John Steinbeck, a loyal and hardworking author, took upon himself the task of writing a novel that would change the lives of many American citizens. Steinbeck’s controversial novel, The Grapes of Wrath, sparked a state of terror that would soon affect his reputational status. Published in 1939, the novel told the story of a young family, the Joads, who took a journey across the country to find decent work in California. Steinbeck, being the author he is, included inter-chapters, which told the stories of many different people during that time. These people, as well as the Joads, struggled horribly. Before the creation of the novel, Steinbeck stated: “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects]. I’ve done my damnedest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags.” (Banned Books Awareness: “The Grapes of Wrath”) Accomplishing his goal, “many Americans were disgusted by how Steinbeck described the poor and accused him of exaggerating the conditions to make a political point.” (Banned Books Awareness: “The Grapes of Wrath”) The government of the United States began to accuse Steinbeck of communism, and attacked his social and political views. Most importantly, the Associated Farmers of California began to label The Grapes of Wrath as “communist propaganda.” (Banned Books Awareness: “The Grapes of Wrath”)The government, believing that they were committing the correct action, began to investigate John Steinbeck with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI, however, denied that Steinbeck was ever under investigation to begin with. On May 11, 1942, Steinbeck wrote a letter to the US Attorney General, Francis Biddle, complaining about the abundance of FBI surveillanc…
…inbeck defeated the irrational claims, and continued to spread his works and opinion. Terrified by this, many citizens and nations began to destroy the author’s reputation, and unsuccessfully obliterate his novels, letters, and other “communism endorsing” works.Works Cited
“The Grapes of Wrath.” Banned Books Awareness. Deep Forest Productions, 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
“The Big Read.” The Grapes of Wrath. National Endowment for the Arts, 2009. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
“John Steinbeck.” FBI Records: The Vault. Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Fensch, Thomas. Top Secret: The FBI Files on John Steinbeck. Santa Teresa: New Century, 2002. Print.
Driscoll, Molly. “John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ Wasn’t so Beloved by One California County.” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.