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Dust Bowl Essay

  • Submitted by: myroush2007
  • on April 1, 2014
  • Category: History
  • Length: 10,903 words

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Below is an essay on "Dust Bowl" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The point of the authors in this essay is to show that the facts (ie. statistics) do not always confirm the popular impression in history. In this case, specifically, that Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is a story about the unusual -- not the usual. Do you think our popular culture (books, TV, movies, even the news media) tends in this direction -- toward the unusual? Support your opinion. Finally, does ‘The Grapes of Wrath’s’ narrow, rather than broad, vision, diminish the story it tells?
The story begins with dust — not the thin coating on the shelf or the little balls in the corner, but huge dark clouds of it. When the winds blew, they sucked the dust into the sky to create blizzards. The dust storms began in earnest on May 9, 1934. High winds captured dirt from Montana and Wyoming — some 350 million tons of it — and carried it eastward. By noon the dust began falling in Iowa and Wisconsin. That evening a brown grit fell like snow on Chicago — four pounds for each inhabitant. Then the storm moved on. It was dark in Buffalo at noon the next day and the midday gloom covered five states. On May 11 the dust sifted down as far south as Atlanta and as far north as Boston. The following day, ships some 300 miles off the east coast noticed a film of brown dust on their decks. Every year more storms blew: twenty-two in 1934, to a peak of seventy-two by 1937, then a gradual decline until finally the rains returned in the 1940s. Residents of the high western plains remembered 1935 as the worst year. February brought temperatures in the seventies. With no snow cover and no vegetation to hold it, the dirt flew. Even on calm days on the Southwestern plains a pervasive grit fell everywhere. "In the morning," John Steinbeck wrote, "the dust hung like fog, and the sun was as red as ripe new blood. All day the dust sifted down from the sky, and the next day it sifted down ... It settled on the corn, piled on the tops of the fence posts, piled on the wires; it settled on roofs...

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