Fact from Fiction: Migration and The Great Depression

This month we celebrate one of American Literature's most iconic authors. February 27 marks the birth of John Steinbeck. His fiction works captured what it was really like to live and work during The Great Depression of 1930s America. Through his storytelling, we are able to get firsthand experience through the eyes of his characters.

Migration is a major theme in many of his novels, most notably The Grapes of Wrath. During The Great Depression, families were forced to uproot their lives and travel across the country in order to find work. This mass migration is the focal point of his novel. We offer two FREE WORKSHEETS from our The Grapes of Wrath Novel Study Guide that capture the period of The Great Depression, otherwise known as the Dust Bowl; as well as a look at the historic Route 66, which saw many Americans travel along this highway to California.

The Great Depression—and mass migration that resulted—although a major theme in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, was a real event that had a major negative effect on the citizens of the United States during the 1930s. It's worth learning more about this trying time as it remains a major part of our history. We encourage teachers to connect the fictionalized work of John Steinbeck with the non-fiction event that inspired it. We offer two FREE WORKSHEETS from our Economy & Globalization resource, starting with an activity surrounding the Stock Market Crash of 1929, which led to The Great Depression. From there, we provide a writing task assignment on The Great Depression, asking students to write a story in the same style as Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Additionally, students will hold a panel discussion where they represent members of different countries to discuss international immigration policy.

Visit our FREE CONTENT page for more great worksheets to supplement any theme.

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