Posted on December 7, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
n John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, Tom Joad is the main character who moves with his family from Oklahoma to California after losing their farm during the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. The book won the National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, was the best-selling novel of 1939, 430,000 copies became printed by 1940, and John Steinbeck went on to become awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Before writing the novel Steinbeck wrote, “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this (the Great Depression)”. He also said, “I’ve done my damnest to rip a readers nerves to rags”. The Grapes of Wrath will be found on nearly every “Best Novel” compilation as one of the greatest novels ever written. A little known fact is the novel was the favorite of comedian Bill Hicks. The other night, the local PBS station presented a program where Bruce Springsteen was honored for his distinguished achievements, as many artists delivered excellent, memorable performances of songs written by Mr. Springsteen during his decades of creating and performing. At the end of the highlight-filled evening, Springsteen, 62 years-old, sounded just as good as ever, and gave the audience one more example of true artistry.
The particular song and performance that stood out – although every one was outstanding – was “The Ghost of Tom Joad”. Jim James and Tom Morello combine with the other musicians to deliver an impassioned, powerful, artistic interpretation much appreciated by Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti, a packed hall, plus untold numbers around the Earth watching on television or later on the internet.
And probably the great writer John Steinbeck himself – wherever in the creation his soul now resides.
(Thank you to runawaydream at YouTube)