The Grapes of Wrath: Symbolic Characters

Struggling through such things as the depression, the Dust Bowl summers, and trying to provide for their own families, which included finding somewhere to travel to where life would be safe. Such is the story of the Joads. The Joads were the main family in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a book which was written in order to show what a family was going through, at this time period, and how they were trying to better their lives at the same time. It wouldn’t be enough for Steinbeck to simply write this story in very plain terms, as anyone could have simply logged an account of events and published it.

Critics have argued, however, that Steinbeck was too artificial in his ways of trying to gain some respect for the migrants. Regardless of the critical opinions, John Steinbeck utilized symbolism as a forum to convey the hardships and attitudes of the citizens of America during the 1930’s in his book The Grapes of Wrath. The first aspect of the novel that must be looked at when viewing the symbolic nature is that of the characters created by Steinbeck and how even the smallest facets of their person lead to a much larger meaning. The first goal that Steinbeck had in mind, was to appeal to the common Midwesterner at that ime.

The best way to go about doing this was to focus on one of the two things that nearly all migrants had in common, which was religion and hardships. Steinbeck creates a story about the journey of a family and mirrors it to that of biblical events. The entire family, in themselves, were like the Israelites. “They too flee from oppression, wander through the wilderness of hardships, seeking their own Promised Land” (Shockley, 91). Unfortunately, although the Israelites were successful, the Joads never really found what they could consider to be a promised land.

They were never lucky enough to really satisfy heir dreams of living a comfortable life. But, they were still able to improve on their situation. Another symbolic character that was undoubtedly more religious than anyone else taking the journey was Jim Casy. He was a preacher that was picked up along the way by the Joads. Steinbeck manages to squeeze in a lot about this character, and a lot of the background he creates about Mr. Casy shows just how much of a biblical man he really is supposed to be. So much so, that Steinbeck uses Jim Casy to symbolize Christ.

Oddly enough, his initials were not only the same as Jesus Christ, but much of his life is similar to the biblical accounts f Christ. Not only did he also begin his long trek after a stay in the wilderness, he also had rejected an old religion to try and find his own version of the gospel and convince people to follow him. His death, another aspect comparable to that of Christ, also occurred in the middle of a stream, which could represent the “crossing over Jordan” account. “Particularly significant, however, are Casy’s last words directed to the man who murders him” (Shockley, 92-93).

Jim’s last words are to forgive the man who kills him with a pickax. He tells him “You don’t know what you’re a-doing,” which is a simple allusion to he statement by Jesus to God when He is being crucified and asks his Father to forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. In this novel, even the title is a Christian allusion. The title is “a direct Christian allusion, suggesting the glory of the coming of the Lord” (Shockley, 90). Looking at the main character of the story, Tom Joad, even more Christian symbolism is seen.

Tom Joad is almost a direct fit for the story of the “prodigal son” from the bible. He is the son that must lead everyone across in a great journey, while symbolically already wandering from the favor of God by killing a man in self-defense. Tom must find a way to forget about this event and continue to keep his goal of getting to California (and his Promised Land) in sight. He understands that he must stay determined and persevere because he is an example and a leader to his family and he cannot allow any internal event to slow him down.

Rose of Sharon, the daughter of the family, also has a very religious connotation; her religious meaning is not so much symbolic of a specific person or event in the bible, but more of an example of Christian values. The great hardship in her life was the fact that the child she was pregnant with the whole tory, and the one that kept her from doing work necessary to everyone’s survival, was stillborn. Now, after going through all this, she had to face the reality of living without her child and the reality of her husband walking out on her.

Even after all this when the Joads come upon the old man in the barn “the two women [Ma Joad and Rose of Sharon] looked deep into each other’s eyes. Not my will, but Thine be done. ” (Shockley, 94) Rose knows that even though she had lost her own child, she must now take another, and the fact that Steinbeck has her say “Thine will be done” is because she knows that it is in fact God’s ill that she is serving, and that is much more important than any problem she has. Next, the women in the story are an example of the mentality of the “indestructible woman. ”

The greatest example of this is the eldest, Ma Joad. Ma Joad stands out in Steinbeck’s work as a complete and positive characterization of a woman” (Gladstein, 118). She is the only character in the novel that appears to be flawless on every level, not just as someone who does monotonous chores throughout the story. She stands as a shining example of a woman who refuses to back down, no matter what the obstacles at hand. Some of he obstacles included Grandma’s death, the desertion of Noah, the leaving behind of the Wilsons followed by Connie’s departure, the murder of Casy, Tom becoming a fugitive, Rose of Sharon’s baby being stillborn, and being surrounded by starvation and depression.

She uses al of her strength and willpower to help deal with these tragedies. One of the biggest examples of her undying strength and love is the way she help Rose of Sharon deal with her pregnancy and the loss of her baby. She helps keep the family together, and if that meant giving every ounce of spirit and energy that she had, she’d do it because of the love she had or her family.

Steinbeck creates her as that indestructible woman because he wants to convince the migrants of the 1930’s to follow in the footsteps of Ma Joad, and ultimately, mirror the journey of the entire Joad family. Warren French explains exactly what Steinbeck’s intent with having the characters, especially Ma Joad, develop the way they do throughout the novel: The story that Steinbeck sought to tell does end, furthermore, with Ma Joad’s discovery that it is no longer the “fambly” alone that one must “give a han’,” but “everybody.

As I wrote in my own study of Steinbeck, answer the harge that the tale is inconclusive, the scene in the barn “marks the end of the story that Steinbeck has to tell about the Joads,” because “their education is completed What happens to them now depends upon the ability of the rest of society to learn the same lesson they have already learned. ” (93-94) Rose of Sharon is another woman who shows indestructibility.

She also has to deal with her stillborn baby and all of what Ma Joad had to go through, but she still attempts to continue on and help Ma whenever she can. Bedraggled and burdened, deserted by her husband, Rose of Sharon still drags herself out of ed to do her part in earning money for support of the family” (Gladstein, 122). In the novel Steinbeck writes about she tries how because of the way she tried so hard to help, that she was constantly vomiting, just to keep up with regular chores, yet her spirit remained unwavering. With all of this occurring around her, one of the novel’s greatest Christian allusions comes from her character.

In the climactic event at the end of the novel, Rose of Sharon looked at the old man who needed her milk and just smiled. “This is my body, says Rosasharn, and becomes the Resurrection and the Life. In her, life and death are one, and through her, life triumphs over death” (Shockley, 94). She gives herself for that of another, and that is a major Christian principle. Besides the characters, the events in the story are also an example of how Steinbeck uses symbolism. This is the second major way that Steinbeck uses symbolism in this story.

There are several examples which show how perserverent the human spirit could be in times of trouble. The trek itself shows how committed to their dreams the Joads were. They had to risk everything just to find work and a place to live. Also, the characters in the story had to adapt o the events that were happening to them throughout the journey. For example, Tom first got his idea of transportation when he saw the tractor at the beginning of the story and remembered that tractors were just now starting to cover the plains all the time, so they must be able to make it in some kind of machine.

When Tom visits the car dealer, he comes away with a car that didn’t quite fit their needs, but he made it work. Another example is how the family learns to use every item, the realize how valuable every single item they have isto their existence, and it becomes more and more clear every single day as the ituation becomes more and more harsh. Also, the kindness of the human spirit is shown in Steinbeck’s novel through these events. The main example in the novel is when the waitress in the caf lets the poor migrant have a free loaf of bread just to continue his journey.

She is then rewarded with two big tips from the next customers, who are truckers that come through to eat. This is a shining example of the old adage “kindness breeds kindness” (Carlson, 97). Then, when Rose of Sharon took care of the old man in the barn, she ends up symbolically gaining a child where before she had lost her own. These two were both examples of human kindness and in both instances, the people were rewarded for their kindness. These examples are also examples of a major principle in Christianity which is to do unto others as you would like done to you.

The third and final major aspect of symbolism shown in The Grapes of Wrath is the role that nature plays in the story. It is unquestioned that nature plays a big part in the lives of the Joads simply because their journey takes place in the middle of the plains where weather, such as rain, can easily become a harsh hazard since there is really no shelter from it and they really ave no other option that to continue trudging forward as much as possible.

Weather is shown in this as both a destroying and regenerative force. Steinbeck goes on to depict in lyrical prose the disintegration of the house before the almost delicate onslaught of nature: rain, weeds, dust, wind” (Owens, 79). Nature then knows that the house is no longer useful to the Joads and “reclaims it as its own” (Owens, 79). One of the most interesting parts of this work is what is known by Steinbeck as the “interchapters. ” Steinbeck includes several chapters throughout the novel which simply act as a symbolic reference to some other idea, hat at first glance, have no meaning to the story, but these stories symbolically prove a point for Steinbeck.

The first, and most famous, of these is the journey of the turtle. Steinbeck opens a chapter by simply describing a turtle that is struggling to cross a highway. Steinbeck goes through great detail to explain much about the turtle and its own little journey, but he really doesn’t say much about the purpose. That is because it is so clear. The turtle is simply heading somewhere and must cross the road. It struggles and struggles and when it finally gets close to the other side a truck comes by and nocks it across the road anyway, unharmed.

