The Essential Past
The book, The Harvest Gypsies by John Steinbeck, is an account of the lives of migrant workers in California during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The San Francisco News requested that John Steinbeck write about it. He wrote seven articles that became a book. These articles relate to class because of the topics about the migrants coming to California in the 1930’s and the Great Depression. For example, it was discussed in class that these events caused unemployment, hunger, and animosity to specific communities. It was also covered how there were many Americans that left their homes behind and went to find work in California.
This book’s historical significance is a good source for understanding California’s history…show more content… Each article described different aspects of the migrant workers’ lives. It starts with introducing the new migrants going to California. Then, it goes in detail exposing the misconduct of migrant workers on the farms. This takes the readers into the farms and gives a closer look at their hardships. Then, it goes to explain each type of negative treatment they received when they worked on the farms. For example, the growers kept them oppressed with scare tactics and abuse. Steinbeck explained, “Every possible method is used to make them feel inferior and insecure.” Then, the readers follow them to a federal government camp where the migrants restored their dignity. The purpose of these camps was to give the migrants improved housing and give them back their dignity. Then, it examines the typical experience of the migrants. As they move from camp to camp, they did not receive benefits. For example, they did not get health benefits even though they were malnutritious. They did not have much access to medical care. Lastly, Steinbeck comes up with ways to improve the migrants' living standards. He recommends ideas to help the migrants' poverty and suffering. He explains plans to help the migrant workers by creating labor unions and…show more content… This book by Steinbeck is a primary source and this means it is written based on first-hand eyewitness accounts of these events. These accounts are factual as he was first to write and see these with the help of Tom Collins and Dorothea Lange. Tom Collins was part of the Resettlement Administration. He went with Steinbeck to the migrant camps to gather the information Steinbeck needed to write about it. He got evidence and stories on the recounts from the camps that Tom Collins gathered. He shared this with Steinbeck when he was researching about the migrants. Steinbeck also many pictures that Dorothea Lange took. She was a photojournalist. With all the information he was able to collect, he prepared to tell the public about the historical period of the Great Depression from the perspective of the migrants. These facts are absent from other sources and this can influence the reader to educate