust Bowl Trilogy, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Steinbeck chronicles the lives of the fictional Joad family after they have been uprooted and disenfranchised due to the effects of the economic and environmental tragedies known as the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. With no other choice but to migrate west toward California from their home in Oklahoma, the Joads experience various struggles such as illnesses, deaths, and the abandonment of various members of their family. The American Dream is represented as a symbol to the Joads as they strive toward a better future for themselves; however, by the end of the novel, there is little evidence that the family will ever achieve such a dream. In my project I argue that, while often times the American Dream is thought to consist of external materialistic ideals, Steinbeck depicts it as a sense of internal hope for each of his characters.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 11:35am - 11:55am
232 Karpen Hall

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