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In dubious battle

In Dubious Battle it was the culmination of events such as the lowering of wages, unsafe equipment and unsanitary living conditions which finally motivated the workers to use their power to strike. Torgas valley was in the hands of the Growers Association, who by virtue of ownership of the orchards also held power. In our culture the suspicion that life can be unfair presents a cloud of injustice which gathers over the soul.

Initially the workers allowed the growers to have absolute power because they provided jobs. As the workers became a bigger part of the organization they began to see how they were treated unfairly. When the growers did not have absolute authority, force was utilized to support their power. The growers hired vigilantes to harass and kill the striking workers that refused to come back to work. Another way they implemented their power over the pickers was through substandard wages and over charging for food. This dehumanized the workers because it did not allow them to have any hope. Universally the pickers pretended to be content with the quality of their life in fear of losing the little they have. After they decided that they could know longer live under the horrid conditions that the owners put them under they executed their power to strike.

Since power is the ability of its holder to exact compliance or obedience of other individuals to his will on what so ever basis the strikers became a power. The owners no longer had absolute power over the strikers. The unification of the strikers increased their power, which commanded recognition from the growers. In recognition of sending a representative like Mr. Bolter into the camp to talk with London initialized the beginning of negations. However the power of the strikers was greater than he expected. The growers were the power elite who thought that the strikers' interest was only monetary. Instead it had become spiritual. The strikers misused their power as the growers did. They tried to use their force to make the scabs come over to the side of the strikers. The strikers used the threat of violence, actual violence and caused the death of a couple scab workers to emphasis their willingness to use this force.

Throughout John Steinbecks novel In Dubious Battle there was a power struggle between the mighty owners and the weaker workers. The owners were much more prestigious and feared, but when the workers were pushed to their limits they did indeed use the power that was available to them in the means of the strike. The pickers could not give into the demands of the owners because this would have defeated their purpose of the strike. On the other hand the Growers Association could not give into the pickers because they believed that this would have cost them to much money and made them out to be viewed as weak. This stubbornness of both sides caused a long and deadly strike that could have been avoided.

Power of individuals also played an important role in the strike of Torgas valley. Mac and Jim both had great influential power over London. London was a very powerful man in the eyes of the workers; he was a very large and respected man by his piers. He led the men into battle against the police, the vigilantes and the scabs. He was the most influential man to the workers. The most powerful man in the strike though was Mr. Bolter; he had the power of the Growers Association behind him. London, Jim, or Mac did not influence him, this ineffective communication between these men caused a great deal of tension leading up to the blood shed.

Each group, the growers and the pickers had their own responsibilities to society. The growers who were wealthy only saw one side and closed themselves to a broader spectrum of their responsibilities. The growers should have shared some of their wealth with the poor workers, just like parents share their wealth of knowledge with their younger less wise children, this makes them better well rounded citizens. If the growers had followed what Henry Ford did with his idea of the five-dollar workday much of this trouble would have been avoided. His basic concept was that if he could pay his workers enough they in turn would be able to purchase one of the automobiles that they were producing. Which means that Ford would be making money off the sales of cars to its employees. Also the higher pay would increase the morale of the workers, then the efficiency of production would be higher which means the work would get done faster and better. This concept made the economy stronger, made the workers richer and made Ford more profitable. If the growers had implemented this same idea with the pickers their morale would have been higher and the work would have been done with out a costly strike.

Source: Essay UK -

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