[Report Abuse]
[Login to Blog] timeontarget's Blog
Leonard Pitts Jr./GRAPES OF WRATH
Last comment by timeontarget 1 year ago.

Take Me To Post Comment Form

Leonard Pitts Jr. Miami Herald

This Leonard Pitts Jr. column was published in the Savannah Morning News yesterday. I enjoyed it and some of you might also.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Grapes of Wrath' resonates 75 years later


It was an angry book. Much of the response was angry, too. Some towns banned it, some towns burned it. Every town talked about it.

"The Grapes of Wrath" was published 75 years ago this month, a seminal masterpiece of American literature that seems freshly relevant to this era of wealth disparity, rapacious banks and growing poverty.

John Steinbeck introduced readers to the Joads, a poor, proud clan of Depression-era Oklahoma farmers who set out for the promised land of California in a rickety truck after their own land dries up and blows away and the bank seizes what little is left.

Perhaps you remember from English class -- or the 1940 film starring Henry Fonda -- what happens next, how misfortune piles on misfortune and loss piles on loss, the promises of the promised land receding like a wave from shore.

Perhaps you remember how Tom Joad, the decent everyman, becomes radicalized with the realization of how heavily the deck is stacked against him and his.

Perhaps you remember what he promises his mother as he prepares to flee after killing a brutal strikebreaker in blind fury.

"Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.

Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. ... I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad an' I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready.

An' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build -- why, I'll be there."

The anger of John Steinbeck's novel, its litany of indignity and unfairness, galvanized a national dialogue on poverty and the exploitation of workers that reached even into the White House, where Eleanor Roosevelt was inspired to visit a migrant laborers camp to see the conditions for herself.

Seventy-five years later, in the wake of the worst economic catastrophe since that time, one is glad to hear faint echoes of the novel's anger in a population that has seemed docile and somnambulant even as the American Dream was being dismantled around them.

One is gratified by the Occupy movement, unfocused as it was, that sprang up three years ago, by the chanting of fast-food workers demanding a living wage, by the lacerating fury of a Bruce Springsteen song.

"Send the robber barons straight to h--l, the greedy thieves who came around and ate the flesh of everything they found," he growls in 2012's "Death to My Hometown."

These are the sounds and actions of people waking up. Steinbeck would likely approve.

The final pages of his book find the Joads reduced to almost nothing, pushed out, flooded out, family members dying, others just gone. Then daughter Rosasharn goes into labor. The baby is stillborn.

"Never breathed ... never was alive."

But there is always someone who has it worse and, sheltering from the flood in someone's barn, the Joads meet him, a man so shriveled by hunger he can't take solid food.

Rosasharn, her breasts heavy with milk her dead baby will never use, knows what she must do.

Viewed from the perch of an I-got-mine era, a let-'em-eat-cake era, a bling era where net worth equals self-worth and the denigration of the poor is a staple of cable TV news, the thing she does may seem confounding.

Which says less about it than about us, and the lost ideal of common humanity.

But it is precisely that ideal Steinbeck insists upon, and that insistence resonates even across a gulf of 75 years.

Huddled in a borrowed shelter, Rosasharn draws the dying man to her. She cradles this stranger and nurses him. Reduced to only her body, only her self, she gives that.

It is a lesson for then, for now, forever.

We are human beings.

There is one comfort we're meant to have even when we have nothing else.

Each other.

Leonard Pitts Jr. The Miami Herald
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
TOT is proud to copy and share on the Courier blog site


Latest Activity: Apr 25, 2014 at 7:46 AM


Bookmark and Share
Forward This Blog
Print Blog
More Blogs by timeontarget
Send timeontarget a Message
Report Abuse


Blog has been viewed (430) times.

timeontarget commented on Saturday, Apr 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

It is a lesson for then, for now, forever.

We are human beings.

There is one comfort we're meant to have even when we have nothing else.

Each other.

Leonard Pitts Jr. The Miami Herald


Log In to post comments.

Previous blog entries by timeontarget
 
Get the Latest from Best of Cain
May 19, 2015
Get the Latest from Best of Cain Cain's Commentary //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 'Spontaneous Uprising' According to documents released Monday, Hillary Clinton (as well as other top federal officials) received a striking amount of intel within hours of the Benghazi attacks. The memos, which were obtained via a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit, indicate ...
Read More »
 
Hope By: Dr. Ben Carson
May 13, 2015
Dr. Ben Carson BY: Dr. Ben Carson Hope Hope is a very powerful thing that can not be measured by the dollars in your pocket or the cars in your garage. It is an abstract concept of aspiring for something more or better in one’s life; a wish, expectation, or ...
Read More »
 
OBAMA LEADS FROM BEHIND;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
May 12, 2015
Obama just got dissed big time by FOUR countries Written by Allen West on May 12, 2015 When you lead from behind there’s a certain part of other people’s anatomy that faces you. And it seems that due to the lack of moral clarity in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, ...
Read More »
 
On a Fast Track to National Ruin
May 08, 2015
On a Fast Track to National Ruin By Patrick J. Buchanan On a Fast Track to National Ruin Friday - May 8, 2015 In the first quarter of 2015, in the sixth year of the historic Obama recovery, the U.S. economy grew by two-tenths of 1 percent. And that probably ...
Read More »
 
Tear Down the GOP Establishment!
May 07, 2015
Tear Down the GOP Establishment! Post: Ben Carson: Tear Down the GOP Establishment! May 5, 2015 7:09 pm Tea Party (Newsmax) – Newly declared Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told Newsmax TV Tuesday that his goal is to tear down the GOP establishment that has thrown “torpedoes” at him ...
Read More »
 
[View More Blogs...]





 
Powered by
Morris Technology