Michael A. Scime

The Great Depression. One of America's most economically devastating events can be seen on a more personal note through John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath. The story of Tom Joad, his family, and his friends, allow the Great Depression to come to life. The settings are the greatest aspect of the movie, without them the movie would not be nearly as powerful. The new technology and programs depicted in the movie help explain the terrible events as well. And we mustn't overlook the overall attitudes of the characters involved in the novel. These three items make The Grapes of Wrath a very good example of the impact the Great depression left on the early twentieth century America.
The setting is the most influential part of the movie. The first thing we see as the movie opens is a close-up of the desolate land that can no longer be farmed. You later see all the farm houses abandoned. The work camps in California are another example of how these low class workers were forced to survive. Without the powerful settings, The Grapes of Wrath would not have been half the movie that it is.
The new technology and government programs are a second huge impact on the movie. For example, the Caterpillar tractors were a huge envy for the men who formally plowed fields. The tractors could plow the fields in a quarter of the time as the men. Consequently, the men all lost their jobs. It was very important to the movie that the Government programs for these poor workers was displayed. It shows how little the Government was involved with the welfare of the citizens. The children's reaction to the indoor toilets shows just how little these people had been exposed to technology. Steinbeck did a wonderful job of using the modern technology to help explain the cause of the Great Depression.
The final way Steinbeck described the Great Depression in the movie was through the characters overall attitudes with one another. For example, the driver that picked up Tom Joad in the beginning shows how people of the same social class helped each other whenever possible. The way the bank owners ultimately repossessed farm houses from these families showed the other side to the story. The upper class people would do whatever it took to stay afloat, even if that meant stepping on the little people.
The United States's most devastating stock market crash in history has been accurately portrayed in John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath. Using great settings, technology, and the overall attitude of the early 1900's, Steinbeck hits the nail on the head with his story. If your in the market for a personable account of the Great Depression, look no farther than The Grapes of Wrath.