The moral is that the turtle made it across, but if it had tried any less, it might have been hit by the tire instead of just being brushed aside by it. Another story symbolic of the plight of the farmer is the ant lion trap which is analogous to the fact that most farmers were scurrying around trying to acquire land and supplies to live but avoid being caught at the same time. Of course, not everyone can succeed, so Steinbeck inserts the story of the Joad’s dog being hit by the truck.

Not everyone is going to be as lucky as the turtle in their efforts, and this lesson omes at a price to the Joads. Machines played a major part in this story in the way was created because of the fact that machines were taking over everything in the farming community and workers weren’t really needed anymore. Not only were machines one of the causes of the migration in the first place, but they also directly cause several deaths in the story. It is stated in the novel that “one man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families.

Through this manner, Steinbeck shows in the plot itself how machines add to the complexity of the situation. He then uses the interchapters to show how much effect they had on ature and animals as well as humans. “Tom sees the No Riders’ sticker on the tractor as an example of how inhuman machinery has become” (Griffin, 222). It is then very symbolic when they meet at the beginning of the journey westward and must meet at the truck, which is seen as the only “real” thing left, since the house is demolished.

The truck was never meant to be of any “real” significance in the first place, for it is a machine. Lastly, Steinbeck made great reference to animals throughout the story. He used them repeatedly to show how people were acting and to describe things and events, as well as foreshadow future happenings. One example of the description of people was the reference to Muley Grave’s sex drive in his younger days, when “he describes his first experience as snorting like a buck deer, randy as a billygoat” (Griffin, 220).

Then a reference to nature again being like farmers is when the moths circling the fire are pointed out, they are just like the farmers circling a town, looking for opportunity and waiting to enter. Then, animals are also used in foreshadowing death (be it the dog or Rose of Sharon’s baby) by the circling of buzzards overhead. Steinbeck loved to use more minor events in nature to explain the trials and tribulations of the Joads. Although Steinbeck created this highly acclaimed world of symbolism, it is not without its fault, at least according to some interpretations.

Steinbeck goes to great lengths to create this world of symbolism with very intricate characters which he wants the reader to understand to be his representation of the public during the 1930’s. Unfortunately, some found his book to be all too artificial. “Complete literalness in such matters doesn’t necessarily simulate life in literature” (Moore, 59). The dispute here is whether or not Steinbeck is attempting to overglorify the attempts or the migrants. Many Midwesterners id feel quite a bit of harshness enter their lives when trying to live through the 1930’s, but it is hard to say if the Joads had life as tough as most.

However, Henry Moore states that the shining examples of good symbolism and truth in The Grapes of Wrath come in the interchapters, such as the turtle and tractor tales. The problem though, as he states it, is that “the contrapuntal chapters about the Joad family don’t always have the continuous strength to carry them” (Moore, 60). Basically Dr. Moore is saying that if Steinbeck really wanted to use symbolism in this story to show the trials and tribulations of the igrants in the 1930’s, he should have kept the story more realistic and down- to-earth in its approach to the topic.

Overall, John Steinbeck did appeal to the Midwesterners through his book The Grapes of Wrath. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962 while The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. He managed to explain many events of the current time period through his use symbolism, and obviously, many readers enjoyed it. By using characters, nature and events for forms of symbolism, Steinbeck keeps the reader interested and at the same time conveys his thoughts and beliefs.

Literary Paper of The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck

Steinbeck wrote many wonderful books but a great classic is one titled The Grapes of Wrath. This is a story of a family called the Joads, and a tale of a courageous family who sought security and family unity. In my paper I will examine the different ways the Joads tried to keep united whether just within their immediate family or eventually with all the others who shared the same struggles and sufferings. Steinbeck’s dialogue and description’s of the dusty roads, the men squatting in the dirt drawing pictures while making major decisions, the way in which they traveled all puts you right into the middle of the family.

One becomes aware and wants to be a part of there unity and their long for security. Steinbeck’s use of the characters dialect is astoundingly excellent and unmistakenly realistic of the Joad’s culture. Without this dialogue, it would not be as intense and vivid. J. Homer Caskey, in “Letters to the Editor” says, “Steinbeck’s knowledge of the forces which hold a family together and the forces which cause it to disintegrate. He understands that family councils are an important part of the lives of the Joads.

The major theme is the struggle and survival of the Joad family from the ime they lost their home, to the unity they felt and soon were a part of a whole community, one big family, and one big soul. This theme is particularly exemplified by Ma Joad, who played a major part. The Joads encountered a constant struggle to keep the family going and intact. When Ma knew that gramma Joad was dying she told her that there was nothing she could do, that the family needed to get across the desert that night. It was not until they were across the desert that she let the family know that Gramma Joad had died during the night.

Ma Joad was the strong but yet understanding one of the family. She istened to pa and obeyed his wishes, until she had to be strong and stand her ground. Ma was convinced and had to be forceful with pa and show him that she was capable of making decisions. After this confrontation with pa the other family members began to see ma differently and looked to her for the final approval.

John Steinbeck, in “The Grapes of Wrath” says, “On’y way you gonna get me to go is whup me… Ma Joad takes on Pa in order to keep the family from going off too far. Tom Joad represented the man of the family and provided support through his strength. I believe that Tom Joad kept the family in line. As they went on ith their trails, the fact that he had been in prison kept the whole family from doing anything that might incriminate or send him back. They held their tongues at times when they encountered prejudice and degrading comments from people. Tom’s role in the story was that of one to look up to, and even though he spent time in prison he still held on to the big brother figure.

Gary at first seemed to be a loner, although once he was made to be a part of the family, he began to look within himself and to the meaning of life. He seemed to find a new direction in life. John Steinbeck, in “The Grapes of Wrath” says, “I ain’t gonna baptize. I’m gonna work i the fiel’s, in the green fiel’s, an I’m gonna be near to folks. I ain’s gonna try to teach ’em nothin, I’m gonna try to lear. Gonna learn why the folks walks in the grass, gonna hear ’em talk, gonna hear ’em sing. Gonna listen to kids eatin mush.

Gonna hear husban an wife a-poundin’ the mattress in the night. Gonna eat with ’em an learn. ” Gonna lay in the grass, open an’ honest with anybody that’ll have me. Gonna cuss an’ swear an’ hear the peotry of folks talkin. All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn understan. All them things is the good things. ” Rose of Sharon had her dreams and did nothing but wonder about what her reams would bring. She wanted Connie to study at night and work at the ice store. She wanted the best for her with her baby.

She constantly dreamed of them in their nice little house all alone as a family. Rose of Sharon only thought of herself, her baby and her dreams. She gave no interest to the family, contributed nothing but the burden of her dreams and selfishness. Until she experienced the self fulfilling pleasure of helping someone else and realized that sometimes helping someone else can be more rewarding. It is said that this story is fiction, an invention of the human mind, but to a great degree it is true. The lives of so many people were tractored off the land.

Survival forced them to accept their fate and to battle for the survival of the family unit. James N. Vaughan, in “The Commonweal” says, “The story of the disastrous move to the west is a story of death, desertion and hunger. It is the story of …. of whose existence has been destroyed for reasons of which they had but the dimmest understanding. ” In conclusion, as the Joads continued their struggle for survival, they became a living and challenging part of the forgotten American dream. “There is a sense that man can survive in nature if he is, in turn, himself natural. “

Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men: Character Study

The American Novelist, John Steinbeck was a powerful writer of dramatic stories about good versus bad. His own views on writing were that not only should a writer make the story sound good but also the story written should teach a lesson. In fact, Steinbeck focused many of his novels, not on average literary themes rather he tended to relay messages about the many hard truths of life in The United States. Upon winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 the Swedish academy introduced him by saying “He had no mind to be an unoffending comforter and entertainer.

Instead, the topics he chose were serious and enunciatory” This serious focus was not exempt from his two works “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men”. “The Grapes of Wrath” has been recognized by many as “the greatest novel in American History” and it remains among the archetypes of American culture. Although “Of Mice and Men” may not have received as much fanfare as the other it is still a great classic that was recently made into a motion picture. The focus of “The Grapes of Wrath” Is one family, the Joads, who has been kicked off their Oklahoma farm and forced to move to California to look for work.

The story has historical significance as it is true that many families were forced, in the same way as the Joads, to leave their homes to look for work during the depression. It is in this fact that one can see how Steinbeck’s intention in “The grapes of Wrath” was to depict the hardships people went through during an actual event in American history. Perhaps the most solemn message in this novel was the poor treatment of the dispossessed families as they reached California.

In “Of Mice and Men” the reader is presented with a story that takes place in the same setting of “The Grapes of Wrath” This story etails the hardships of two traveling companions while they are working at a ranch in California. The common thread between these two novels is not necessarily the plot or the setting rather, it is the way in which Steinbeck relays his message. That is to say that, although both novels carry different story lines they both portray hard truths about human suffering. Steinbeck reveals these truths through his depiction of characters.

In each story it seems that the characters were crafted by Steinbeck in a bias manner so as to emphasize the overall message of the book. It is quite obvious that all of Steinbeck’s characters are either good or bad. Steinbeck himself said “as with all retold tales that are in people’s heart’s there are only good and bad things and black and white things and no in-between anywhere” In both novels the dispossessed characters are good and well intentioned and the wealthy people are brutal and mean.

This of course is done to make the situation seem all that more hard on the dispossessed characters. In “The Grapes of Wrath” the character of young Tom Joad is a prime example of how bias Steinbeck’s portrayal was. With a quick glance at the history of Tom’s life one would say that he is not really the good guy. Yet after reading “The Grapes of Wrath” the reader feels sorry for Tom and all of his faults are justified because of his situation.

