The yellowing, dusty, afternoon light put a golden color on the land. The cornstalks looked golden.

– John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 4. The colors gold and yellow are meant to symbolize prosperity and money. The color imagery is a reminder that the Oklahoma land was once rich and fruitful for those who farmed there. But while the afternoon sun appears to cast a hopeful light on the land, we know that the crops are bad in the Dust Bowl state.