Who to Shoot
Uploaded by Enirambus on Mar 04, 2002
The book The Grapes of Wrath focuses on a particular section of America called the “Dust Bowl” during the early nineteen thirties. During this time, when tenant farming was a way of life for so many Oklahomans, there came a drought which drastically cut down production of crops and forced the bank to evict the tenants in order to cut losses. The problem may seem straightforward at first, and maybe it is, but the cause of the problem should not be simplified. Naturally, the three participants in this disaster, the tenants, the bank and the workers, have their own separate, and logical, points of view. Who is right? In the larger picture, events occurring during this time period involving banks and corporations are primitive examples of the widespread greedy capitalism infused in our modern society.
One cannot think of the tenants of these farms without feeling some sort of pity or sympathy, because they had no concept of banks or land ownership. To them, land was theirs if they lived, struggled, and eventually died on it; not just because of a flimsy sheet of paper in hand. “My pa come here fifty years ago. An’ I ain’t a-goin’.”(60), was the sentiment expressed by Muley Graves and felt by many Oklahomans when first ordered off their farms. Some reacted quite violently, threatening to shoot anyone who came onto their land with a tractor to tear down their house, but when the tractor came and one of their friends drove it, they laid down their guns in submission. “Who gave you orders? I’ll go after him. He’s the one to kill.”(49), said one disgruntled farmer. “You’re wrong. He got his orders from the bank.” the driver replied. The farmer also found out that the bank got their orders from the East and wondered in exasperation, “But where does it stop? Who can we shoot?”(49) Basically, the tenants were cut off from their livelihood and without hope since they weren’t even sure whom they could kill or what person to talk to in order to keep the land.
The Bank. Who is a bank? Is it a person? A physical thing? Couldn’t it see that it was causing such suffering and despair? Although the heads of the bank could sympathize with the plight of the tenants, they felt that for some reason, the eviction could not be stopped. The Bank saw that the land in...