Skip to main content
DON’T MISS OUT: Secure your Limited Edition Leather-Bound Books from Arktos today! Order Now

Richard Wilson contemplates John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and asserts that the book, often fetishized by liberals and champagne leftists, actually belongs to the right, emphasizing its relevance as a guide for the impending societal breakdown.

I just reread The Grapes of Wrath after 40 years from the first time I read it. At fifteen, I knew nothing except my rage, my raging hormones and punk and skinhead melodrama. At 54, after two universities, tens of thousands of books later, three marriages later, five children, poverty, riches, jails, TV interviews, stages, back alley fisticuffs, hospitals, riots, ghettos on three continents, I thought I should reread the books of my youth. Last year, I reread White Fang and the year before The Lord of the Rings, both of which are radically different now than when my mind was soaked and debilitated by testosterone and dopamine, alcohol and strange head traumas.

Coming from Northern California, Steinbeck has a special place in what we think of as literature. He is our own (a friend of the Okie and the descendants of Okies, even Merle Haggard relocated to Northern California), he’s us, he wrote of our people, so we place him rather high, higher than Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald. In New York City, I met professors who had never read anything by him. Strange, considering his popularity when he was writing. The Grapes of Wrath took the world by storm. It became a bestseller. John Ford, perhaps the greatest American director of all time, made a movie of The Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda. One of the few times where the film version stands alone, stands as its own work of art, both are works of genius.

The novel has always been seen as a social novel, a grandson of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In short, a propagandistic piece, nothing more. The Grapes of Wrath is much more than a novel with a chip on its shoulder. Much more than a retarded ur-SJW novel. It shows a people facing death and annihilation at every corner, the old world has died in a blight of dust and disease, the government and banks and law are against them, chase them, destroy their lives, prod them on, micromanage their every affair, the world they knew is gone, the world they hope for looks further and further away from ever coming into existence. Food and acquiring food is their main action, other than the movement looking for work that doesn’t exist, not being able to work to feed oneself and one’s children, wasting away, seeing the old and young die from malnutrition, men and women become depressed, suicidal or angry. And violent.

Dystopian literature has characteristics that define the genre: social control, mass poverty, hopelessness, conformity, propaganda, resistance.

There is no transgender freak in The Grapes of Wrath, no homosexuals, no preening skinny jeans-wearing heroin addicted punk singer, unwashed and moving his head to get his pink hair out of his skeletal and porcelain face.

The Grapes of Wrath has all the above and more! It’s all real. It happened, not in the Soviet Union or Asia, but in the good ol’ USA. The propaganda: greatest country on earth, with hard work anyone can be a millionaire. The conformity, everyone in the US then believed in this lie. We still have people who smoke this crack. They shall have their reward. During the Dust Bowl and Depression, there was hopelessness and mass poverty, for many the world was ending. Religious revivals spread all across the stricken land, populisms spread, either of the more popular far-left variety or of the far-right variety. A reckoning was coming. But it didn’t. Post-World War 2 and things got better for the American worker until the late eighties. Since then, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Now, we are on the cusp of another, a greater Depression. Not just that, but Guillaume Faye’s predictions, common sense are all coming true.

It’s hard to reconcile the Bruce Springsteen adoration of Tom Joad, a poor Southern white man who has murdered twice. Once while sober, another time while drunk. Joad in the book is just a peckerwood, a poor white who “ain’t gonna take it no more.” The fetishization of the novel by liberals and champagne leftists is annoying, they act as if its theirs, their author, their book. It isn’t. There is no transgender freak in The Grapes of Wrath, no homosexuals, no preening skinny jeans-wearing heroin addicted punk singer, unwashed and moving his head to get his pink hair out of his skeletal and porcelain face. Down on their luck farmers, workers. That’s it. If anything, these are Huey Long supporters, Father Coughlin admirers. Oh, the Times they ain’t a-changin’, brother! The Times dey stayin’ da same. And getting worse. Give it a few years and a new Huey Long will stride onto the American stage, worse than the first, a new Coughlin will come, louder and stronger. The times we are living in demand it, they always do.

The Arktos Restoration Initiative

We have handpicked thirty distinguished titles, previously lost to censorship, befitting any refined bookshelf. These esteemed classics are now offered in limited leather-bound editions, with a mere 100 copies per title. Owning one not only grants you a collector’s item but also supports our mission to restore them in paperback for all.

We will sequentially reveal three titles. After each pre-sale set concludes, we will move to the next trio. As each set is claimed, we will ship these treasures, while also making paperback versions available in our online store.

Your contribution aids the metapolitical battle, ensuring that vital ideas and concepts remain accessible to an ever-expanding audience.

Racial Civil War
The Path of Cinnabar
Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson is a writer and professional actor living and working in Moscow, Russia. Originally, he is from Humboldt County in the extreme northern part of California. Before acting, he worked as an Alaskan fisherman, a cowboy, lumberjack, dockworker, road builder, punk singer, farmer, and factory worker. He has performed in eleven Russian films, twelve Russian serials, and many commercials. He is currently finishing a collection of feuilletons about his experiences in Russia and a screenplay based on the last year of Baron Ungern von Sternberg's life.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jason Rogers
Jason Rogers
3 months ago

Fantastic article! I want to see more of this literary criticism from the Right.

I first read Steinbeck’s Cannery Row when I was stationed at the Presidio in Monterey, California; I felt that I should imbibe the local color by reading a work of literature about that very locale. Cannery Row was a nice book, an easy book, a light read, but not necessarily profound. It lacked a climax in some ways. Grapes of Wrath is a different beast.

And I want to point out that Richard coined a new phrase: a retarded ur-SJW novel

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x