Likewise, the characters of Ma and the preacher, Jim Casey do not fit their traditional roles but, again, their actions are justified by Steinbeck. In the same way, the book “Of Mice and Men” portrays two men (Lennie and George) running from the law, looking for work. Lennie is a mentally handicap person who brings most of the trouble to he pair. Yet, despite all of his downsides the reader is made to feel sorry for him. George is portrayed in a good way until the end of the book where he kills Lennie, and even then the reader feels for George because of the predicament he is in.

The rest of the characters in both novels are the rich and powerful. In “The grapes of Wrath” these rich people were not even given names and Steinbeck’s dislike for them is obvious. This fact truly illustrates the message he is trying to get across . In “Of mice and Men” the boss and his son Curley are portrayed as the bad guys. Note: This is only my introduction unfortunately due to some extenuating circumstances I have not had enough time to do a complete rough draft. My plan is to characterize the characters in light of Steinbeck’s bias portrayals and illustrate how the technique he used was effective in getting his point across.

My next four points or paragraphs will be: 1. ) Description of Tom Joad how he was bad yet good in the sense that his actions were bad but his cause was for the better. 2. ) Description of Ma and the preacher, how they were characterized out of their traditional roles and how their straying form the norm was ustified and helped relay to the reader the desperation of the family’s situation. 3. ) The roles of Lennie and George, how they were outcasts and Lennie killed a women yet the reader felt sorry for them both because they were on the opposite side of a greater injustice. 4. ) Portrait of the rich and powerful. How Steinbeck’s ignorance of not giving them names proved he did not like them. Every time they came up in the story they were doing something bad. And my conclusion. Hopefully I will get a chance to see you today, I have third period prep so I will look for you and we could chat. Thanx.

Contrasting Rich and Poor in Grapes of Wrath

One of the ironies of Steinbecks novel, The Grapes of Wrath was that, as Ma Joad said, “If your in trouble or hurt or need — go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help — the only ones. “(pg 335) The irony is that if you need something you have to go to the people who have nothing. There are many examples of this in the book. The first example of this is at the truck station in chapter 15 when the restaurant owner and waitress give the family bread at a discounted rate, and candy two for a penny when it is actually nickel candy.

The truck drivers then leave large tips to the waitress. Neither the truck driver nor the restaurant owner and waitress are very rich but they are generous anyway. In chapter seventeen the person at the car dump gives Tom and Al things for way discounted rates. Ma Joad is also an example of this. The Joads are poor and yet they give what little they have to the children who need it. They also stay and help the Wilsons when it just slowed them down. Another example is when the small land owner that Tom first gets work warns them of the plot of the Farmer’s Association to raid the government camp.

The clerk in the company store in chapter twenty-four is also generous, lending Ma ten cents so that she can get sugar for the coffee. These acts of generosity are contrasted to how the rich people are trying to rip off the migrants. Chapter seven shows how the car dealer rip the people off by selling them pieces of junk for high prices. They use cheep tricks such as pouring sawdust into the gears or transmission to cut down the noise of the car and hide problems. They take advantage of the tenant farmers ignorance of cars and interest rates to make a profit.

Chapter nine shows how junk dealers bought all the things from the tenant farmers at a very low price. The farmers have to leave and can’t take the stuff with them, so they take advantage of the fact that the farmers have no choice but to sell them at whatever price they name. Chapters nineteen, twenty-one, and twenty-five are general chapters that show how the large land owners are cheating the migrants and smaller land owners to make a larger profit. They show how the land owners hire guards and lowered the wages to break their spirit and keep them from organizing.

We see through the Joad’s experiences that the owners would cut the wages because they knew the people were starving and that they were hungry enough to take any wage. Meanwhile they dumped or burned excess food to keep the prices high and put guards around them to keep the migrants from getting them. The company store also tries to rip the migrants off by charging extra for things because it costs gas to go to the nearest town. Throughout Steinbecks novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the acts of kindness by poor people are contrasted to the greed and meanness of the rich.

How the behavior of the Joads shows Steinbecks view of the responsibility of the individual to society as a whole

Chapter 14 made an interesting point. At one point in the chapter it was stated that a farmer lost his farm. As this mans family picks up their belongings and heads west they meet up with another family dealing with a similar situation. Now these two families share a common bond. A brotherhood is forming. This is the catalyst. No longer is it one farmer saying he lost his land but two farmers united saying they lost their land. Much the same transformation happens to the Joad family especially to the characters of Ma, Young Tom, and Rose of Sharon.

At the onset of the novel we see the Joad family struggling just to keep their immediate family together. They are focused on just themselves. By the end of this wonderful book we see the Joad family branching out in many different ways to embrace all of mankind as one big family. Ma Joads main concern at the beginning of the story is her family. She wants to keep the unit together and works diligently to achieve this goal. However, one by one, family members leave the group for various reasons leading to the slow but sure disintegration of the Joad clan.

The first to go is Noah; then Grandpa and Grandma die;Connie walks off and leaves Rose of Sharon; Young Tom leaves because he has gotten into trouble again; and Al becomes engaged and decides to go with his fiancees family. Ma deals with each loss as best she can. As the story progresses, we find Ma Joad becoming more and more concerned with people outside the family unit. She feels the need to share whatever meager food and belongings her family has with other families enduring hardships.

She saw the needs of her own family at the beginning of the story and by the end of the novel, she sees the needs of her fellow man. Young Tom appears to be self-centered when he if first introduced. He has just left prison after serving four years for murder. Tom want to enjoy life to the fullest and to be with his family. He is very disturbed to find the family home deserted and almost destroyed. He by this time has reacquainted himself with Jim Casey, an ex-preacher.

The more Tom listens to Jim and his views on life, the soul of man, and the fellowship of mankind, the less he focuses on himself and his needs. He then begins to focus on the plight and abuse of the homeless farmers. He starts to realize that in order for the migrant workers to survive and succeed they must unite. He knows that if they band together as one, they can demand that their God-given rights under the constitution be honored. They can begin to gain respect from their fellow man. After Jim is killed, Tom takes up the cause of “his” people.

He plans to work with them. Just as Jim taught him, Tom realizes that man is no good alone and that every mans soul is just a piece of a bigger one. Rose of Sharon is totally focused on herself from the beginning. She is pregnant for the first time and in love with her husband so her little world is complete. She constantly bemoans the fact that she needs nutritious food so her baby will be healthy. She is always concerned that what she does or what others do to her will hurt her baby in some way.

She is so wrapped up in herself and the baby she is carrying that she does not realize that her family is falling apart. She whines and moans her way through most of the book until her baby is born dead. The death of her child seems to transform her. At the very end of the novel she breast feeds a dying man. To me this is symbolic of drinking from the milk of human kindness. She gives of herself to save another human being. She too is learning about the fellowship of man.

Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath

Throughout reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and viewing the video The Grapes of Wrath, the reader will begin to question the presentations as to which portrayal of the Great Depression is more realistic and accurate. We all know that the Great Depression was a time of economic struggle in America, as well as a time of war in Germany. Unfortunately America has only viewed the Great Depression on a bit picture basis, not having the chance to see the lives of one or a few of Americans until we begin to read of the events that went on during the Depression.

America has the privilege of seeing the lives of two American families: the Joad Family of The Grapes of Wrath and a pair of misfit friends, George and Lennie, shown in Of Mice and Men. While analyzing the two families the reader begins to wonder which group did a better job showing America the real view of the Great Depression. The basic conclusions is that The Grapes of Wrath is more realistic based on three main themes of the stories: Job situation, relationships with other people, and the family’s goals in ending the Great Depression.

In Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie have a steady job for the most part. Although their work isn’t always the greatest, they always have a source of income and housing as well as the knowledge that if they continued to do good work that they would have a job for as long as they would stay. They know this because of a man they meet at their latest job, named Candy. Candy has been working at the farm for a very long time. An obvious intimation that work at the farm is available for long lengths of time. As far as George and Lennie can see they are set for now.

They can’t imagine a better way to live during the depression than with decent wages, housing, and a steady flow of work. George and Lennie’s situation during the Great Depression is also very easy because they have friends during the depression. Anywhere the two of them work not only do they have each other, but easily make friends at their job sites. The Great Depression is a time when one would need good friends to help you make it through the rough times. George and Lennie meet Slim and Candy at their job, and it seems to help them survive the road ahead.

The two even befriend a black man, Crooks. “What you doin’ in Crooks’ room. you hadn’t ought to be in here. ” Crooks nodded. “I told’ em, but they come in anyways. ” “Well, why’n’t you kick em out? ” “I di’n’t care much,” said Crooks. “Lennie’s a nice fella. ” (Page 82) Furthermore, George and Lennie have many plans for the time to come after the Great Depression, which includes their newfound friends. Thus, not only do they make friends, but also their new friendships are key to surviving the hard times.

George and Lennie have an amazingly easy time making friends quickly with the people around them, most likely because of their striking resemblances in personality and goals. George and Lennie not only strive to make it through the depression, but to make it through well. The two have plans for after the depression is over. Their plan to “Live off the fatta land,” is not just a dream to them, but a very realistic goal. “Well, we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens.

