The Dirty Thirties Essay Research Paper Every

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The Dirty Thirties Essay, Research Paper Every era is shaped by many diverse events and conditions. The 1930 s were marked by economic crisis and instability. The Great Depression struck the world in 1929, and continued throughout the decade. This caused many to look upon this time as a dark and melancholy period, which was not the case. Although most people focus on the depression, as characterizing the 1930 s, many other factors helped shape that era. During this time in America, there were many momentous events, writers, and innovations that greatly impacted society. One event which perpetuated the problems of the 1930 s was the Dust Bowl. Beginning in 1931, about fifty million acres of land, mainly in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, experienced a severe

drought (Farris 6). This drought and its aftermath ranked among the worst environmental disasters in history. These extreme weather conditions made it even harder for many people to overcome the economic problems already facing that era. The soil in this region had become dry and loose because of the prolonged drought, and by 1933, the high winds began creating huge dust storms. (Bond 226). There have always been dust storms in the Great Plains, but these were far more deadly and devastating than ever seen before. These storms, which ravaged the Plains, caused unbelievable amounts of damage. One of the biggest dust storms in history occurred in May of 1934, when dust blew for thirty-six hours straight creating a dust cloud covering 1,500 miles (Andryszewski 8). With storms of

this nature occurring frequently the land became wrecked and ravaged. The once beautiful farmland of the Great Plains turned dry, desolate, and dead. Not only did the Dust Bowl leave lasting environmental problems, it also caused an economic and social upheaval. The Dust Bowl of the 1930 s caused many problems for the individuals living in the area, as well as for society as a whole. Southern plains farmers defeated by the dust storms were certain that they would find work in California (Farris 36). There was a mass departure of bankrupt and discouraged farm families of the South migrating to California in order to flee from the dust storms. They abandoned cherished homesteads and livelihoods hoping for a better life when they reached California. Within four years,more than three

hundred thousand poor farmers moved to California in search of a new life, but were disappointed when they could not find work (Bond 226). The problems they faced by not having a job not only hurt them, but it caused society to suffer as well. The economy was damaged even more by having thousands out of work. The Dust Bowl had a lasting effect on society which can be seen in great detail by the many writers and painters who focused on this time period. One remarkable author known for captivating the 1930 s was John Steinbeck. He was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, and spent much of his childhood time wandering through the woods looking for adventure (Ito 10). It was this sense of discovery and curiosity that helped create the foundation of his novels. His love

of the land and keen observation of human nature were also woven into his novels. He published the book The Grapes of Wrath in 1939, which depicted the lives of those during the Dust Bowl. Although the novel is classified as fiction, Steinbeck s account of the Dust Bowl and it s survivors is remarkably authentic (Farris 28). He was able to capture all the facets of human nature as people struggled with economic hardship of that time. Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for The Grapes of Wrath, which is … considered to be one of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century (The Columbia Encyclopedia). The book helped create a social conscious concerning the rights of poor farmers. Although it had great social influence and was popular with many, the novel did,