Okies Vs. Californians

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The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, portrays the migration of the Okies to California during the Dustbowl era. The novel aims to present the clashes between the Okies and Californians, which mirror current conflicts between native-born Americans and immigrants. These enduring works of literature are important for their lessons and examination of controversial subjects. The encounters between the Okies and Californians were characterized by strong tensions related to land and immigration.

The Okies had two desires: food and land. The new barbarians had one desire: land and food. These desires were synonymous to them. The barbarians relocated to California to escape the hazardous circumstances of Oklahoma and neighboring states affected by the Dustbowl. Their goal was to improve their families’ lives. The Californians, who lived in a Dustbowl-free environment, aspired for various luxuries in life. They desired accumulation, social success, amusement, luxury, and an intriguing banking security.

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The Californians were already living in the conditions that the Okies were searching for. However, they were now worried that the arrival of the Okies would disrupt their efforts to obtain additional benefits. While the Okies had noble motives, the Californians still believed that they had no right to intrude on their land. The Californians were uncertain about their own needs and desires, while the Okies’ needs were evident and visible on the side of the road. Despite this, the intentions of the Okies were clear and significant.

This tension between immigrants and US-born citizens persists in contemporary society. The issue of immigration remains a frequent topic of debate among politicians and the entire US population. The arrival of immigrants causes tension among US-born citizens who are striving to achieve their own version of the American Dream. In the mindset of these citizens, immigrants are seen as obstacles preventing their success, much like the Californians depicted in the Grapes of Wrath. Like the characters in the novel, US-born citizens have already obtained their basic necessities and are now striving to attain luxuries.

These immigrants, similar to the Okies, arrive seeking refuge from circumstances that would prevent them from supporting their families. The dreams of Americans have become vague and indistinct, whereas the dreams of immigrants are still desired. Although the Dustbowl era has ended, the problems that emerged during that time persist. It is remarkable that a novel written six decades ago can address issues that contemporary society confronts. Only a few novels can endure the trials of time and societal shifts. The Grapes of Wrath is undeniably an enduring masterpiece.

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Okies Vs. Californians. (2019, Feb 08). Retrieved from


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