Grapes of Wrath Chapter 21
The trip west transformed the farmers into migrants. The fear, the constant moving, and the hostility changed them and united them. Men of property were united in terror of the migrants. "Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants." Chapter 21, pg. 362 They wanted to keep the Okies out of their stores and out of their schools. All the locals of the Western towns, whether they owned property or not, were united in cruelty towards the invading migrants, because they hated the squalid nature of the migrant lifestyle and were threatened by competition for their own jobs. Wages stayed down and prices went up.
"And now the great owners and the companies invented a new method. A great owner bought a cannery. And when the peaches and the pears were ripe he cut the price of fruit below the price of raising it. And as cannery owner he paid himself a low price for the fruit and kept the price of canned goods up and took his profit." Chapter 21, pg. 363 Small independent farmers continued to loose their property. Money that could have gone to pay higher wages went to monitoring and controlling the migrant threat. Owners ignored the fact that hunger easily turns into anger. "On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment." Chapter 21, pg. 363