Grapes of Wrath Okies Labeled as Reds Essay - 414 Words

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Grapes of Wrath Okies Labeled as Reds

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Text Preview In the beginning, the okies agreed to work for the proposed salaries without protesting. But as the latter would go more and more downward, the okies started to display their discontent and their intention to revolt. The owners who knew very well that hunger would necessarily lead to anger elaborated plans and strategies that would allow them to control the situation. First, they would send their agents and spies inside the camps to intimidate the okies and localize the so-called agitators. Much attention was attached to intimidation and provocation, and huge sums of money were spent for that purpose. The owners feared revolt, and instead of dealing with its causes, they concentrated on how to crush it. At the same time, beside the working conditions, which were getting worse and worse, the owners sent spies and policemen to make trouble in the camps. The intimidators were sent among the okies to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. That fear appeared in the policemen's comment when some okies were digging the land belonging to the owners. One of the policemen said: “Did you see his face when we kicked them turnips out? Why, he'd killa soon's he' d look at him. We got to keep these here people down or they'll take the country. They'll take the country. Outlanders, foreigners. (95)” The first who were targeted were the leaders of the okies, called red agitators by the owners. The latter were convinced that when protest leaders were neutralized, the remaining okies would not dare protest any more. One okie revealed this situation to Tom Joad who had freshly arrived in California : “Look if the folks get together, they' s a leader-got to be fella that does the talkin'. Well, first time this fella opens his mouth they grab' im an' stick' im in jail. An' if they' is another leader pops up, why, they stick' im in jail. (96)” This shows how the owners denied the right of speech and of association to their compatriots, which should be unthinkable in a country... Show More

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