And when it ains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof-Nuts! ” (pages 14&15) They are working hard to get enough money to make a down payment on their future house, and they are also making plans bout how to live and prosper in their new land. Obviously George and Lennie can attribute their survival to their job situation, relationships with other people, and their goals upon the end of the Great Depression.

Continuing on the analyzation of which portrayal is better, looking deeper into these three themes leads the reader to realize that The Grapes of Wrath includes not only a superb storyline, but also a better depiction of the Great Depression. While the Joads are trying hard to survive the depression, they are always on the road, traveling from one place to another, with no promises of where they will sleep that night, or whether or not they will even have a meal. Since the Joads are constantly traveling, they also do not have any work.

Their false sense of hope is placed in a handbill they receive about a job, which ends up being a lie. The Joads endure living in tents wherever they could find land to stay on, and t times their car served as a makeshift living place, with even worse conditions than the tent. The unstable living conditions prove that the Joads have a very tough time making it through the Depression, furthermore, those conditions don’t even include the lack of food, comfort and relationships with other people. Not only do the Joads have a hard enough time not getting on each other’s nerves, they also cannot make friends because they travel so much.

Tome Joad meets one friend on the road that he knew before the journey. Joad and Casey become friends for a short while during the Joad family’s trek across America. As if the Joads don’t have a hard enough time dealing with no food, no friends, no job, but they are also ran out of the camps they can find. Many of their camps are burned down, or they are threatened so in order to save their lives they need to run away. The Joads choose to live their lives day by day in hopes that they will wake up one morning and everything will be peachy again.

Because of this they have no goals except to get enough food to eat at the next meal. Their only dream is to survive the depression. Therefore their living conditions are terrible, but their mental condition is also suffering. The Joads have a hard journey and the mental state they are in doesn’t lighten the load. By not having a steady job, good relationships with people other than family, and a goal in ending the Great Depression the Joad family has a very hard time surviving, which proves to the reader that the more realistic portrayal of the Great Depression is The Grapes of Wrath.

The differences between Steinbeck’s two depictions are not only obvious, although somewhat false, it shows two very different sides of the Great Depression. Neither one is always true to ever Great Depression story, but The Grapes of Wrath shows the reader the realistic side of the majority of America’s dealings with the Great Depression. Therefore the reader will conclude that The Grapes of Wrath depicts the Great Depression better than the story in Of Mice and Men for the inclusive details.

The literary techniques in The Grapes of Wrath

Authors often use many styles and techniques in their novels. They use certain methods in order to make their stories seem more real. John Steinbeck uses many literary techniques in The Grapes of Wrath to help the reader better understand the story. The interchapters in The Grapes of Wrath often foreshadow the regular chapters. They are more of a general picture as to what went on during that time period in America.

The regular chapters are meant to represent a specific family, the Joads, and document their journey to California and usually the interchapters have something to do ith the story line of the Joads adventures. The interchapters became predictable as the story progressed, and after awhile the two different types of chapters gave the story a John Steinbeck uses a certain dialect throughout the whole story which makes the reader see how people talked during that time period.

This also aids the reader in feeling like they are part of the story, and it helps him to understand the way things were back then. Many slang words and phrases typical of the early 1900s are used to make the conversations true to life. For instance, in the first chapter at the roadside diner, the onversation between the customer and the waitress right away tell the reader the kind of dialect that will be used during the story. Steinbeck has a very distinctive style of writing.

He uses many descriptive phrases and words to help give the reader a clear picture as to what is happening in the story. His use of alliteration and repetition makes the sentences and paragraphs easier to follow because of the rhythm and flow that is added to them. Steinbeck uses symbolism in order to show the importance of some ideals and main themes of the novel. For example, the turtle that was walking across the road represents the long, treacherous ourneys that many families took to get to California.

The dust that settled over the crops symbolizes the harshness that fell over the many farms, therefore forcing the people off of the land. Rose of Sharons stillborn baby shows the reader that long, painful journeys, filled with many problems along the way, sometimes amount to nothing in the end. In order to understand the story and its many hidden meanings, the reader must pick up on Steinbecks style of writing. These writing techniques of Steinbeck aid the reader in his analysis of The Grapes of Wrath.

Grapes Of Wrath By Steinbeck

Explain how the behavior of the Joads shows Steinbecks view of the responsibility of the individual to society as a whole. Chapter 14 made an interesting point. At one point in the chapter it was stated that a farmer lost his farm. As this mans family picks up their belongings and heads west they meet up with another family dealing with a similar situation. Now these two families share a common bond. A brotherhood is forming. This is the catalyst. No longer is it one farmer saying he lost his land but two farmers united saying they lost their land.

Much the same transformation happens to the Joad family especially to the characters of Ma, Young Tom, and Rose of Sharon. At the onset of the novel we see the Joad family struggling just to keep their immediate family together. They are focused on just themselves. By the end of this wonderful book we see the Joad family branching out in many different ways to embrace all of mankind as one big family. Ma Joads main concern at the beginning of the story is her family. She wants to keep the unit together and works diligently to achieve this goal.

However, one by one, family members leave the group for various reasons leading to the slow but sure disintegration of the Joad clan. The first to go is Noah; then Grandpa and Grandma die;Connie walks off and leaves Rose of Sharon; Young Tom leaves because he has gotten into trouble again; and Al becomes engaged and decides to go with his fiancees family. Ma deals with each loss as best she can. As the story progresses, we find Ma Joad becoming more and more concerned with people outside the family unit.

She feels the need to share whatever meager food and belongings her family as with other families enduring hardships. She saw the needs of her own family at the beginning of the story and by the end of the novel, she sees the needs of her fellow man. Young Tom appears to be self-centered when he if first introduced. He has just left prison after serving four years for murder. Tom want to enjoy life to the fullest and to be with his family. He is very disturbed to find the family home deserted and almost destroyed.

He by this time has reacquainted himself with Jim Casey, an ex-preacher. The more Tom listens to Jim and his views on life, the soul of man, and the fellowship of mankind, the less he focuses on himself and his needs. He then begins to focus on the plight and abuse of the homeless farmers. He starts to realize that in order for the migrant workers to survive and succeed they must unite. He knows that if they band together as one, they can demand that their God-given rights under the constitution be honored. They can begin to gain respect from their fellow man.

After Jim is killed, Tom takes up the cause of “his” people. He plans to ork with them. Just as Jim taught him, Tom realizes that man is no good alone and that every mans soul is just a piece of a bigger one. Rose of Sharon is totally focused on herself from the beginning. She is pregnant for the first time and in love with her husband so her little world is complete. She constantly bemoans the fact that she needs nutritious food so her baby will be healthy. She is always concerned that what she does or what others do to her will hurt her baby in some way.

She is so wrapped up in herself and the baby she s carrying that she does not realize that her family is falling apart. She whines and moans her way through most of the book until her baby is born dead. The death of her child seems to transform her. At the very end of the novel she breast feeds a dying man. To me this is symbolic of drinking from the milk of human kindness. She gives of herself to save another human being. She too is learning about the fellowship of man. In conclusion, as the Joad family seemingly disintegrates, they actually merge in to a larger, more universal family the family of man.

Farm Subsidies: A Necessary Evil

Subsidies are payments, economic concessions, or privileges given by the government to favor businesses or consumers. In the 1930s, subsidies were designed to favor agriculture. John Steinbeck expressed his dislike of the farm subsidy system of the United States in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. In that book, the government gave money to farms so that they would grow and sell a certain amount of crops. As a result, Steinbeck argued, many people starved unnecessarily. Steinbeck examined farm subsidies from a personal level, showing how they hurt the common man.

Subsidies have a variety f other problems, both on the micro and macro level, that should not be ignored. Despite their benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional part of our economic system. The problems of the American farmer arose in the 1920s, and various methods were introduced to help solve them. The United States still disagrees on how to solve the continuing problem of agricultural overproduction. In 1916, the number of people living on farms was at its maximum at 32,530,000. Most of these farms were relatively small (Reische 51). Technological advances in the 1920’s brought a variety of effects.

The use of machinery increased productivity while reducing the need for as many farm laborers. The industrial boom of the 1920s drew many workers off the farm and into the cities. Machinery, while increasing productivity, was very expensive. Demand for food, though, stayed relatively constant (Long 85). As a result of this, food prices went down. The small farmer was no longer able to compete, lacking the capital to buy productive machinery. Small farms lost their practicality, and many farmers were forced to consolidate to compete. Fewer, larger farms resulted (Reische 51).

During the Depression, unemployment grew while income shrank. “An extended drought had aggravated the farm problem during the 1930s (Reische 52). ” Congress, to counter this, passed price support legislation to assure a profit to the farmers. The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936 allowed the government to limit acreage use for certain soil-depleting crops. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 allowed the government to set the minimum price and amount sold of a good at the market. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, farmers were given price supports for not growing crops.

These allowed farmers to mechanize, which was necessary because of the scarcity of farm labor during World War II (Reische 52). During World War II, demand for food increased, and farmers enjoyed a period of general prosperity (Reische 52). In 1965, the government reduced surplus by getting farmers to set aside land for soil conservation (Blanpied 121). The Agricultural Act of 1970 gave direct payments to farmers to set aside some of their land (Patterson 129). The 1973 farm bill lowered aid to farmers by lowering the target income for price supports. The 1970s were good years for farmers.

