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Steinbeck Exhibit

A Prize in Every Box

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The toy surprise in every box was a novelty that was not included until 1912. The prizes varied from spintops to doll figurines, and was a way to further interest among children. However, they also included decorative pins that would have most likely been treasured even by adults. 

Ruthie and Winfield surely favored this snack over other potential buys in the market because of this novelty. Ruthie even gets in a fight with another girl at the campover her coveted box of Cracker Jack, which probably caused such a reaction not just because of a sweet snack but due to the value of the prize hiding inside as well. The scene gives some insight into just how destitute these families were, and the ways that the children involved chose to cope with it.