During the California spring, the weather is beautiful and the produce is bountiful. However, there is too much produce to pick and distribute without lowering the prices. So the big farms decide to leave mountains of fruit out to spoil. Smaller farmers cannot afford to keep up with the industrial farms’ techniques, and their debt increases.
The industrial farms’ amazing capability to create bounty goes completely to waste. This is the ultimate symbol of their selfish perversion of nature.
Migrants drive to pick up discarded fruit, but men are dispatched to spray the fruit with kerosene and burn it. Children die of malnutrition while good food rots, all in order to inflate prices. “In the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
The quest for profits has driven the farms and their employees to absolute inhumanity. They waste food that could be used to save children's lives, only in order to increase their profits.