Literary Conflict in The Grapes of Wrath

Literary Conflict in The Grapes of Wrath
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Grapes of Wrath Lesson Plans

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

Why does a novel from 1939 about a migrant family in search of work during the Great Depression still resonate with readers in the 21st century? The answer is simple: look around. After the recession of 2008, this story maintains its relevance, especially with many students whose parents lost their jobs and/or careers as a result of the 2008 crash. The universal themes of the pursuit of the American Dream, perseverance, and the struggle against injustice, are still found in many aspects of American life today. As a result, The Grapes of Wrath has been hailed as one of the defining novels of American literature.

Grapes of Wrath

Storyboard Description

The Grapes of Wrath Literary Conflict

Storyboard Text

  • MAN vs MAN
  • MAN vs SELF
  • Let's all work together for our own thing-- all farm our own lan'!
  • The locals feel threatened by the wave of migrants coming into their communities. When the Joads leave Hooverville, they are confronted by an angry crowd of men who swarm the truck. The Joads are forced to turn around, saying, “We ain't gonna have no goddamn Okies in this town.”
  • Tommy doesn’t feel like he fits in. His family has been uprooted, and is in a part of the country with no work or opportunities. He wishes he could do more to help his family. Tommy finds his calling after Casey’s death, but it takes a lot of internal struggling to arrive at this conclusion.
  • Tommy stands up for migrant workers, even in the face of the wealthy farmers taking advantage of them. The communities try to control this influx of migrant workers by calling those who demand fair wages “communists”. In reality, they are calling attention to the criminal practices of wealthy farmers, and fighting for a wage that will support their families.
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