I don’t think an author should be limited by history at all. I think that without limits, a writer is allowed to be more creative. No limits on writing can help an author illustrate a better story or prove a point. If writers were confined to the factual events of history, it would be extremely hard to write a unique piece of writing. Every writing or story would be similar or based on certain accounts of history. History is a definite and cannot be changed. If a writer does choose to write based on a historical theme, the writer should take the general idea or ideas of that theme and expand upon it. Writing is a subjective thing and it all depends on the views of the author. Another reason that I think authors shouldn’t be confined by historical facts is the fact that writers need that freedom to explain their ideas. For example, the use of hyperbole or exaggeration helps a writer put emphasis on a certain subject or idea. The essay discussed how Steinbeck made major exaggerations. I recognized those exaggerations, but I saw those exaggerations as strategies Steinbeck used to emphasize a situation. The freedom to write without limits allows for a wide range of creativity.
The results of the creativity of many authors over many periods of time has been the transformation of literature. Literature has become an art. It allows a writer to express his or her feelings towards a subject, idea, or etc. Even when writing on the subject of something like the Dust Bowl, authors can develop their stance on the subject through the use of many different strategies. These strategies can bend the factual evidence of history, but nonetheless are based on the main idea.
I learned that by stretching the truth, Steinbeck was able to create a strong image and influence his writers on the topic of the Dust Bowl. Had I not read Windschuttle’s essay, I wouldn’t have known that Steinbeck wasn’t completely accurate with his evidence of the Dust Bowl. Through stretching and in some instances breaking the truth, Steinbeck created a dominant impression upon me that the migration of the Okies was an extremely grim and difficult period of time for a majority of travelers from the Southeast. The way Steinbeck described the period of time in his novel was perhaps his own, unique perception, though it was a stretch from reality. Despite the fact, he was able to extend his opinion to his readers.
Discrimination of the Okies Originally uploaded by Life magazine
One thing I do agree with Windschuttle about is the fact that Steinbeck could have written in the way that he did because of his bias. Windschuttle points out that Steibeck was a California native and that he had political affiliations with groups like the Communists. Because Steinbeck was biased, I believe that he stretched the truth in order to state an opinion about things outside of the Dust Bowl. He could’ve written with certain exaggerations on the hardships of life at the period to show his opinion on how Roosevelt and his administration handled the problem of that era. He could’ve written it to express his feelings, as a Californian, towards the migrants. Whatever the reason, I do agree that Steinback wrote his novel with certain nonfactual things because of his relations in real life.
Many, such as Windschuttle see The Grapes of Wrath as a mediocre novel plainly based on the fact that it does not truly reflect the realities of the time. I think that if the details are looked past, the novel was excellent because Steinbeck was able to show his own take on the time and push his idea to his audience. Even if Steinbeck did make some exaggerations, he based the general ideas on common themes of the time.