Custom «The Grapes of Wrath» Essay Paper Sample

The Grapes of Wrath

The 1930s during the era of great depression which followed the clash of 1929 forms the backdrop for this book. The novel, perhaps one of the best in American literature paints a picture of the effects of the great depression of the 1930s. The novel makes a critical commentary on the lives and times of the people during this period – ironically, the same people who changed residence from one state to another.

The depression portrayed in the book represents the suffering of every individual in American society at the time, a society free from class distinctions and without restraint to individual freedom and social mobility. The writer demonstrates how American individuals are trying to use have equal opportunity as in American dream to create material wealth, success, and achievement of his or her dreams. The writers pursues this theme single-mindedly, blind to the reality that ultimately depression caused unhappiness.

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Methodology/theoretical underpinning

Scientific researchers agree that research methods of any type are the backbone of all the valid research investigation regardless of the choice of inquiry. Gelo, Braakmann and Benetka (2008) assent that the basis of any research and investigation is how the researcher thinks and views the world; thus, determining the formulation of the researcher’s approach. It is a fact that there is an ongoing endless debate about which research method is better; but it is important to the scientific research community to expound on the validity of every research method. Multiple views and perspectives are not only expected but appreciated within the research body. It is the very nature of each research method to offer a unique perspective on thinking, examining and conducting research. Yoshikawa, Weisner, Kalil and Way (2008) reflect the same sentiment. They claim that multiple forms of research are essential in understanding the dynamics and the fundamental development of the topic being investigated.

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Historically, quantitative research has its underpinnings from the positivistic paradigm which stems from a tradition. This places significant confidence and value into a research method that is controlled, objective and replicable. These elements strengthen the reliability and validity of the research (Walker, 2005). The terminology positivism has a very long history that can be traced back to the 1500s literary work, authored by Francis Bacon. However, the person most noted for its popularity in the scientific community was Auguste Comete (Crotty, 2007).

Quantitative research helps mold, shape, and narrow the focus of the study (Creswell, 2003). Narrowing the focus of the study directs the researcher to one of the three quantitative research designs to choose from. The research designs are co-relational, experimental or descriptive. All the three of these quantitative research designs possess the ability to quickly and easily summarize and standardize large amounts of data once the constructs and variables are already coded correctly. Thus, it is an effortless ability to analyze and summarize large data quantities as it is to analyze small data quantities (Green & Hall, 1984).

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On the other hand, qualitative research is a naturalistic inquiry that collects and analyzes non-numerical information that captures a holistic view of the world (Yoshikawa et al, 2008; Gelo et al., 2008). Creswell (2003) defines qualitative research as an approach based on multiple experiences and meanings from individuals, with the objective of building or expounding a theory or pattern.

Qualitative research has its historical underpinnings from the constructionist paradigm. Constructionism is based upon the belief that understanding worldviews are not discovered through experiences of individuals, but is rather constructed through human interaction and engagement within the world. Constructionism is also noted to be possibly seen as the embodiment of epistemology, the understanding and explanation of how individuals interpret the world (Crotty, 2007).

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Conducting good research is never an easy task to accomplish, regardless of the chosen research method. There are different levels of resources that shall be taken into account when choosing a research method to use. This goes along with the time frame needed to complete the research. This section will briefly compare some of the basic similarities and differences among the quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods in research.

It is a must to discuss the basic and brief comparison on how settings of the quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods are being carried out. The quantitative research method is carried out in a controlled setting to reduce or eliminate outlier variables within the study. This results to a data that can be evaluated and standardized (Carr, 1994). The positivistic paradigm view is from the perspective that the world is objective and can be represented numerically (Gephart, 1999). In comparison, the qualitative research method is carried out in the natural environment of the participants, without any direct modification of the environmental setting (Crewell, 2003; Yeung, 2009). The worldview of qualitative research is that human beings construct their own reality. Lastly, the mixed research method is not restricted to a set of perspectives, unlike those of quantitative and qualitative methods. It employs the pragmatic paradigm belief of employing the approach, which will best assist the researcher in understanding the research study (Creswell, 2003).

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Summary of the story

The book grapes of wrath have its setting in America during the great depression. There is dustbowl disaster which makes Americans back their belonging and live to different sections to look for pasture and agricultural land in Central California. The book follows one family which has a son who is a protagonist the son kills a man and he is taken to prison. When the son comes out of prison and goes to the family firm he finds that is abandoned, he shocked because the former preacher who is accompanying him he has not informed him about this. However, an old family friend who lives alone comes to rescue of Joad. Later Joad learns that his family stays in a uncle’s house and they plan to move to the west. As they move towards the west they reach the west of California and they amazed with the green valleys of California. They decide to settle and makeshifts where they operate as a home and they start looking for a job. However, they realized that the land owners in California are paying nothing to the employees and they are protected by the law.

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As that one is not enough a contractor to the scenery and promises the migrants’ jobs but Floyd finds himself in trouble by wanting to know the contractors’ license. However since there is corruption in the area the contractor brings in a police officer and Floyd runs away as he is running away the police tries to shoot him and instead he shoots a woman. Casy beats up the [policeman and he is arrested by more policemen who are invited. This leaves Joad the protagonist alone


Many may criticize the writers for giving American farmers disparaging depictions in the novel, particularly in terms of how little they appeared in the story. Yet one cannot be certain as to the author’s intent without taking a pause and probing deeper. Steinbeck’s views are not necessarily his. Steinbeck may have intended to use Dustbowl disaster as a farcical to criticize or satirize the attitude of American authority. He may also be trying to illustrate that the American family are both ignorant and wise. He attempts to convey that the duality of human nature applies to both governing and governed.

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A reader who fails to place the novel in the context of the time would doubtless be enraged at how American farmers have been portrayed as witless, useless and unwise characters. But Steinbeck redeems himself when the reader begins to remove the outer layers to reveal the author's true intentions.

The narrative of book is a critical commentary on the suffering resulting from a blind pursuit of material wellbeing and great depression. Those who live in an area yearn to be like the rich and go to search for green pastures but are met with misfortune. The Dust Bowl’s own dream turns into a nightmare leading to his downfall. In this, the novel is timeless; as we find the same concerns resurface, even after nearly ninety years of its writing.

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In conclusion, the book explores the dilemma of common people who make wrong decisions in life. Farmer does not only convey the ignorant, but every opportunity to decide for the future. However, no one could be blame if these could not achieve betterment. The title emphasizes the Dustbowl because there is always a concept of pity among the American farmers. The decision is in the hands of each individual—it is for him to find out what is in store for him. Nevertheless, he or she could not blame anybody with his or her choice.

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