The Grapes of Wrath portrays various sociological issues in thesociety. It attempts to bring to light the struggles endured by thepopulation that experienced drought during the great depression. Ituses the experiences of characters to the source of inequalities andsocial stratification. The poverty observed in the movie occurs to somany people due to the social inequality in the social arena thatleads to social stratification.
Inequality is a major social issue depicted in the movie. There aretwo different lives between the rich and those with meager resources.People live in concentrated areas while there are thousands of acreof land lying idle. The rich who control these lands have more thatthey require. While the landowners eat in peace, the poor have tofight to get something to eat. The struggle for food is due tolimited resources distributed over a big population. The effects ofthe dust bowl do not uniformly affect the population. In affirmingthe thesis statement, the source of this inequality is the socialstratification. There is s a class of the poor, the employers and theland owners. The latter two use their class to perpetuate inequality.For example, Joad works hard for a meager pay but he has to do so tofeed his family.
There is a significant level of inequality in land ownership thatexhibits uncontrolled capitalism. The sharecroppers trapped in thedust bowl that has engulfed America in the 1930s lost their land torich individuals who put up big plantations. Capitalism shows itselfwhereby, those who did not have the means to exploit the land had tosurrender it forcefully to those who had the means of exploiting it(Ford). Tom Joad is not content with the course of events, and heconsiders this an outright injustice whereby an individual controlledthousands of acres of productive while the majority anguished inhunger. As Joad tell Ma, “One guy with a million acres and ahundred thousand farmers starving” (Ford). The statements resonateintensified inequality that the former landowners have to endure. Theresult of uncontrolled capitalism creates sharp contrasts in thesocial stratification. It is an outright injustice if the thousandsof acres could only benefit one individual at the expense ofthousands of others.
Uncontrolled capitalism also manifests itself with the loss of thesmall-scale farmers’ self-rule to decide on what to plant. “Thetenant system”indicated in the film forcefully ended (Ford).Mulley describes that for every newcomer who settled on the land,fifteen locals in the tenant system were displaced. The inequality ofpower promotes the uncontrolled capitalism, and people had nowhere toturn.
In conclusion, The Grapes of Wrath presents social problems thataffected the victims of the bowl dust. Inequality became rampant dueto the creation of social classes that separated the rich and thepoor. Those who had resources used them to the disadvantage of thepoor. Uncontrolled capitalism is also a major theme whereby, thosewho has d the means to exploit large tracts of land forcefullyacquired it from the tenant farmers. One capitalist could displacemore than ten families. The film is a reflection of what happens whenthere is no control on people’s interest. Most people who have thecapacity might exploit others to their advantage.
Ford, John, dir. The Grapes of Wrath. 20th CenturyFox, 1940. Film.