The young Steinbeck had spent summers working with migrant workers on sugar beet farms, where he observed harshness of their lives and witnessed the darker side of human nature, as well as the strong sense of community that enabled the migrants to survive. In 1936 he researched and wrote “Harvest Gypsies,” a series of articles about the migrant plight for the San Francisco News. His deep, personal knowledge of this material, his sympathy and respect for the migrant families, and his growing anger about the indifference of the industrialists in their abuse of the land and willful destruction of people’s lives birthed The Grapes of Wrath, a story that would resonate throughout the world.


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