During the Dust Bowl, hundreds of thousands of southerners faced many hardships, which is the basis of the novel called The Grapes of Wrath. John Steinback wrote this fiction novel to portray the harsh conditions during the Dust Bowl. However, is the portrayal of the Dust Bowl in The Grapes of Wrath valid? When one considers the merit of this novel, one thinks, how can Americans treat other Americans so horribly.
After reviewing American History, the mistreatment of the “Okies” in The Grapes of Wrath can be concluded as being valid. After slavery, blacks were terribly treated. During the Civil War, Americans were divided. During the Red Scare, Americans mistrusted other Americans. These three different periods of U.S. history display how Americans can treat fellow Americans so cruelly.
African Americans were terribly treated after slavery. Although they were Americans just like the whites, many of the whites hated them because they were different. One example of mistreatment of the African Americans was segregation, which was the division of local places by race. The blacks were thought to be so “dirty”, and the whites were scared of them. The whites did not want the blacks to mix with the whites. Public areas such as schools were segregated so the blacks and whites went to different schools. It was like the whites wanted to rid the U.S. of the blacks.
In The Grapes of Wrath, the Californians wanted to rid the “dirty” Okies from California because they were afraid of them. They were afraid that the Okies would take their land. Blacks were also beaten for no just reason. Racial group such as the KKK, beat up blacks because they hated the blacks. They wanted the blacks to go away or die. In The Grapes of Wrath, Okies were unjustly beaten. The California police beat them for no just reason because they wanted the Okies to leave the state.
The police killed Casey for no just reason. They killed him just because they thought the was a Okie fighting for more rights. The Californians did not like the Okies even though they were Americans, just like how the Blacks were not liked by the whites, even though they were Americans. White mistreatment of African Americans was not the only Americans mistreatment of Americans; there was also the infamous Red Scare.
The Red Scares is another situation in which Americans mistreated Americans. In this period of U.S. history, there was a scare that communism would spread in the U.S.. Therefore, many suspected communists were deported from the U.S.. The non-communists hated communism, and thought it was an inferior and barbaric form of government. In The Grapes of Wrath, the Californians wanted the inferior and barbaric Okies out of the state. The Red Scare, like the Civil war, was a time when Americans mistreated Americans.
The Civil war is another period in U.S. history where Americans mistreated each other. During the Civil War, the North wanted to outlaw slavery in the U.S.. However, the South wanted to keep slavery because it increased their economy. The North then went to war against the South. They killed each other in battles. Although the mistreatment of Okies was not this extreme in The Grapes of Wrath, the Civil War shows how cruel Americans can be towards each other.
One would think that the portrayal of the Dust Bowl in The Grapes of Wrath is false, because Americans could not mistreat and be so cruel to fellow Americans. Other periods in U.S. history shows that Americans could mistreat fellow Americans. Periods in history where the Americans mistreated each other were the Red Scare, Civil War, and racism against African Americans. The Californians felt violated by their fellow Americans, just like in all the other situations where Americans mistreated their own.