John Steinbeck's classic tale of migrant farmers thriving to survive, The Grapes of Wrath, explores many themes linked to overcoming life threatening obstacles. Steinbeck enforces the idea that the unification of large groups can overcome their oppressors.
Through clever narration every few chapters, Steinbeck, gives us a broader sense of views experienced during the novel. In one of these sections, the fear of the Californian landowners is portrayed. These wealthy landowners came into power only after a desperate necessity of farms and food, stealing the land from Mexico. They fear that history will repeat itself; they know that hungry and desperate people are a danger to their stability as land owners. ".that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need" (324). The Californians know the immense power these migrant farmers can wield. As they fill California by the thousands, adding hunger and poverty, only unity is needed to make this bitter-sweet mixture produce change. "When a majority of. people," become one, their voice is heard, and their actions felt, this is a pure and simple fact. As history once revealed, unity brings change.
The classic style of weaving broader views within the novel, is once again displayed. This section explores the idea that "I" has no power when compared to "we". When a single man or family stands in protest, the western residents have no fear. With their numbers they can swallow this rebellious family and spit them wherever they desire. What was once a movement of small families dripping into California, has become a flood of commotion, hunger and the need for land. "And from the first "we" there grows a still more dangerous thing- (206). The residents that are oppressing this once small group of migrant workers are beginning to feel nervous. They fear that these lost farmers will come together, although weak, when united, will overcome their strength.