"Families from other states exhausted all their resources to get here, selling even pots, blankets and everything they owned for fuel and getting to California to win a job that would give them food after fleeing the storms of drought."
"The dignity of everyone here has been squandered, their souls have been turned into clouds of muffled anger, about to die, many have lost loved ones, and many mothers have lost their children because they have no food to be able to breastfeed their children."
You may not have read this novel with its true events, but you certainly heard of it, Grapes of Wrath.
One June morning in 1936, inside the building of the liberal-oriented San Francisco newspaper, John Steinbeck entered the office of San Francisco newspaper editor George West to inform him about the new task he wanted to do: to travel to migrant workers' habitats and try to find out about their harsh conditions.
Steinbeck arrives in Kern County, then goes to the Arvin camp, where he meets farmers from whom he has heard enough details, some of whom told him that the work available is usually to harvest crops in exchange for a meal, while some landowners treated them with intransigence of another kind, as the prepared punishment is always the dismissal of workers after the end of the work without giving them any wages.
Steinbeck spends several days moving between the families living in those tents, talking to them, hearing from them what they tell in detail, holding his pen and writing down - insanely - every detail he hears from them, as it is without the need for difficult rhetorical formulations, what the workers and farmers told was painful enough to have the story he was looking to write.
Steinbeck publishes 6 lengthy articles about what happens in the farmers' camps, what they encounter from the landowners, and reveals the ugliness and injustice that take place there, but his eager soul was not satisfied with this role, and wanted something bigger.
American writer John Steinbeck, author of Grapes of Wrath, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 (Getty Images)
In March 1938, John Steinbeck begins writing his novel about the story of a family he met in Kern County shelters, drawing on the testimonies of the farmers who lived through it, to form the story of the Jude family.
A few days after the beginning of writing, he sends to his agent informing her that he has started working on the novel, telling her, "The suffering there is huge and horrible, this is the most tragic thing in the world; the pain squeezes my heart whenever I hear that the effort of one person is not enough to save these people, this is not like meeting a group of hungry children with little money in your pocket, what is happening there cannot be justified in any way, I want to attach shame and scandal to those greedy people in charge. about that."
It comes to the FBI, which decides to put Steinbeck under surveillance for a period of time, as many who know him in his hometown boycott him and refrain from dealing with him.
The events take place in the thirties of the last century, near the west coast of the United States of America before the America as we know it today, many states in that area became deserted full of desert and sand.
The natives of most states have disappeared to be replaced by immigrants who began to arrive from European and other countries, via huge immigration ships in a short time; hoping that the empty and fertile land of America will be the soil for the livelihood and wealth they are looking for, after hearing about California that it is the land of gold, and you can walk down the street and find pieces of gold under your feet.
At the same time, drought and sandstorms hit farmers' crops in Oklahoma, western Missouri and Arkansas, leaving them in a difficult state of poverty, and they decided to travel to California in search of work in the fields or where they could get food and some money.
The result that immigrants from abroad and farmers found was something other than what they heard and expected; the Great Depression hit the whole world, with America at its head, they were all disappointed and effortless, and no immigrant would be able to do anything but get a slave job enough to live alone, or say: enough to sustain his day at best.
Those who sought work in agriculture found arbitrary and harsh conditions from landowners who treated them as scum who came to eat their money, and they got to work with difficulty, and wages were barely enough for a meal or two during the day.
At that time, they formed something like workers' camps, next to the farmers who already live there, whose lives all turned in a short time into nomadic and moving from one place to another, in search of a stable place for food, work or agriculture.
Steinbeck sets himself up for only 100 days to finish the novel in which he will tell everything, hoping to shame them, and set himself to write 10,<> words every week so that he can finish the novel as soon as possible.
He overcomes his frustrations, fearing that he won't be skilled enough to write that novel that deserves to be told.
On October 26, he writes in his memoirs, "I feel like my head is collapsing and my eyes barely seeing, the novel is finally over, I hope it's good enough."
The novel is published as a flame of fire, spreading like wildfire in California, and selling more than 430,<> copies, so that the throne of the state's wealthy becomes threatened, so they decide to take revenge - in any way - on Steinbeck.
The peasants' union, which is owned by the state's wealthy, declares that the novel is nothing but a mass of fabricated lies, and they decide to burn it in public squares in front of peasants and workers, considering its author a communist instigating against the state, while some government institutions decided to ban the ownership of the novel, and to ban its publication or circulation.
Fear seeps into Steinbeck's heart; ironically, the novel turned him into one of the richest novel writers at the time, but he fears that the day will come when he will have to carry a firearm to protect himself from death threats.
It even comes to the FBI, which decides to put Steinbeck under surveillance for a period of time, and many who know him in his hometown boycott him and refrain from dealing with him.
By the end of 1940, the novel turns into a movie, succeeding in making fabulous profits, winning the admiration of many at the time, and winning several Academy Awards.
Steinbeck's life changed to become almost the most famous American novelist of the period, and he later wrote several books and novels.
Didn't I tell you: no power can defeat the true word?