Wheat and corn prices tripled, land prices doubled, and farm exports outstripped imports by twenty-four billion dollars (Long 88). Under the Carter administration, farm support was minimized. Competition from foreign markets, like Argentina, lowered prices and incomes (Long 88). Ronald Reagan wanted to wean the farm community from government support. Later on in his administration, though, he started the Payments In Kind policy, in which the government paid farmers not to grow major crops. Despite these various efforts, farms continue to deal with the problems that rose in the 1920s.

Farm subsidies seem to have benefits for the small farmer. “Each year since 1947, there has been a net out-migration of farm people (Reische 53). ” American farm production has tripled since 1910 while employment has fallen eighty percent (Long 82). Small family farms have the lowest total family incomes (Long 83). Farming is following a trend from many small farms to a few large farms. Competition among farmers has increased supply faster than demand. New seed varieties, better pest control, productive machinery, public investments in irrigation and transportation, and better management ill increase farm output.

The resulting oversupply of farm products, which creates a low profit margin, drives smaller farms out of business. Smaller farms lack the capital and income to buy the machinery they need to compete with larger farms (Long 85). Many see this tendency towards consolidation and mechanization of farms to be harmful to the United States in the long run, and they see subsidies as a way of achieving a social desire to preserve the family farm. “If the family farm represents anything, it’s a very intimate and fundamental relationship between people and resources (MacFadyen 138). ” Fewer arms mean fewer jobs and a higher concentration of wealth.

Ten 30,000-acre farms may produce as much food as a hundred 3000-acre farms, but the former supports machinery; the latter, community (MacFadyen 138). Farm subsidies are designed to prevent the extinction of the small farmer. Despite the social benefits, subsidies have many problems. The subsidy system is often wasteful; the government finances irrigation systems in the California Imperial Valley, and then pays farmers not to grow crops on it (Solkoff 27). Some benefits hurt the small farmer. Marketing orders and tax breaks hurt small operators by giving more oney to bigger farms.

Big farms can then overproduce and undersell using advanced machinery, driving lesser farms out of business (Fox 28). Subsidies also allow foreign markets to become competitive by artificially raising market prices (Long 91). Artificially raising market prices create a surplus that would normally be solved by the free market system. In a theoretical free market, overproduction would drive excess farms out of business, until equilibrium would establish itself for both price and quantity of farm products. Subsidies allow inefficient farms to continue to exist, which creates an inefficient economic system.

Subsidies also increase the cost of other consumer products, while also increasing taxes to pay for them. Perhaps most importantly, subsidies do not fulfill their social role. “About 112,000 large farms– equivalent to the number of farms in Minnesota alone– produce half the nation’s food and fiber (Long 82). ” The many government subsidy policies do not preserve the family farm, and the number of small farms has almost continuously been on the decline. Subsidies are impractical in the economic and the social aspects. Despite perceived benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional art of our economic system.

Their goal, nonetheless, is noble. Writers like John Steinbeck made people aware of the plight of the small farmer, and subsidies were the only solution he government could think of. If there is some way to prevent the decline of small farms that does not carry the many subsidy problems, the agricultural policy would undoubtedly change. Perhaps the same anti-trust laws that prevented the monopolizing of industry could be used to prevent the consolidation of farms. Until some other system is developed that can deal with the problems of the farmer, subsidies will continue to be used.

Biblical References in The Grapes of Wrath

The plot of John Steinbecks novel, The Grapes of Wrath, can easily be related to many biblical references as well as it could be applied to the daily struggles of the lives of Christians. Two particular portions of this novel stick out more than any other. Those are the characters of Jim Casey and Pa Joad. Many say that Jim Caseys character could possibly be symbolically tied into the biblical hero of Moses. In the Bibles book of Exodus, Moses guided thousands of people (Gods family, the Israelites) out of severe slavery and harsh treatment in Egypt.

From there he led them into the promised land of Canon that flowed with milk and honey. Much is the same when looking at The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck could possibly be trying to infer the Joad Family as being the struggling Israelites. Casey acts as a leader who directs the Joads out of famine and hard times during the 1930s in Oklahoma and into California where they can begin a new life with hope and future. This book can also be symbolic to the day by day walks in Christianity. For example when Pa Joad needs helps and seeks guidance, it is Jim Casey who he turns to.

Those who follow Christ call upon God in desperate times. Steinbeck infers that Casey, who happens to be a preacher, is somewhat of a Christ figure to the Joad family. He even throws a hidden clue in his name. The initials of Jim Casey are the same of those of Jesus Christ. Steinbeck implies that Pa Joad is symbolically a typical Christian who is struggling in a world of sin. The famine and horrible conditions of the great depression stand for the sin that is surrounding this battling Christian.

So as a final resort this child of God turns to Jesus Christ for salvation and release from the sin in his life. These two characters display both the giving and receiving sides of Gods love towards his children. Jim Casey gives his guidance and direction as Pa Joad and his family takes in his advice. The same is for Christians. Steinbeck shows us plainly when we are in need of help we should not stay in sin but instead turn to Jesus for our answers. Just as Moses guided the Israelites into Canon and Casey helped direct the Joads to California, Jesus shows Christians the way to salvation.

Interpreting Poverty In The Grapes of Wrath

Throughout history, less fortunate people have been set apart or shunned from the general public. In the Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, this statement holds true. Throughout the whole book, all of the less fortunate people are treated like they aren’t even human. This is not much different than how our society is now. In the news article “Major Cities Get Tough With Homeless”, by Angie Cannon, Judy Appel said, “We are saying it is your fault that we have created a structure where there aren’t enough jobs and housing for you to lead a decent life. Cannon 1)

Appel is saying the same thing Steinbeck was saying in his book. Many homeless people are homeless because they were forced to be that way, and the general public doesn’t realize it. In the Grapes of Wrath, and in the present time, the general public has set the less fortunate apart from themselves without even realizing it. “I’m seeing more apathy on the part of people. I think people used to feel badly. And now, I think people feel bothered. That’s a dangerous shift. ” (Cannon 1) What she means is that at one point in time we used to care for the homeless.

We used to try and help them out. Now we don’t care and we just want to get rid of them. This is very similar to the situation in the Grapes of Wrath. At first they wanted thousands of people to come and work, but when they actually started coming, the general public wanted to get rid of them. “And the men of the towns and of the soft suburban county gathered to defend themselves; and the reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders were bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, these Okies are dirty and ignorant.

They’re degenerate sexual maniacs. These Okies are thieves. They’ll steal anything. They’ve got no sense of property rights. ” (G. O. W. 363) This was the general publics’ feeling towards the Okies, even though they asked them to come there in the first place. What the people don’t understand is that the Okies are being forced to steal and the general public is the one who is forcing them. In the Grapes of Wrath, and in the present time we, the general public have shunned the less fortunate.

It isn’t that we want them to be poor, but we have a hard time fitting in with them. And it is hard for people to give less fortunate people a good break. Even though less-fortunate people appear different a lot of times, they deserve better than how many people treat them. In many cases the events that put a person out on the street were not in their control. This is definitely true with the Joads. So as the general public, we need to realize this and try and fix the problem as much as possible. This would make everyone happy.

The Grapes of Wrath: Symbolic Characters

Struggling through such things as the depression, the Dust Bowl summers, and trying to provide for their own families, which included finding somewhere to travel to where life would be safe. Such is the story of the Joads. The Joads were the main family in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a book which was written in order to show what a family was going through, at this time period, and how they were trying to better their lives at the same time. It wouldn’t be enough for Steinbeck to simply write this story in very plain terms, as anyone could have simply logged an account of events and published it.

Critics have argued, however, that Steinbeck was too artificial in his ways of trying to gain some respect for the migrants. Regardless of the critical opinions, John Steinbeck utilized symbolism as a forum to convey the hardships and attitudes of the citizens of America during the 1930’s in his book The Grapes of Wrath. The first aspect of the novel that must be looked at when viewing the symbolic nature is that of the characters created by Steinbeck and how even the smallest facets of their person lead to a much larger meaning. The first goal that Steinbeck had in mind, was to appeal to the common Midwesterner at that ime.

The best way to go about doing this was to focus on one of the two things that nearly all migrants had in common, which was religion and hardships. Steinbeck creates a story about the journey of a family and mirrors it to that of biblical events. The entire family, in themselves, were like the Israelites. “They too flee from oppression, wander through the wilderness of hardships, seeking their own Promised Land” (Shockley, 91). Unfortunately, although the Israelites were successful, the Joads never really found what they could consider to be a promised land.

They were never lucky enough to really satisfy heir dreams of living a comfortable life. But, they were still able to improve on their situation. Another symbolic character that was undoubtedly more religious than anyone else taking the journey was Jim Casy. He was a preacher that was picked up along the way by the Joads. Steinbeck manages to squeeze in a lot about this character, and a lot of the background he creates about Mr. Casy shows just how much of a biblical man he really is supposed to be. So much so, that Steinbeck uses Jim Casy to symbolize Christ.

Oddly enough, his initials were not only the same as Jesus Christ, but much of his life is similar to the biblical accounts f Christ. Not only did he also begin his long trek after a stay in the wilderness, he also had rejected an old religion to try and find his own version of the gospel and convince people to follow him. His death, another aspect comparable to that of Christ, also occurred in the middle of a stream, which could represent the “crossing over Jordan” account. “Particularly significant, however, are Casy’s last words directed to the man who murders him” (Shockley, 92-93).

