The Hub of Investigation
Thanks to the suggestions of Ben and Heather on my last post, I have been focusing on one aspect of The Grapes of Wrath and “researching the heck out of it.”
Discovering my Point
In the first place, finding what the heck I am arguing about has been a long convoluted journey starting from the day I began brainstorming and then kept on brainstorming the digital issues in The Grapes of Wrath. (See my postings for May). Technological issues involving the Internet are so very connected anyway that distinguishing among them is a bit of a challenge, yet I’m hoping to be able to explore this singular issue I’ve decided on in greater depth – especially considering I’ve got more of a thesis to go off of now.
So what is my Point?
The aspect I decided upon turned out to be the concept of a Digital Divide which essentially stipulates that a boundary exists in global society that divides those that are able to make practical use of the information and services available over the internet and those that are not. Many would argue that this divide has been narrowing in the past decade due to a wider availability and affordability, but still the issue arises that increased availability does not equal greater accessability. More people, especially in the developing regions of the world – may have the means to attain this technology but are unable to make use of it in ways to better their condition due to unfamiliarity with its various uses and applications.
How Steinbeck Relates
The major conflict in The Grapes of Wrath came about of the Joad family’s inability to sustain themselves or pay the rent for the parched farm their family had lived on for generations. Eventually, the capitalistic force of the Bank determines to evict them and their neighbors wallowing in the same predicament off the land in favor of the farm tractor technology which requires fewer people to do the same amount of work. So they are forced from their land by new technology because they could not compete with the force of technological progress.
What’s Coming Next
In my following posts, I anticipate investigating some of the questions of the Digital Divide in Relation to
1. A historical perspective: How people have adapted to technology before in the context of the novel and otherwise
2. The problem as it still exists
3. Recent efforts to bridge the divide today
4. A perspective on the Future
5. Concluding thoughts as to what this all means to us
So that’s the idea. As I make my posts, I’ll be linking my ideas back here to keep everything together.