The Grapes of Wrath and The Migrant Woman – Assignment Example

The paper "The Grapes of Wrath and The Migrant Woman" is an outstanding example of an assignment on visual arts and film studies. Art voices silence or depict the faceless concerns of a society and have been used as a vehicle of propaganda. The sociological approach to art and literature suggest that art could not stand alone from the social and political setting of its time. Works of art carry the records of the social and political history of their times to the future. When fixed in a context, according to sociological approach, many works of art have actively participated in either influencing the social, political or religious concerns or get influenced and shaped by the aspirations and ideologies of any period. 1920’s and 1930’s in US history is a dark age of economic depression, social discriminations, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and migration of huge farming communities. The Drought of the Dust Bowl was one of the major causes behind it. Many paintings and photography as part of visual arts reflect the migrant experience and the socio-economic concerns of the period. The Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck are typical representations of the period of economic depression, drought, and poverty faced by the migrant farmers in California. The visual art has also been one of the most influencing factors in government intervention. One of the influencing photographs of the period is The Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange. The most hailed picture of the 1930s is not one of beauty and serenity but of poverty and hunger. The Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange presents the picture of a mother and her children in rags as symbols of the economic catastrophe in California. They are portrayed as a farming family who is on their way toward a livelihood being affected by the drought and economic depression. There is no smile but only frustrated resignation. There is no prosperity but utter poverty. The central character becomes the ‘migrant mother’. As the picture has been taken on the roadside tent, it is clear that families are displaced during the Dust Bowl drought. They are homeless and live in temporary living arrangements as nomads. They no more owned land of their own. This ‘migrant mother’ became the typical stereotype of any migrant during the drought of the dust bowl and the great depression. By doing so, The Migrant Mother looks at migration as a social phenomenon, which has a great economic repercussion beyond the personal level. It is truly a representation of its times. Inspired by The Migrant Mother, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck records the life and struggles of a migrant family who move from Oklahoma losing their farms during the drought of the Dust Bowl. The novel narrates the story of a farmer family, who are displaced have lost their agricultural land to the drought. They are homeless like the migrant mother and take to the road and move toward an uncertain hope of a new life in California. There are many other such farmer families that move with them and form a community. They are a picture of starvation, homelessness and economic deprivation. The novel employs many symbols to convey the socio-economic tragedy more effectively. The road they take, Route 66, is symbolic of hopes about opportunities that lie ahead and the poverty that lies behind. It never branches or intersects with any route that the travelers have no choice but to either go ahead or return back bringing out a desperate condition of the migrant farmers on the road. The cotton sucking blood from the land is symbolic of the farmers being robbed of their lives, hopes, and fortunes. Jim Casey lays down his life for the cause of the migrants. Rose of Sharon and her character delineation depict the ability to withstand and endure the struggles. In their characters, the novel aspires for brotherhood especially during times of economic depression and social discrimination. It captures one of the major economic concerns of the 1920’s and 1930’s was the Great Economic Depression and the Dust Bowl. Both The Grapes of Wrath and The Migrant Mother have a similar theme. They depict homelessness and starvation and the economic, social problems surrounding migration. Poverty and hunger are some of the economic implications and the farmers are homeless on the street resorting only to brotherhood for survival. History says that many farming families have been affected by the Dust Bowl drought and have been displaced. It is an economic and social challenge for the government to deal with. Works of art and literature serve as representations or criticism of the contemporary socio, economic or political scenario. Art as faithful representations also supplements history in narrating the stories in a realistic way. The picture has captured moments of despair and anxiety in the eyes of the migrant mother. The novel captures a greater picture in a more detailed manner. It speaks of a community and says that there are many migrant mothers and fathers, migrant farming communities that got struck during the tragic times.