Jim’s last words are to forgive the man who kills him with a pickax. He tells him “You don’t know what you’re a-doing,” which is a simple allusion to he statement by Jesus to God when He is being crucified and asks his Father to forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. In this novel, even the title is a Christian allusion. The title is “a direct Christian allusion, suggesting the glory of the coming of the Lord” (Shockley, 90). Looking at the main character of the story, Tom Joad, even more Christian symbolism is seen.

Tom Joad is almost a direct fit for the story of the “prodigal son” from the bible. He is the son that must lead everyone across in a great journey, while symbolically already wandering from the favor of God by killing a man in self-defense. Tom must find a way to forget about this event and continue to keep his goal of getting to California (and his Promised Land) in sight. He understands that he must stay determined and persevere because he is an example and a leader to his family and he cannot allow any internal event to slow him down.

Rose of Sharon, the daughter of the family, also has a very religious connotation; her religious meaning is not so much symbolic of a specific person or event in the bible, but more of an example of Christian values. The great hardship in her life was the fact that the child she was pregnant with the whole tory, and the one that kept her from doing work necessary to everyone’s survival, was stillborn. Now, after going through all this, she had to face the reality of living without her child and the reality of her husband walking out on her.

Even after all this when the Joads come upon the old man in the barn “the two women [Ma Joad and Rose of Sharon] looked deep into each other’s eyes. Not my will, but Thine be done. ” (Shockley, 94) Rose knows that even though she had lost her own child, she must now take another, and the fact that Steinbeck has her say “Thine will be done” is because she knows that it is in fact God’s ill that she is serving, and that is much more important than any problem she has. Next, the women in the story are an example of the mentality of the “indestructible woman. ”

The greatest example of this is the eldest, Ma Joad. Ma Joad stands out in Steinbeck’s work as a complete and positive characterization of a woman” (Gladstein, 118). She is the only character in the novel that appears to be flawless on every level, not just as someone who does monotonous chores throughout the story. She stands as a shining example of a woman who refuses to back down, no matter what the obstacles at hand. Some of he obstacles included Grandma’s death, the desertion of Noah, the leaving behind of the Wilsons followed by Connie’s departure, the murder of Casy, Tom becoming a fugitive, Rose of Sharon’s baby being stillborn, and being surrounded by starvation and depression.

She uses al of her strength and willpower to help deal with these tragedies. One of the biggest examples of her undying strength and love is the way she help Rose of Sharon deal with her pregnancy and the loss of her baby. She helps keep the family together, and if that meant giving every ounce of spirit and energy that she had, she’d do it because of the love she had or her family.

Steinbeck creates her as that indestructible woman because he wants to convince the migrants of the 1930’s to follow in the footsteps of Ma Joad, and ultimately, mirror the journey of the entire Joad family. Warren French explains exactly what Steinbeck’s intent with having the characters, especially Ma Joad, develop the way they do throughout the novel: The story that Steinbeck sought to tell does end, furthermore, with Ma Joad’s discovery that it is no longer the “fambly” alone that one must “give a han’,” but “everybody.

As I wrote in my own study of Steinbeck, answer the harge that the tale is inconclusive, the scene in the barn “marks the end of the story that Steinbeck has to tell about the Joads,” because “their education is completed What happens to them now depends upon the ability of the rest of society to learn the same lesson they have already learned. ” (93-94) Rose of Sharon is another woman who shows indestructibility. She also has to deal with her stillborn baby and all of what Ma Joad had to go through, but she still attempts to continue on and help Ma whenever she can.

Bedraggled and burdened, deserted by her husband, Rose of Sharon still drags herself out of ed to do her part in earning money for support of the family” (Gladstein, 122). In the novel Steinbeck writes about she tries how because of the way she tried so hard to help, that she was constantly vomiting, just to keep up with regular chores, yet her spirit remained unwavering. With all of this occurring around her, one of the novel’s greatest Christian allusions comes from her character.

In the climactic event at the end of the novel, Rose of Sharon looked at the old man who needed her milk and just smiled. “This is my body, says Rosasharn, and becomes the Resurrection and the Life. In her, life and death are one, and through her, life triumphs over death” (Shockley, 94). She gives herself for that of another, and that is a major Christian principle. Besides the characters, the events in the story are also an example of how Steinbeck uses symbolism. This is the second major way that Steinbeck uses symbolism in this story.

There are several examples which show how perserverent the human spirit could be in times of trouble. The trek itself shows how committed to their dreams the Joads were. They had to risk everything just to find work and a place to live. Also, the characters in the story had to adapt o the events that were happening to them throughout the journey. For example, Tom first got his idea of transportation when he saw the tractor at the beginning of the story and remembered that tractors were just now starting to cover the plains all the time, so they must be able to make it in some kind of machine.

When Tom visits the car dealer, he comes away with a car that didn’t quite fit their needs, but he made it work. Another example is how the family learns to use every item, the realize how valuable every single item they have isto their existence, and it becomes more and more clear every single day as the ituation becomes more and more harsh. Also, the kindness of the human spirit is shown in Steinbeck’s novel through these events. The main example in the novel is when the waitress in the cafe lets the poor migrant have a free loaf of bread just to continue his journey.

She is then rewarded with two big tips from the next customers, who are truckers that come through to eat. This is a shining example of the old adage “kindness breeds kindness” (Carlson, 97). Then, when Rose of Sharon took care of the old man in the barn, she ends up symbolically gaining a child where before she had lost her own. These two were both examples of human kindness and in both instances, the people were rewarded for their kindness. These examples are also examples of a major principle in Christianity which is to do unto others as you would like done to you.

The third and final major aspect of symbolism shown in The Grapes of Wrath is the role that nature plays in the story. It is unquestioned that nature plays a big part in the lives of the Joads simply because their journey takes place in the middle of the plains where weather, such as rain, can easily become a harsh hazard since there is really no shelter from it and they really ave no other option that to continue trudging forward as much as possible.

Weather is shown in this as both a destroying and regenerative force. Steinbeck goes on to depict in lyrical prose the disintegration of the house before the almost delicate onslaught of nature: rain, weeds, dust, wind” (Owens, 79). Nature then knows that the house is no longer useful to the Joads and “reclaims it as its own” (Owens, 79). One of the most interesting parts of this work is what is known by Steinbeck as the “interchapters. ” Steinbeck includes several chapters throughout the novel which simply act as a symbolic reference to some other idea, hat at first glance, have no meaning to the story, but these stories symbolically prove a point for Steinbeck.

The first, and most famous, of these is the journey of the turtle. Steinbeck opens a chapter by simply describing a turtle that is struggling to cross a highway. Steinbeck goes through great detail to explain much about the turtle and its own little journey, but he really doesn’t say much about the purpose. That is because it is so clear. The turtle is simply heading somewhere and must cross the road. It struggles and struggles and when it finally gets close to the other side a truck comes by and nocks it across the road anyway, unharmed.

The moral is that the turtle made it across, but if it had tried any less, it might have been hit by the tire instead of just being brushed aside by it. Another story symbolic of the plight of the farmer is the ant lion trap which is analogous to the fact that most farmers were scurrying around trying to acquire land and supplies to live but avoid being caught at the same time. Of course, not everyone can succeed, so Steinbeck inserts the story of the Joad’s dog being hit by the truck.

Not everyone is going to be as lucky as the turtle in their efforts, and this lesson omes at a price to the Joads. Machines played a major part in this story in the way was created because of the fact that machines were taking over everything in the farming community and workers weren’t really needed anymore. Not only were machines one of the causes of the migration in the first place, but they also directly cause several deaths in the story. It is stated in the novel that “one man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families.

Through this manner, Steinbeck shows in the plot itself how machines add to the complexity of the situation. He then uses the interchapters to show how much effect they had on ature and animals as well as humans. “Tom sees the No Riders’ sticker on the tractor as an example of how inhuman machinery has become” (Griffin, 222). It is then very symbolic when they meet at the beginning of the journey westward and must meet at the truck, which is seen as the only “real” thing left, since the house is demolished.

The truck was never meant to be of any “real” significance in the first place, for it is a machine. Lastly, Steinbeck made great reference to animals throughout the story. He used them repeatedly to show how people were acting and to describe things and events, as well as foreshadow future happenings. One example of the description of people was the reference to Muley Grave’s sex drive in his younger days, when “he describes his first experience as snorting like a buck deer, randy as a billygoat” (Griffin, 220).

Then a reference to nature again being like farmers is when the moths circling the fire are pointed out, they are just like the farmers circling a town, looking for opportunity and waiting to enter. Then, animals are also used in foreshadowing death (be it the dog or Rose of Sharon’s baby) by the circling of buzzards overhead. Steinbeck loved to use more minor events in nature to explain the trials and tribulations of the Joads. Although Steinbeck created this highly acclaimed world of symbolism, it is not without its fault, at least according to some interpretations.

Steinbeck goes to great lengths to create this world of symbolism with very intricate characters which he wants the reader to understand to be his representation of the public during the 1930’s. Unfortunately, some found his book to be all too artificial. “Complete literalness in such matters doesn’t necessarily simulate life in literature” (Moore, 59). The dispute here is whether or not Steinbeck is attempting to overglorify the attempts or the migrants. Many Midwesterners id feel quite a bit of harshness enter their lives when trying to live through the 1930’s, but it is hard to say if the Joads had life as tough as most.

