Our second paper is an analysis of John Steinbeck’s The Harvest Gypsies.
This will be a paper of approximately five pages in length. Some questions you will want to entertain include the following: 1. How did Steinbeck find out about the plight of the “Okies” and conditions at the camps? How did this research affect his subsequent writing career? 2. How are Okie migrant workers different, and the same, from previous and current migrant worker groups in California?
3. How do local Californians view these workers? 4. Steinbeck quotes someone who says that “the success of California agriculture requires that we create and maintain a peon class” (p. 23). Is this person right, or not? 5. What difficulties do migrant workers in California face in terms of housing, pay, working conditions and health care? How are conditions in government camps different from conditions in camps established by private growers?
6. Who does Steinbeck blame for the plight of these workers, and what recommendations does he make? These questions are provided to get you thinking about this book, and not as a suggestion for how to organize your paper. I am interested in the arguments that you have to make about this material, but as always the best arguments will present supporting evidence–in this case with quotes and references to the text itself. Plot summaries should be avoided except as necessary to get to your analysis. Since we are all using the same edition of this work, when alluding to the text either directly or indirectly use parentheses and a page number to show where this came from: (p. 27), for example.