The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
Contributed by Vernita Mires
Chapter 29

The migrant families wonder how long the rain will last. The rain damages cars and penetrates tents. During the rain storms some people go to relief offices, but there are rules: one is required to live in California for a year before one can collect relief. The greatest terror has arrived --­ no work available for a stretch of three months. Hungry men crowd the alleys to beg for bread; a number of people die. Anger festers, causing sheriffs to swear in new deputies. There will be no work and no food.


The migrant workers must face yet another hardship, this one perhaps the worst of all. With the coming of the rains comes the end of the harvest season. The migrant workers face starvation, yet cannot receive any government relief. For Steinbeck, the treatment of these workers is not merely inhumane; such treatment is below even the treatment of livestock. Steinbeck's narrative makes the point that no farm owner would leave his horse to starve when it was not used. However, the farm owners are allowing starvation to afflict the migrant labor force.

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