This morning’s Writer’s Almanac had a lot of good background about The Grapes of Wrath, which was published today in 1939. Originally Steinbeck was asked to do a piece for Life magazine, but when it wasn’t published he ended up writing a novel, finishing the first draft in 100 days.

A quote taken from the article:
I break myself every time I go out [in the fields] because the argument that one person’s effort can’t really do anything doesn’t seem to apply when you come on a bunch of starving children and you have a little money. I can’t rationalize it for myself anyway. So don’t get me a job for a slick. I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.

I think you succeeded in doing that and more, John. Good job.