Drought and Dust

Men, women, and children would wear wet rags over their faces. If they could afford it they would also try to wear something to shield their eyes when they went out to face the dust storm.

"Then the women knew that they were safe and that there was no break. Then they asked, What'll we do? And the men replied, I don't know. But it was all right. The women knew it was all right, and the watching children knew it was all right. Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole." (Grapes of Wrath 4)

Farmers and their families were devastated when they saw the effects the dust storm had on their plants.

"Little by little the sky was darkened by the mixing dust, and the wind felt over the earth, loosened the dust, and carried it away. The wind grew stronger. The rain crust broke and the dust lifted up out of the fields and drove gray plumes into the air like sluggish smoke. The corn threshed the wind and made a dry, rushing sound. The finest dust did not settle back to earth now, but disappeared into the darkening sky." (Grapes of Wrath 2)

Families that lived in Oklahoma, or surrounding areas, during the Dust Bowl attempted to leave the state to find better land and jobs in other places.

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