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In the movie and or novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck approaches and takes on, many political and social problems that the depression held. One topic that seems to be overlooked is how the storyline has many examples of economic forces at work in the film.
One of these economic forces, which are also one of the most apparent, in the film is the message of unemployment. At the opening of the film the family of the grapes of wrath are faced with eviction from their farm home; which is due mostly because of the dust bowl as well as the great depression.
The family, out of work, decides to travel cross-country with the hopes of finding a job as migrant workers, only to find that a hiring ploy had been pulled, which made this next economic force apparent to the family.
This next economic force at work in the story is supply and demand. The hard pressed family soon after arriving in California realized that the demand for jobs far exceeded the supply, thus sending them from farm to farm, looking for work.
Although this example of supply and demand is not applied to consumers and goods, this example still shows the economic force of supply and demand at work and how it affected the family.
The last of the economic forces at work in the film that I will mention is the economic force of labor. Labor, by definition is; the physical and mental effort of humans used to produce goods and services.
In the movie, this is exactly what the many hopeful workers hoped to do in California, making a desperate trek from the Midwest of the United States, to the farms, vineyards, and orchards of the west coast, trying to overcome the previous economic forces of unemployment, and supply and demand for jobs to raise their income and standard of living to a point where one could survive.
Sadly, John Steinbeck isn’t one for happy endings, concluding on a light point of hope and insight amidst surrounding sadness and distraught. The analysis of this novel/movie as in the standards of economic forces is insulting to this great piece of American literature, defacing it’s deep underlying messages given in the last chapter (or scene) through intense “biblical” imagery, that show an account of humanity and humanity’s perseverance to survive and succeed.
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