Posted on October 11, 2021 at 11:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Coverage of the new Grapes of Wrath edition — which replicates John Steinbeck’s manuscript exactly — brought new attention to a small quirk of that draft.

At the very end appears the word “slut” in faint red ink.

A Steinbeck expert had recently told the Guardian that her theories were either a joke from Steinbeck’s wife Carol or graffiti from someone with access to the archives where it was stored.

Thanks to the attention that article received, Swedish scholars may have solved the mystery.

They reached out to Steinbeck expert Susan Shillinglaw to explain that “slut” is the Swedish expression for “the end.”

One scholar theorized — and Shillinglaw agreed — that the Steinbecks, being familiar with this expression, slipped it in as an inside joke.

Here's the Guardian's full update on the "slut" mystery.

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