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Steinbeck and Babb Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020


Steinbeck and Babb played a great role in shaping the literature of America. Although the authors were not recognized significantly during the past, their ideologies are relevant to the modern society. Steinbeck was an activist who wrote many books about the struggle between people who are poor and the rich ones.

However, researchers and authors have questioned the originality of his work because they speculate that he copied Babb’s stories. On the others hand, Babb was a determined writer who faced harsh experiences during her childhood, education life and employment. She is recognized for collecting authentic books based on participatory observations.

Situation in California

While seeking to articulate the situation in California, Steinbeck wrote a famous book known as ‘Grapes of Wrath’. On the other hand, Babb focused on similar issues and wrote a book that was titled ‘Whose Names are Unknown’. In the two books, Steinbeck and Babb wrote about the plight of migrants in Oklahoma and California.

They focused on the miserable conditions which dust bowl’s migrants experienced in Oklahoma and California. The authors described how the migrants pursued their rights from the relevant authorities. Steinbeck based his story on non-participatory observations where he visited migrants’ camps and interviewed the migrants.

On the other hand, Babb was employed as an assistant manager of FSA where she observed how the migrants were treated in a direct way. This implies that she had firsthand information about the treatment of migrants. As a result, her book focused equally on the oppression of migrant workers. While evaluating the plight of migrant workers, the authors adopted different stances which portrayed similarities and differences.

Similarity and Differences of Perspective


The two authors suggested that migrant oppression was a barbaric act that portrayed recklessness. They condemned this oppression for propagating inhumanity. Babb stated that the California’s labor system exploited the workers heartlessly. Furthermore, she contended that the system in California was abusive and desperate.

Also, she suggested that oppression of migrants was a show of human greed where the crop owners never cared about the welfare of the colleagues. Lastly, she stated that the oppression was a source of unending pain. On the other hand, Steinbeck argued that the system forced the migrants to live in miserable conditions.

In fact, it was evident that author was very outraged by the treatment of migrants. This was portrayed when he stated that the migrants who worked for cash crop growers were treated in a discriminatory and brutal manner.

He revealed that the cash crop growers blamed the migrants for laziness without any justification. Finally, he stated that the authorities could have treated the migrants properly by providing them with the basic needs.

Difference in Perspective

The differences between Steinbeck and Babb emerged during evaluation of the dispossession that happened in 1930. Steinbeck articulated the issues in a figurative manner by describing the Okies as people who had a lot of essence. On the other hand, Babb portrayed a humanistic perspective by arguing that the world should be defined by human relationships.

She suggested that the migrants were neighbors who shared the same destiny with all human beings. Therefore, she argued that the migrants should not have been treated wrongly. Instead, they should have been treated humanely regardless of their origin or financial status.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Steinbeck and Babb." July 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/steinbeck-and-babb-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Steinbeck and Babb'. 6 July.

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