| L’Heureux, Conrad E. “Life’s Journey and The Grapes of Wrath.” University of Dayton
Review 23.3 (1996): 89-97.
Contends that it is helpful to think of The Grapes of Wrath in terms of Joseph Campbell’s
“monomyth” pattern, which L’Heureux defines and diagrams. Demonstrates that the Joads
receive a call, in the form of handbills, to leave their home, they face many trials in their
journey to California and meet helpers along the way, and they finally attain their journey’s
goal by realizing their place in a larger community
Rucklin, Christine. “Steinbeck’s ‘Odyssey’: A Reconsideration of Homer’s Epic.”
Classical and Modern Literature: A Quarterly 17.2 (1997): 171-177.
Explains that critics have long noted similarities between The Grapes of Wrath and the
Odyssey, but there has been no in-depth study comparing the two works before this article.
Shows that Steinbeck was well acquainted with the works of Homer by citing Robert
DeMott’s Steinbeck’s Readings. Asserts that Steinbeck used the myth of Tantalus to
frame the novel and that he used inversion and parody of passages from the Odyssey to
further his plot.
- - -. “Steinbeck and the Philosophical Joad.” Steinbeck Newsletter 10.1 (1997): 11-13.
Suggests a link between Steinbeck’s use of the name Joad and the British philosopher
Cyril Joad. Proves that Ed Ricketts owned Joad’s Guide to Philosophy, and Steinbeck
may have borrowed the book from him or may have been influenced by Ricketts’ discussion
of the book. Shows similarities between The Grapes of Wrath and Joad’s philosophy,
including the concept of history in both.
- - -. “Steinbeck and Harold Bell Wright: A Few Parallel Occurrences.” Steinbeck
Newsletter 11 (1998): 1-3.
Notes that Steinbeck makes reference to Wright’s The Winning of Barbara Worth in East
of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. States that Wright’s novel and Grapes have a similar
structure, are concerned with the masses, and use historical connections.
Shindo, Charles. “The Perfectibility of Man: John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath.”
Dust Bowl Migrants in the American Imagination. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1997.
Examines the educative function of The Grapes of Wrath. Demonstrates that Steinbeck’s
audience for the novel was the literate, middle class, and that he, even though he had some
similarities to the migrant workers, was a member of the middle class. By looking at
Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, and “Harvest Gypsies,” shows how Steinbeck’s writing
evolved into a conviction that “education and understanding might lead to human perfection.”
Asserts that the goal of Grapes was to teach this middle class an understanding of the
migrants’ situation, thereby providing an impetus for change.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath: Text and Criticism. The Viking Critical Lib.
Ed. Peter Lisca. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin, 1997.
Is divided into four sections: text, “The Social Context,” “The Creative Context,” and
“Criticism.” “The Social Context” includes two essays that discuss the conditions depicted
in the novel and reactions to the novel in Oklahoma. “The Creative Context” consists of
two essays that describe the conditions under which the novel was written and a letter
from Steinbeck that expresses his intentions in writing the novel. “Criticism” features ten
previously published articles, presented in chronological order, and Lisca’s account of
the pattern of criticism. Also includes maps, a Steinbeck chronology, topics for discussion,
and a selected bibliography.
Teisch, Jessica B. “From the Dust Bowl to California: The Beautiful Fraud.”
Midwest Quarterly 39 (1998): 153-72.
Situates The Grapes of Wrath and other novels (such as Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!
and Douglas Unger’s Leaving the Land) and short stories in the history of the agriculture
of the Midwest and California from the early nineteenth century to the present. Examines
the settlement of the land, tenancy of farms, land consolidations of the 1930’s, New Deal
farm programs, Dust Bowl migration to California, and corporate farming. Explores the
effects of large-scale irrigation and technology on the land and the people who worked
the land. Warns that another Dust Bowl could occur.
Wiener, Gary, ed. Readings on The Grapes of Wrath. Greenhaven Press Lit.
Companion to Amer. Lit. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1999.
Designed for young adults to provide an introduction to literary analysis and criticism.
Features nineteen previously published essays on the making of the novel, major themes,
techniques, and the reception and continuing relevance of the novel. Each essay is chosen
for easy accessibility and is edited for comprehension at a young adult level. Also includes
a short biography, a chronology, a list of major works by Steinbeck, and suggestions for
Grapes of Wrath Criticism