The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
Contributed by Vernita Mires
Chapter 27

Those who want to pick cotton must first purchase a bag before they can make money. The men who weigh the cotton fix the scales to cheat the workers. On account of the growing industrialization of agriculture, the introduction of a cotton-picking machine seems inevitable.


Steinbeck here exposes several additional sources of fraud in the farming system. The owners who hire the cotton pickers seem intent on making sure that the pickers receive lower compensation than they deserve, and place these laborers in initial debt by making them pay for cotton bags beforehand. The system is made to maximize profit, no matter the cost to the worker. The only solution that the workers have is confrontation: they must stand up to the men who weigh the cotton and actively ensure that they are paid fairly.

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