33 pages 1 hour read

John Steinbeck

The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath

Nonfiction | Essay Collection | Adult | Published in 1936

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Article 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Article 3 Summary

In his third article, Steinbeck delved into the relationship between the farmworkers and the farmers who employed them. Small farms were between 5 and 100 acres in size. Most owners of small farms relied upon workers who lived in squatters’ camps nearby. Some farms provided land for the migrant workers to settle. Water would be available as well as a toilet, typically, though there were usually no areas for bathing. Despite some concerns, small farmers and their workers got along fairly well. In fact, small farmers often took the side of their workers against the larger corporate agricultural operations, which Steinbeck referred to as speculative farm groups.


The large farms organized themselves under the umbrella of entities like Associated Farmers, Inc. to better represent their interests and lobby legislators. Steinbeck described the different kinds of members of Associated Farmers, Inc., including private citizens and banks that received foreclosed lands. The small farmers were thus in a predicament, as they received loans from banks—including the same banks that were members of organizations like Associated Farmers, Inc. Therefore, if these small farmers opposed the policies of the big farm growers, they could see their loans denied or their farms foreclosed upon.