The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Guthrie, Harris, and The Grapes of Wrath

Washington, DC

Book cover used courtesy of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York.

The Grapes of Wrath is an epic novel that takes place during the Great Depression. It begins in Oklahoma, but once the crop-killing Dust Bowl hits, many families, namely the Joads, work their way west to California, to what many considered a garden of Eden. But as folk sensation Woody Guthrie tells us over and over again, a garden of Eden California was not, at least not for every migrant worker lucky enough to make it there. His songs paint images as striking and indelible as Dorothea Lange's photographs and John Steinbeck's words. Steinbeck, however, still offers his readers hope in the face of tragedy. Guthrie's song "Do Re Mi" opens this clip, which also features writer Richard Rodriguez and actor Ed Harris.

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/It'sCalifornia.mp3]

[transcript]

To hear the entire half-hour audio guide about The Grapes of Wrath, please check out The Big Read website.

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