Poverty as the Antagonist in “Grapes of Wrath”

1. Introduction

“Grapes of Wrath” is a film directed by John Ford about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in America. The Joad family are farmers who are forced to leave their farm in Oklahoma and travel to California in search of work. Along the way, they face many challenges, including poverty, which is the main antagonist in the film.

2. Poverty as the Antagonist in “Grapes of Wrath”

Poverty is the main antagonist in “Grapes of Wrath.” It is an unseen force that affects all of the characters in the film. Grandpa and Grandma Joad are forced to leave their home because they can no longer afford to live there. Casy, the family’s preacher, is killed by a drunk driver while hitchhiking. The Keene Ranch, where the Joad family had planned to stay, is taken over by squatters who are also struggling with poverty. John Joad, the eldest son, is arrested for stealing food for his family.

Poverty also affects the American society as a whole. In the film, there are numerous references to the American Revolution and how it was fought for freedom and democracy. However, these ideals seem to have been forgotten as people are now struggling just to survive. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There seems to be no hope for those who are struggling with poverty.

3. Poverty in Modern America

Unfortunately, poverty is still a major issue in America today. According to a report from the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 21% of children in America live below the poverty line. This means that they do not have enough money to meet their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and housing.

Poverty can have a major impact on children’s health and development. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience health problems, such as asthma and obesity. They are also more likely to drop out of school and become involved in crime.

4. Conclusion

Poverty is a major problem both in America and around the world. It affects everyone, from the young to the old, and has a lasting impact on one’s life. Hopefully, with more awareness and understanding, we can find a way to solve this problem once and for all.”


The historical context of the film is the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.

The film depicts the lives of those affected by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl in a very realistic way. It shows how hard life was for people during that time, and how they had to struggle just to survive.

Some key themes in the film are hope, determination, and resilience.

John Ford uses cinematography to convey these themes by using shots that emphasize the vastness of the landscape and the smallness of the characters within it. He also uses a lot of close-ups to show the emotions on the characters' faces.

I think the overall message of the film is that no matter how difficult life may be, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. And I think this message is still relevant today because there are still many people who are struggling in life and need to be reminded that things can get better.

Yes, I think this film is still relevant today because its message is timeless and universal.

I have not experienced anything similar to what is depicted in the film, but I know many people who have. And it has definitely affected them in a very positive way.