Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reading Journal: The Grapes of Wrath

Just read this for the first time, which is a little embarrassing for an English major.  Shhh.  Don't tell.  

And it is so good.  So good.  It rocked my world the way The Good Earth rocked my world.

I was telling my mom that it I thought it was beautiful and Abe remarked, "That isn't the word I would use for it!" So I amended with, "well, it's beautifully....earthy."

The Grapes of Wrath is full of insights into the human condition, written with flawless, descriptive, warming language, and peopled with sweet, honest, simple, and wise characters.  

My heart broke for the hopeless circumstances that so many good, hard-working people found themselves in during the Depression, circumstances that no amount of work and effort could mitigate. The book helped provide insight to me for the reasons behind legal regulations regarding workers' rights and minimum wage laws.  It was also a reminder of how easy it is to justify ourselves in allowing others to suffer.
Some of my favorite quotes....

The preacher said, "She looks tar'd."
"Women's always tar'd," said Tom.  "That's just the way women is."

"I figgered about the Holy Sperit and the Jesus road, I figgered, 'Why do we got to hang it on God or Jesus?  Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love, maybe that's the Holy Sperit-- the human sperit-- the whole shebang.  Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of.'  Now I sat there thinkin' it, an' all of a suddent-- I know it.  I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it."  - The Preacher.

"When you're young, ever'thing that happens is a thing all by itself.  It's a lonely thing.  You're gonna have a baby, Rosasharn, and that's somepin to you lonely and away.  That's gonna hurt you, an' the hurt'll be lonely hurt, an' this here tent is alone i the worl', Roshasharn.  They's a time of change, an when that comes, dyin' is a piece of all dyin', and bearing' is a piece of all bearin', and bearin' and dyin' is two pieces of the same thing.  An' then things ain't so lonely anymore.  An' then they don't hurt so bad."  -Ma

"If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do'll make him feel rich-- not rich like Mis' Wilson was when she give her tent when Grampa died.  I ain't tryin' to preach no sermon, but I never seen nobody that's busy as a prairie dog collectin' stuff that wasn't disappointed."  -The Preacher

"When I was a little girl I use' ta sing.  Folks roun' about use' ta say I sung as nice as Jenny Lind.  Folks use' ta come an 'listen when I sung.  An'-- when they stood-- an' me a singin', why, me an' them was together more'n you could ever know.  I was thankgful.  There ain't so many folks can feel so full up, so close, an' them folks standing there an' me a-singin'.  An'-- that's why I wanted you to pray.  I wanted to feel that clostness, oncet more.  It's the same thing, singin' an' prayin', jus' the same thing.  I wisht you could a-heerd me sing."  - Mrs. Wilson

"Sure I got sins.  Every'body got sins.  A sin is somepin you ain't sure about.  Them peopel that's sure about ever'thing an' ain't got no sin-- well, with that kind of aon-of-a-bitch, if I was God I'd kick their ass right outa heaven!  I couldn't stand 'em."  -The Preacher

"If you think it was a sin-- then it's a sin.  A fella builds his own sins right up from the groun'."  -The Preacher


blakecgriffin said...

I have never read anything by John Steinbeck. Ashamed. But you did make me want to read this!

Meagan Elguera said...

LOVE Steinbeck, but admit I too have yet to read this classic! Maybe I'll start today.


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