However, Henry Moore states that the shining examples of good symbolism and truth in The Grapes of Wrath come in the interchapters, such as the turtle and tractor tales. The problem though, as he states it, is that “the contrapuntal chapters about the Joad family don’t always have the continuous strength to carry them” (Moore, 60). Basically Dr. Moore is saying that if Steinbeck really wanted to use symbolism in this story to show the trials and tribulations of the igrants in the 1930’s, he should have kept the story more realistic and down- to-earth in its approach to the topic.

Overall, John Steinbeck did appeal to the Midwesterners through his book The Grapes of Wrath. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962 while The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. He managed to explain many events of the current time period through his use symbolism, and obviously, many readers enjoyed it. By using characters, nature and events for forms of symbolism, Steinbeck keeps the reader interested and at the same time conveys his thoughts and beliefs.

Grapes of Wrath: Jim Casey as a Christ Figure

In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck brings to the reader a variety of diverse and greatly significant characters. However, the majority of each characters individuality happens to lie within what they symbolize in the microcosm of the Joad family and their acquaintances, which itself stands for the entire migrant population of the Great Depression era. One such character is that of Jim Casey, a former preacher and long-time friend of the Joads. In this story, Casey represents a latter-day Christ figure who longs to bring religious stability to the burgeon of migrant families facing West.

Steinbeck manages to give Jim Casey the exact initials as the historical savior (J. C. ), which allows the reader to latch onto this connection from the beginning. Yet, Caseys relation to Christ goes beyond such mere coincidences, and plays out rather in their similar plans of action. One of the many similarities between Casey and Christ is that Casey had also drifted out to the forests in order to “soul-search” and discover the answers to sometimes hidden questions. In this particular situation, Casey himself states the comparison of Christs and his actions while giving a grace at the Joads breakfast table, “…

I been in the hills, thinkin, almost you might say like Jesus went into the wilderness to think His way out of a mess of troubles” (Steinbeck ch. 8). Casey further goes on during his rather rambling grace, “I got tired like Him… I got mixed up like Him… I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin stuff” (Steinbeck ch. 8). With Caseys character openly admitting, without seeming conceited, that he and Jesus Christ are in some way similar, it continues to bluntly let the reader come to realize that Casey was indeed meant to be the Christ figure of this book.

Yet another similarity between Jim Casey and Jesus Christ can be seen when Casey decides to venture off and join a union group in order to prevent strike wages from falling even farther. This represents the event of Jesus Christ and his faithful disciples, traveling with him in an effort to spread their beliefs throughout the people as a whole. In addition, there were many people who wanted to follow Christ and his quest, yet they declined due to fear of persecution, just as the migrant workers feared an upset of government retaliation against trouble-makers or “reds”.

However, the greatest significance regarding Jim Casey as a Christ figure occurs when the security officers discover Casey and his “followers”, initiating a struggle and eventually stealing his life with the aid of an ax handle. These events are parallel to Christs crucifixion in order to preserve the heart of his cause of religious reform. Also, after Casey had passed, the strike could no longer hold and wages plummet deeper, just as the upper class citizens began to regain the advantage over the oppressed Christian members of society.

Aside from these occurrences in common, there lie a great deal of others. Steinbeck clearly presents Jim Casey as a definite Depression-era representation of Christ in the first portion of the story, while further evidence is present throughout the entire novel. The author uses the character of Jim Casey as a vessel to portray the importance of religion in peoples lives in such times of hardship, when a familys unity and faith in God were the only things that kept them going.

The Grapes of Wrath: The Purpose of the Interchapters

Initially, I found the interchapters to be annoying, interruptions to the story. It was only when I realized the point in having the interchapters that I understood that not only did they not interrupt the story, but they added to it tremendously. The interchapters provide indirect comments or general situations which suggest something about the personal tragedies of the main characters. These comments and situations help give the reader an understanding of what the characters are going through by either showing metaphorically their present or future triumphs and struggles or explaining the history of the period that they lived in.

Chapter three is an interchapter. It describes a concrete highway that a land turtle struggled to cross. The turtle was finally almost there when it was hit by a truck and its shell was chipped and it was thrown on its back. The turtle had to struggle even hard but it did get going again. This chapter represented the continual struggle of that the Joads would have to face throughout the entire story. Throughout the novel the Joads meet many hardships. They are forced to leave their home, lose family members such as the grandparents and Noah, work for low wages, and suffer from hunger floods and cruel prejudices in California.

But, just as the turtle refused to be swayed from his purpose so will the Joads. Chapter five is an interchapter that discusses a tractors hired by banks or a corporations that would come to the land and plow through it, destroying everything in its path. The chapter is an abstract conflict between the tenant farmer and the banks and shows the pain of a tenant farmer upon leaving the land that was settled by their grandfather. The tenant farmer was so upset that he threatened to shoot the driver . Another chapter describes a tenant farmer who has to leave and is cheated into paying to much for a car.

Chapter nine describes the generalized families who must sell their sentimental goods at absurdly low prices. These chapters present the situations which the Joads come across very soon. The Joads have to leave their land and sell all their things. Pa dreads telling Ma, in chapter ten, the price he sold their things for. Grandpa threatens to kill the tractor driver who was plowing their land just like the tenant farmer who Steinback described. The Joads had to buy a used car in order to go to California. The interchapters provided general social situations which Joads had to face.

Interchapters nineteen and twenty one the development of land ownership in California. Chapter nineteen explains how the Americans took California from the Mexicans and people known as squatters acquired lots of land and thought of it as their own. They hired people to work the land and became great owners. The problem was that many people from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas began to arrive and the owners didn’t want them to become squatters so they hated them and called them Okies. These owners cut wages in order to pay policemen to guard and protect their property.

In the next chapter, the Joads are called Okies and a young man explains to Tom that the people are afraid that the Okies will get organized if they stay in one place for long enough so they push them around. This man also explains how no one can get people together to organize because the cops will arrest whoever starts up. Chapter twenty one describes how the people with small jobs in California are afraid of the Okies because they don’t want to lose their jobs. The big companies could make wages very low because people were starving and would work for low wages.

The following chapter explains how Tom met Timothy Wallace who told him that he would only have his job for a couple of days and his wages were being cut. The interchapters describe general situations and the chapters after them explain how that particular situation affects or will affect the Joads. The reader can learn many details about the hardships that the Joads went through by reading about the hardships of the migrant workers as a whole. By certain metaphors, like the turtle, that Steinback used in the interchapters we can learn about the nature and the struggle of the Joads throughout the novel.

Theme Of Grapes Of Wrath

In the Classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck displays in his writing many different and interconnected themes. The main idea of the novel can be interpreted many different ways through many of the different actions and characters throughout the novel. In the first chapter of the novel, Steinbeck describes the dust bowl and foreshadows the theme: The men came were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men-to feel whether this time the men would break.

As a theme, Steinbeck wanted the reader to see that humanity is on a journey, and for good or bad humanity continues to move ahead. Along with journey come changes, another important idea in the novel, which correlates directly with the main theme. Journey is the main idea in the beginning of the novel when Tom Joad first gets out of prison and is looking for a ride home. Walking home he spots a turtle. Lying on the highway, missed by a car, hit by a truck, the turtle still struggles to continue his own journey towards the southwest. So already in the novel, two journeys are taking place, one a man’s journey and the other, nature’s journey.

Change is evident as an idea in the novel when Tom is reunited with his childhood preacher. Jim Casy the preacher says: “the sperit ain’t in me no more” He says this to Tom and at the same time the turtle still struggles to escape toms jacket. Both of these ideas are seen in Chapter 6 when Casy gets the spirit back and decides that he is going to hit the road. Both Tom and Casy head to Uncle John’s place where the rest of the Joads are living. This is where they hear of their journey westward where work can be found. The idea of journey now can be seen in different levels. The first is literal.

The fact that the journey that they are on is partly the theme of the work. Second is the general journey that they are on. They are on a journey not by themselves as a family, but part of a huge migration of people and other families to the west. The third level is a symbolic level in which the theme of journey is incorporated in many different things throughout the novel. In the first level, Steinbeck is simply describing the things that the Joads see and experience. He uses the journey to bring up problems so that the reactions of the Joads reflect other themes such as struggle.

When you read deeper into the novel you notice that the Joads journey reflects the journeys of many other migrants of that time and other times throughout history. The journey is rough and the migrants live a hard life, struggling to hang on and stay together the whole time. The third level of reading is not always as apparent as the other two but important none the less. The third level is that there are stories of journeys within each other. Tom’s individual journey is the same as the Joads which is the same as the other Okies which is the same as mankind’s journey which is the same as the turtles journey in the beginning of the novel.

The idea is that each may not be doing the same thing but all are moving ahead. None of these knowing their outcome still move ahead. It seems as if journey is in all parts of this novel. It is embodied throughout the novel and plays an important role in establishing a variety of things including character insights and a plot. Journey seems to be inevitable and part of life and Steinbeck shows that we are all on a journey and staying together is the only way to keep moving forward.

