“They’re not afraid of the book; they’re

afraid of the ideas,”

Published on the 14th of April, 1939 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was an ‘American realist’ novel well ahead of its time. It is hugely relevant in today’s exploitive capitalist and corporation centric society. Although it won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Grapes of Wrath was banned and burned in a number of places on the basis of it being a “libel and lie.”

It enraged the upper class, within a few weeks of its release, which was so thoroughly critiqued in this novel about the hardships of lower class life. Set amongst the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath was accused of harboring pro-Communist and of goading the masses towards riots and revolutions. Steinbeck was severely criticized for his portrayal of the brutal conditions of the Depression and was branded a socialist for his beliefs.

It, however, stands out in its relevance today, despite being written almost a century ago. Steinbeck, in a note to Adlai Stevenson (an American politician) wrote:

“Someone has to re inspect our system and that soon. We can’t expect to raise our children to be good and honorable men when the city, the state, the government, the corporations all offer higher rewards for chicanery and deceit than probity and truth. On all levels it is rigged, Adlai. Maybe nothing can be done about it, but I am stupid enough and naively hopeful enough to want to try. How about you?”