Chris Rice Cooper

Chris Rice Cooper
Chris on July 28, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

Poem Through Tom Joad's Voice: On January 24, 1940 the Film Grapes Of Wrath was released

Chris Cooper
Facebook @  Christal Ann Rice Cooper



The Grapes of Wrath:
the Person of John Steinbeck,
the Movie of the Century,
and the Persona of Tom Joad

“My whole nervous system is battered. I hope I’m not headed for a nervous breakdown. My nerves are going fast. . . I wish I could just disappear for a while. So many things to drive me nuts. I’m afraid this book is going to pieces. If it does, I do too."

--John Steinbeck in his diary on the writing of The Grapes of Wrath


       On Friday, April 14, 1939 The Grapes of Wrath was published with mixed reviews.  Many people were insulted at Steinbeck’s portrayal of an American family from Oklahoma in desperate straits. 


The ending of the novel has a powerful ending, but at the time, the public was appalled when Rosasharon after delivering her stillborn baby, breastfeeds a starving man back to life.   
The book, to date, has sold over 14 million copies, and continues to sell 100,000 copies per year.



      The movie The Grapes of Wrath premi√®red on January 24, 1940; but unlike the book, the controversial ending was absent. 

Instead, the movie ended with Ma Joad’s own words, “Men see life in jerks whereas women see life as a continuous flow, like a stream. Rich fellas come and go, but we Joads will go on and on forever, cause we're the people."

      Tom Joad is the lead character of The Grapes of Wrath, a convict released during the Dust Bowl days, returning to his farm only to find it occupied by only dust and wind .  He and his family head for the Promised Land, California.  On the way there, he turns to killing for the sake of his family.

***

Tom Joad Speaks

                                           By Christal Rice Cooper

I’m sick and tar’d of people describin’ hell as fahr.
It’s dust - in your eyes, your hair, your mouth.
Ya can’t git ‘nough water ta git it all out.
When hell’s all ya got ya want hell-
That ol’ land may be a Bowl of Dust,
but it has my great Granpa’s bones in it.
I’d walk a hundred mile ‘fore I trade it for one orange tree.
That was ‘fore I was free.  Ain’t it strange?
When ya become free ya lose ever’thing-
Includin’ your last sip of whisky.
Them rich men and their goddamn tractors-
ever’ inch of dirt they cross kill me
The fambly turns ta dreamin’ and a run-down jalopie.
This han’bill says they needin’ 800 pickers.
800 my ass - they print 5,000 and 4,999 start dreamin’.
Mother Road is packed with Nashes, De Sotos, Model T’s—
crawlin’ like ants from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas.
Pickin’ all day and ya have ta buy your own sack.
God forbid we sneak a bite.
Those deputies have guns an’ they’ll shoot.
A woman almos’ bleed to death from the shootin’.
All of this fer bread and water-
ain’t enough to feed a person.
It’s easy for kids - giv’em peppermint and they’re happy.
That candy’s a lie - so ya won’t have to admit the truth.
Ma says we the good people, the ones makin’ the world go on.
We’re hungrier in green ol’ California than we were in hell.
I miss that dried red land o’ cotton.
There ain’t nothin’ like home-

even if it ain’t heaven. 


No comments:

Post a Comment