ith alternating chapters of the Joad Family’s misfortunes and intercalary chapters of general comment, Steinbeick crafts a bitter and delineated account of the Great Depression. Capitalism is cited as one of the intrinsic contributors to the Depression, as an economy operating in favor of private ownership for profit led to severe tribulation. For example, farmers in the 1930s became cognizant of California’s farmland being extensively controlled by agricultural monopolies, hence why there was no opportunity for farmers to resume their independent agrarian lifestyle. SThe most optimistic member of the Joad family, Ma Joad, urges that the handbill she read which advertised work was accurate and that California will be a wonderful place. This proves to be only a figment of illusion, the Joad family discovers that farms are privately owned and the mass migration of people towards California led to a surfeit of labor and consequently, scarcity of jobs and lowering of wages for all workers. Through their hindrances, Steinbeck also emblematizes the deficient labour practices in rural areas. The labour camps in California urged the contemplation of rural labour systems and consideration of customs, laws and labour unions to protect rural workers. In The Great Depression, R.G. Grant writes that unemployment had struck every kind of worker, from highly skilled engineers to manual laborers. In fact, in 1931, a building contractor from Minneapolis wrote a letter to President Hoover warning, “There is not five % of the poverty your enemies would like you to believe, in three cases out of four the unemployed is looking for a very light job at a very heavy pay”. The novel’s slight frailty lies in that it fails to provide these perspectives in depth; economic conditions and its aftermath on different classes of people in different areas are seldom described. The unemployed had an overwhelming tendency to self- blame for their ill fortune. Historian David M Kennedy, professor emeritus at Stanford University, had written, ” In a culture that ascribed all success to individual striving, it seemed to follow axiomatically that failure was due to individual inadequacy”. . He clearly shows the diminishing spirit of Pa Joad when he goes to sell some of the family’s possessions and returns discouraged, blaming himself for having earned merely eighteen dollars. In contrast, he also shows farmers denouncing institutions such as banks, referring to them as “monsters”. Indeed, Pa’s self esteem erodes and he secludes himself from his family and responsibilities, forcing Ma to adopt a dominant role. This is testimony of another social change that had become evident during the depression, as women now saw their role in the household enhanced. With the breadwinner of the family surrendering to frustration and dismay, women became more absorbed fulfilling household tasks using scant resources to keep the family nourished and intact. The Great Depression’s major paradox was the faith of certain white Americans in their own country. Steinbeck centralizes this theme of social prejudice, as the Joads are asked to evacuate their land by banks and then later on suffer from exploitation and discrimination by the California farmers. However, historian Frank J. Taylor, in his essay “California’s Grapes of Wrath”, criticizes Steinbeck’s pitiless depiction of Californian farmers by arguing that the nature of the agricultural industry demands that crops be harvested within precise timing. Thus, great number of migrants are needed for a short period of time, and consequently, they are left jobless once the fruit is picked. In addition, the overflowing of migrants from Oklahoma, referred to as Okies, burdened Californian civilians who already had their own challenges. .Arguably, part of the Great Depression was catalyzed due to underlying weaknesses in the political system. A cogent example being that during times of scarcity, there were no social agencies or welfare departments. Furthermore, President Hoover believed that the government should have limited influence on businesses for the economy to prosper. These factors are valuable in understanding how policies contributed to the circumstances of the Great Depression. Although Steinbeck accuses people in power, he does seem to suggest the pitfalls of the overall system when a farmer blames bankers for his miseries but a man on the tractor responds, “Maybe there’s nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn’t men at all.” This suggests that there is no single group of people that can be blamed for the predicament of the depression–perhaps it is the system that is the culprit. The novel does not provide a thorough insight of political affairs; thus it cannot be relied on too extensively for an understanding of politics during the entirety of the Great Depression. Since the plot concludes in March 1931, many important political events which emerged after are excluded, such as Roosevelt’s presidency and the experimental policies he introduced. Prior to the Great Depression, the government initiated minimal involvement during business failures, as it relied on private markets to make the necessary rectifications. Roosevelt’s reforms in the New Deal, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission, were attempts to prevent the abuses that had led to the 1929 crash. Although Roosevelt’s actions did not solve all the complications of the Depression, his pioneering initiatives along with the agonizing conditions of the Depression eventually encouraged some fundamental changes. The government assumed a greater role in ensuring economic stability. From this disquisition, it can be reasoned that The Grapes of Wrath encapsulates the major episodes of the Great Depression effectively, albeit certain aspects would further enhance a historical investigation. The novel is potent in portraying the economic conditions, despite lacking acknowledgement of the economic consequences in other parts of America. The attitudes, class divisions and living conditions are depicted truthfully, although different racial groups are absent and the portrayal of Okies may have been hyperboled per Steinbeck’s sentiments. The inability of the nation’s political system to cope with an economic failure is significantly expressed, although the novel’s timeline does not pertain to key political events.