The Social Protest Tradition in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Nadine Gordimer’s Burger’s Daughter

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university Mouloud Mammeri of Tizi-Ouzou


This piece of research investigates the issue of social protest in one of America’s most outstanding literary figures namely John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and the South African author Nadine Gordimer’s Burger’s Daughter. We have shown that though their stylistic differ, John Steinbeck and Nadine Gordimer meet in their common intent to protest against the established social orders in their respective American and South African societies. Steinbeck describes the capitalist impulses underlying the eviction, migration, and exploitation of Dust Bowl migrants in 1930s, while Gordimer presents those animating the ideologically torn apart Apartheid society. For this, both authors engage in the rhetorical involvement and awakening of their audiences. In fact, confronting the reader with such realistically ironical depictions of his actual society, arises, not only his empathy, but also his commitment to act upon it. To reach our goal we have relied on the historicists theoretical supports of Wilhelm Dilthey, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche as developed in Paul Hamilton’s Book: Historicism the New Critical Idiom (1996)




social protest, historicism, empathy, Marxism, Capitalism, ideology, historicization, naturalization, oracular history, Great Depression, Dust Bowl, and Apartheid.


Culture and Media Studies