Grapes of Wrath

A Community Reading Program Sponsored by the

Book Author Hot, Flat and Crowded Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Three Cups
Book Talk
Team Photo Albums Links Fremont
AAUW Website

Welcome to the website featuring our 2011-2012
One Book, One Community reading adventure.

The Book for 2011-2012:
The Grapes of Wrath By John Steinbeck

“…and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for vintage.”

From Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath

This classic novel, set in the Great Depression years and published in 1939, was written by Salinas-born John Steinbeck who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. It was chosen because of its great significance for our state, for our times and for the rich language, heart-rending plot and unforgettable characters. The important questions of today ring true in this novel: the importance of family, the trust in community and the right of each person to seek a life of dignity with hope for the future. This is a novel of the heart and the soul. Read it, learn from it, enjoy it and discuss it at the many One Book, One Community sessions.


Earlier discussions are listed
on the Book Talk Schedule page.

Pauline Weaver Mesmerizes at Last
Grapes of Wrath Book Talk.


Read about the discussion.

Country Club of Washington Township Women’s Club members listen spellbound as leadership team representatives read their favorite parts of the moving and meaningful novel.


Jo Szeto enjoys cheesecake after the discussion
about the discussion.

History professor sheds light on the Great Depression and how it pertained to
the Grapes of Wrath.


A grinning Joan Caldwell
with welcoming information on the talk.
Learn More
about The Grapes of Wrath.

The AAUW Fremont Branch presents John Ford’s 1940s film The Grapes of Wrath

grapesflyerRead about it.


The Grapes of Wrath has become a beloved and revered American classic. Its title, suggested by Steinbeck’s wife Carol, is a reference to the lyrics from The Battle Hymn of the Republic.:

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored”

The themes in the book speak eloquently and evocatively to us today in our own Fremont, California. The pain of losing a home and being torn by economic necessity from our roots and the place we love. The despair of seeing loved ones suffer hunger and abuse. And the anger that comes from helplessness in the face of adversity.

What makes this novel an unforgettable classic is the beauty of its language and the characters that seem so real to us. There’s Tom Joad who, by necessity, takes leadership of a family in dire straits; Ma Joad, the rock of the family who works tirelessly to hold it together; Pa Joad, who is desperate to feed his family and loses heart, and many other characters, beautifully drawn and utterly human.

What is particularly interesting about the book is that when it was published it was extremely controversial and, as a result, was universally read. Many called Steinbeck a socialist and a propagandist for the left. The book was banned in many places and burned in others. The greatest attacks came from the Associated Farmers of California. They, of course, hated how farmers were depicted and called The Grapes of Wrath “community propaganda” and a “pack of lies.”

Visit Wikipedia to learn more about the novel, its plot, characters, and reception.

About the Author

Steinbeck was born February 27, 1902 in the farming town of Salinas and is considered the quintessential California writer. He was a writer who wrote about the struggles of his country. He chronicled the difficult years of the depression, wrote passionately about the land and its ecology; brought home the struggles of the Cold War and our relations with Russia and created accounts of the Vietnam War. He won the Nobel Prize in 1962 and won it for his brilliant work as the conscience of his country. He died December 20, 1968 in his New York City apartment.

Read more about the life of this beloved American author.

Book Talks

Book Discussions which took place before
those in the current “WHAT’S NEW” List are as follows:

Several AAUW Members Visit the Martin Heasley Cox Collection

A group of 13 AAUW members and friends drove to San Jose to visit this library
which is a joint endeavor of the City of San Jose and San Jose State University. petervanCoutren
about the Visit.

Steinbeck Guru Regales Audience with Stories of the Great Author


Audry Lynch captivates crowd of about 60 with her
in-depth information on John Steinbeck.
about her presentation.

It’s Official! The Grapes of Wrath is THE book!


Mayor Bob Wasserman read the proclamation into the record.
his views on the book

First Grapes of Wrath Book Talk
Held at Fremont Library


Margery Leonard led the first book talk.
Read about the interesting themes that were explored.

The Grapes of Wrath Team


  • Center for Steinbeck Studies:
    The only university research archive in the world dedicated solely to John Steinbeck’s life and work, this Center promotes Steinbeck’s goals of empathy and understanding by supporting education, inquiry, and the literary arts.Visit the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University.
  • The National Steinbeck Center:
    The National Steinbeck Center is located at One Main Street, in the heart of historic Oldtown Salinas, the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Open seven days a week year-round, we are the perfect beginning or end to any trip to Monterey Bay Region.Visit the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.
  • California in the 1930s:
    The history of migration from Oklahoma and Arkansas to California
    and the plight of farm workers.Read about the history of migration to California.
  • Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s:
    How the Dust Bowl migration affected travel from Oklahoma and Arkansas,
    and the heart-rending stories of poverty and race it engendered.Read more about the history of migration to California.
  • Dust Bowl Refugee:
    Woody Guthrie wrote songs in honor of the Okies who came from California.
    Here are the lyrics of Dust Bowl Refugee.Sing Woody Guthries’ dust bowl song.
  • Grapes of Wrath Movie:
    Henry Fonda starred in a movie about the Grapes of Wrath in the 1940’s.Learn more about it.

Top of Page