It is shocking to look back to the United States of 1929-depression era. Today, one can not imagine of the life of the forty united states in such poor and helpless condition. If I try to write a fiction based on the life of a poor family of pre-independence era of India, it would be far easy to accept, or digest. No wonder this book was point of a sustained debate.
It is ironic that the film based on this work of art was actually a big hit, and did grand business. It was the year 1940, towards the end of the great depression.
Regarding the story itself, it's about the journey of the Joad family from Oklahoma state. After they realise that they simply cannot survive in Oklahoma, they decide to flee (as thousands of other families) to beautiful land of California. They are optimistic about getting work there. Well, each one of the thousands of families is. As they go along, they find California is not as beautiful as they had hoped. The slump of the economy continues, and so does the sorrow for the Joads.
Steinbeck, I feel, has left the story at a point beyond which the reader cannot take any more of the depression.
Certainly, the most tragic story I have ever read. I hope it's only a work of fiction...