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Immigration is without a doubt one of the most controversial topics throughout history and today. This comparative essay will analyze the similarities in how the migrant workers of the novel The Grapes of Wrath set in the 1930’s compare to the migrant workers of the novel The Devil’s Highway set in the 2000’s with the purpose of confirming that society has not improved their relations with refugees or immigrants. Even though the characters are separated by nearly seven decades, they face similar challenges and discrimination. During their exodus to their perceived “Promised Land”, California for the “Okies” and the United States for the Latinos, not only do the workers face opposition from their fellow man, but also from nature. They must fight an oppressive economic and political system much larger than they could imagine. In her analysis of The Grapes of Wrath, Kristine R. Yee describes migrant farmworkers as the people who remain unseen yet the public directly benefits from the fruits of their labor, literally. She also states that because we are human, we are inevitably going to repeat the mistakes of the past. In the 1930’s the general public simply wanted to reap the benefits of the migrant farmworkers but refused to help them in their time of need. The same actions hold true for the migrant workers from Mexico nearly seventy years later. By analyzing the similarities between the migrant workers’ experiences and the analysis from Kristine R. Yee, it is undeniable that we have made little if any progress at all in that span of seventy years and beyond.

Keywords: Migrant Workers, Immigration, Discrimination, Refugees, Dehumanization, Work, Dust Bowl, Journey, Exodus, Literature


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3101

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022