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 7Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Article 7 Summary

In this final article, Steinbeck turned toward broader policy suggestions, as he believed that there was an urgent need to help the hundreds of thousands of migrant farm workers suffering in the state. His solution was two-fold. First, Steinbeck recommended that lands be leased to these migrant farm workers, as many of them had experience managing their own farms back in their home states. Secondly, he requested that a portion of state and federal lands be allocated for subsistence farming for these migrant workers; these lands could be leased at a low rent or sold with long-term payment options. Subsistence farming entailed raising livestock and planting fruit and vegetables that the family could consume themselves instead of purchasing food.


According to Steinbeck, schools and houses should be built near these subsistence farms. When the seasonal agricultural cycle on the larger farms demanded additional labor, only the men in need of work would move to fulfill the labor needs. The rest of the family could remain on their subsistence farm. Medical attention would be provided through schools and health boards. Federal, state, and local government would fund the cost of building subsistence areas for these workers. These recommendations would ensure that the family did not go hungry, that they had a permanent shelter, and that children would be educated during the agricultural work season.