The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

A very powerful book that will change the way you think about migrants/refugees/the poor. I thought I had a socialist bent, I thought I was a person sensitive to these things. This book magnified my socialism/humanism by 100.

When we are divided out as millions of individuals, we are weak, and will be taken advantage of and abused by the powerful. If we stick together, take care of each other, stand up for each other, care for each other… we have the power.

It has been said a million times, but to hear it said is something other than really understanding it. And I think.. maybe I understand it now.


Why do we hate the poor?

The plight of the Joads in this story makes me think of how we treat refugees, homeless people, and any other needy people in this country. The family in this story has been kicked off their farm by the corporation that owns it, and along with thousands of other families is fleeing across the country to California, where everyone has been told there is work to be had.

When they get there, though, everyone treats them like villains, looks down on them, tries to get them to move on, or just tries to exploit them for money or cheap labor.

It sounds really familiar to how we treat immigrants and refugees today. But in this story, the people even treat other American’s that way!

Why do we look down on people in need? Refugees and immigrants and homeless folk have gone through hell to get where they are, and then we spit on them and turn our backs. Why? Why do we put spikes on the ground so homeless cant sleep? Why do we remove all the benches from cities and kick people out of their tents and make it illegal to sleep in a car? They have it hard enough not having a home, but we’ve got to go out of our way to spend time and effort to make it worse for them? Is it human nature to be shit to each other? To distrust and hate someone who is at the worst, hardest point in their life?

Sometimes humanity disgusts me.