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Study Questions

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Incoming students who received the novel also received  a set of study questions that might help them think about the book. They have been asked to prepare a short written response (no more than one or two pages) to one of these questions which they should bring to their Monday small group discussion.  They will be collected by the discussion leaders, who will not grade them, but who will automatically enter them into a writing contest. The authors of the ten best short responses will each receive prizes of $200 toward the cost of books and have their responses posted here on the New Student Reading Project website.

Study Questions for The Grapes of Wrath (pdf)


Complete text of the winning essays (pdf)

  • Kate Pascucci - Kate Pascucci is a sophomore transfer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She spent her freshman year at SUNY Binghamton, and completed her guaranteed transfer this year into the Communication major. She is originally from Syracuse, NY, and, as a legacy, she’s wanted to study at Cornell her entire life. She has always loved writing and critical analysis, and hopes to pursue a career in either of those fields.
  • Da Eun Seong - Da Eun Seong is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences where she is pursuing an Economics and Chemistry major. She is South Korean but lived in China for fourteen years where she attended the Shanghai American School.
  • Emma Sheldon - Emma Sheldon is half American and half English, holding dual citizenship. However, she was born and raised in Singapore, where she lived until moving to Cornell this fall. She is currently a Fine Arts major in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
  • Erik Johnson - Erik Johnson is from Oregon, and is interested in studying biology/ecology and natural resources.
  • Nancy Li - Nancy Li is from Waterloo, Ontario in Canada. She is currently in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in chemical biology.
  • Emily Throwe - Emily Throwe comes from Wading River, NY on Long Island. She is an Animal Science major in CALS and is planning to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
  • Chase Meyer - Chase Meyer is from Southern California, Orange County. He is in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences studying Microbiology and Virology. He is interested studying HIV/AIDS, and then possibly doing research in that field.
  • Michael Alexander Kats-Rubin - Michael Alexander Kats-Rubin hails from the liberal island of Austin in the conservative sea of Texas. He has not yet declared a major, but he is interested in environmental business and policy and excited to be here at Cornell. This semester he has already started winning tournaments on the policy debate team and has started working at the Cornell University Agricultural Experimentation Station on a project to expand conservation and energy efficiency efforts here at CALS.
  • Spencer Chen - Spencer Chen hails from San Jose, California and is currently a prospective biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. In the future, Spencer hopes to become an intelligent, well-rounded human being and his ultimate goal in life is to be asked to write an article (subject irrelevant) for the World Encyclopedia. In his free time, Spencer enjoys using to its full capacity and reading.
  • Laura Van Winkle - Laura Van Winkle is a native of Cortland County. She received her Associates' Degree in Liberal Arts at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, before transferring to Cornell as a junior. She is striving towards a Communication Degree in the College of Agriculture and Life Science.