The owners of the land came onto the land, or more often a spokesman for the owners came….if a bank or finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank—or the Company—needs—wants—insists—must have—as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time….
You see, a bank or a company…those creatures don’t breathe air, don’t eat side-meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don’t get it, they die….the bank—the monster has to have profits all the time. It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can’t stay one size…we have to do it. We don’t like to do it. But the monster’s sick. Something’s happened to the monster….
Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours….
We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.
Yes, but the bank is only made of men.
No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.
--John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, pp. 42-45