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John Steinbecks purpose in The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath entails a story of perseverance in dealing with oppressive labor conditions faced by migrant laborers during the Depression. Steinbecks purpose contrived by the novels tone, was to inform the public of the migrants plight. Through analyzing the effective use of diction, comparison of man to animal, and organization of alternating narrative with serious discussion about the Depression, one can see the purpose of The Grapes of Wrath. By using the actual dialect of the Okies the dialogue becomes very realistic. Thus, Steinbeck brings the story to the public causing the readers poignant involvement.

Tom Joad says: They gonna burn the camp tonight, Ma. Now you know I aint got in me to stan by an see our stuff burn up, nor Pa aint got it in him, nor Uncle John. Wed come up a-fightin, an I jus cant afford to be took in an mugged. The Joads are in a hobo town and when trouble got started the authorities usually burned down these towns. The meaning becomes more effective with using dialect than proper English because it shows how proud they are and enunciates their emotions. Furthermore, it shows how the migrants suffer random attacks by the police, land owners, and other local Californians because of their origins and accents.

In addition, Steinbeck subtley intertwines the idea that migrants are constantly being compared to animals or thought of as inhuman. For example, Tom Joad says: Theyre a-workin away at our spirits. Theyre a tryin to make us cringe an crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin to break us . . . Theyre workin on our decency. One feels the hardship of these people, they have nothing except the family around them and their humanity which is quickly dwindling. When the Joads leave a service station on the way to California there is another instance where they are thought of as less. The service station attendant says: They aint human.

This reinforces the general thought of Okies in the depression. Steinbeck achieves his purpose by making the comparison between man and animal apparent throughout the novel. However, the organization of The Grapes of Wrath is the most important characteristic of the novel. In affect it is two different basic stories. One is the narrative of the individual journey the Joad family experiences and the other is the general plight of migrant laborers in the Depression. The chapters trade off between the story of the Joads and the migrants accentual in whole describing and defeating the fiction about the Okies.

Steinbeck effectively conveys to the public the inhumane conditions and hardships of migrant laborers. Because Steinbeck focuses on displaying the dilemma of migrant laborers during the Depression, he creates a novel which opens the eyes of the public. By analyzing the aspect of dialogue, the idea of inhumanity, and effective organization, the tone of The Grapes of Wrath is ultimately achieved. In turn, all of this creates an unforgettable story of the hardships endured by migrant laborers in the 1930s.

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