The Grapes of Wrath – eye-opening novel

The Grapes of Wrath is an eye-opening novel which deals with the struggle for survival of a migrant family of farmers in the western United States. The book opens with a narrative chapter describing Oklahoma, and the overall setting. It sets the mood of an area which has been ravished by harsh weather. “The sun flared down on the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each green bayonet. The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country, and white in the gray country. ”

Steinbeck, in a detailed fashion described the area in great detail. Not only was the area stricken by a drought and extreme temperatures, but to add to the difficulties, the families of the area were bombarded by high winds and dust storms which barraged their houses, crops, and moral. The idea was made clear, quite early, that the farming plains of Oklahoma were a cruel and difficult place for a family to make a successful living. The reader is first introduced to a character by the name of Tom Joad, a man who has been released early from the penitentiary on parole after serving four years of his seven year sentence.

Tom, once released, begins the trip back home to his family on their forty acre farming estate. Tom, through the aid of a helpful truck driver, is given a ride to the general area of his house. It is interesting to see how Tom manages to hitch a ride with the truck driver, who under normal circumstances, would not have given any rides to hitch hikers, simply due to a sticker on his cab which reads “No Riders. ” Tom however, through cunning reasoning skills, is able to get what he needs. “Can you give me a lift mister,” said Tom.

“Didn’t you see the No Riders sticker on the wind shield? the driver proclaimed. “Sure, I seen it. But sometimes a guy will be a good guy even if some rich b&%#@rd makes him carry a sticker. “(Steinbeck 11) Technically, if the driver refused, he would not be a “good” guy , and if he took the hitch-hiker, he would be a “good” guy, and would prove that he was not one whom a rich boss could kick around. Through his actions in the opening scenes, we learn a little bit about Tom Joad, and what he is like as a person. Once Tom is dropped off, he meets up with an old minister named Jim Casey.

The reader momentarily learns of Jim’s inner struggle before he joins Tom in accompanying him back to his house. Meanwhile, the Joad’s (tenant farmers) were being evicted from their house by the owner of the land, and were making plans for a trip to move in with Uncle Tom. Upon the arrival of Tom and Jim, they are quick to discover, through the knowledge of Muley, an old friend of Tom, that his family has already left, but were unable to reach him to let him know what was happening to them. Tom and Jim eventually catch up to the family at Uncle Tom’s cabin and are greeted with open arms.

Soon after their arrival, the family is once again forced to leave. After purchasing a truck, the family heads for California in the search of a home and work, but not without a struggle with Grandpa who does not wish to leave. The family is forced to drug him to bring him along, only for him to later die along the way of a massive stroke. Casey decides to come along with the family while still struggling with his internal conflict. As the trip lengthens, the family meets up with the Mr. and Mrs. Wilson one night along the side of the road.

The two families befriend each other and continue the trip west together. Both families continue to travel west together until they are separated when Mrs. Wilson becomes fatally ill, which forces the Wilsons to stay behind. The struggle of the Joad’s is becoming more and more apparent now as they experience the realities of life. Cruel police officers, cunning salesmen, and ignorant people all add to the total picture and struggle the family is enduring, and bring the reality of the entire situation to a front. Grandma dies, as well as Rose of Sharon’s baby which only adds to the trouble.

Connie eventually walks out on Rose, and Noah Joad gives up on the thought of going west, and abandons the family to remain by a river in which the family had stopped. By this time, Ma Joad, who has struggled so hard to keep the family together, has become frightfully aware that the family is falling apart. The reader gets the impression that all has turned for the worst as Jim Casey is murdered, and Tom, due to avenging Jim’s death is forced into hiding all of while the lack of jobs and appropriate wadges still overshadows the family.

Once the family reaches California, their hopes and dreams are basically shattered. Although briefly employed for descent pay, wadges are slashed, and the hard times become even worse. With lack of money, possessions, and an adequate food supply, the family finally hits rock bottom when torrential rains flood their makeshift boxcar home, destroying their truck, and once again sending them on the run. There are many characters who played a vital role in the development of the Grapes of Wrath.

Each and every character has something to add to the book as a whole. Tom Joad is an assertive person who does not like to be pushed around. He served four years in prison for killing a man, who he insists was killed in self defense. Tom is quite influential as demonstrated in his actions of hitching a ride with the trucker, as well as the fact that Al Joad tries to impersonate him. Al had gained much notoriety for the fact that he was the brother of a man who had killed another man. This influence makes Al walk with a swagger as if to show off.

The fact that Tom had murdered someone only proved a hindrance to the family as they often had to make appropriate accommodations for him throughout the trip. Ma Joad was an emotionally strong woman who kept the family united (her primary concern), through the difficulties they faced. Ma Joad never showed pain, nor fear, and greatly suppressed her emotions for the sake of the family. Ma Joad was a giving person who would do anything for someone in need as demonstrated in her giving up the soup to some of the starvin….. hildren of the camp they were residing in, even though her family was in great need of the food.

Grandpa Joad did not necessarily play an important role to the novel, but played a role in symbolizing an ideal that Steinbeck was trying to portray. Grandpa Joad was a man of his land as proved in his refusal to leave that which was his. Upon the families removal of the land, the house in which they lived, once filled with life, would succumb to the elements of nature and neglect. Just as the house dies when the Joad’s are removed from the land, Grandpa dies as the house is removed from his life.

The house and the land was all that he had to live for, it was all that he understood, and when it was taken from his life, he had nothing left to live for. Jim Casey is an interesting character from the novel who is struggling with himself with an internal conflict. Jim, a former minister, is troubled by the guilty conscious he receives when he would lay in the grass with a particular female pupil of his after Sunday class. He questions how the act could be such a sin if only the holiest females seem to partake in such an activity.

Throughout the novel, Jim is met by certain situations which aid is his continuous enlightenment. Jim abandons his holy ways to realize that it is not the abstract aspects of life that matter as much as the actions of living humans. He rejects the idea of surrounding himself in God’s soul, but the souls of human beings, each whom combined create a much holier soul. Jim is so intent on realizing this, that even when standing next to the dying Mrs. Wilson, resists her wish for his prayers.

He simply is trying to separate himself from the idea of God as much as possible, which was further expressed when he was forced by the Joad’s to say something upon Grandpa’s death. Jim, in sticking to his new philosophy of recognizing the importance of life over death represents these feelings in his words for Grandpa. “All that lives is holy, Grandpa is dead, he doesn’t need much said. ” (Steinbeck 184) Jim Casey pursued these ideals right to his death as he was in the process of attempting to organize the migrant workers to unite in numbers to gain power.

There are many aspects of this book which, combined, make it the great novel it proved to be. Steinbeck’s use of the intermittent narrative chapters give the reader a greater idea of what is going on, all of while pulling the entire picture of the novel together. Each little chapter, in its own sense, teaches, or makes the reader further aware of an aspect that might not normally be interpreted, or realized through the regular chapters alone which Steinbeck uses as a tool to further develop and express his ideas. For example, chapter 3 expresses the struggle of a turtle trying to get across the highway.

An ignorant reader might take the chapter literally, missing the underlying message that Steinbeck is trying to reveal. As the turtle attempts to cross the road, he is twice nearly crushed by passing motorists, and is flung off the road by a motorist who tried unsuccessfully to purposefully squash the turtle in it’s tracks. The turtle, in actuality, completes a micro/macrocosm constructed by Steinbeck. The turtle struggles to cross the street while looking failure in the eyes from both the ignorant driver, and the driver who tried to squash him. So what is Steinbeck trying to tell us?

The ignorant driver symbolizes those who, not knowingly, are killing the lives of the migrants workers, including those of the Joad’s. These unsuspecting people include the plantation owners who jack up prices and cut wadges ignorant of the havoc they cause to their workers, as well as the land owners who evict the families not aware of what they will have to go through to survive. Those who intentionally are out to hurt the migrant workers are represented by the police officers who try to shut down their tent cities keeping them on the move and out of their area.

They are also represented by those who intentionally try to swindle the migrant workers by charging ridiculously high prices for goods and services. The officers are fully aware of what their actions will do, but do not care, as the downfall of the migrant workers is their only concern. Steinbeck wrote this book for one reason; to make the plight and difficulties of the migrant workers known to all of America. He accomplished this by telling the story from the viewpoint of a particular family, rather then the migrant workers as a whole.

Steinbeck showed what these people went through from their eviction from their home, to their eventually self-destruction and failure as a family. Once the appropriate focus on the Joad’s had been reached, it was then possible for Steinbeck to tie it all together by bringing the entire situation into view. This was possible through the demonstration of the workers establishing a common ground with each other. Once the strength of the inner family had been established, a family of families could be constructed. The story went from “I lost my land” to “We lost our land.

It showed just what the life of a migrant worker was all about; for example the establishing of a common ground within one another. The migrant workers were a group of people who were looking out for each other and willing to work together, as survival during these periods proved tough and could not be accomplished without teamwork. This is simply why the migrant workers found ways to successfully govern themselves throughout their tent cities which is why they looked to establish a common ground. Times were tough, and that constant harassment of police organizations only worsened the situation.

It was clearly evident that the Joad’s like any of the migrant workers were looking out for one other and would do anything if one was in need. Nothing exemplifies this ideal more then the closing scene of the novel. Rose, surrounded by a family overshadowed by personal loss, lack of income and food, in a period of dying (metaphorically speaking), gives life to a dying stranger regardless of who he was, or where he came from. This is what true life to the migrant workers was all about, and this is what they had demonstrated time and time again.

Grapes Of Wrath Biblical Allusions

John Steinbeck carefully molded his story The Grapes of Wrath to encompass many themes and ideas. He included several Biblical allusions to enforce his message of the migrating families coming together to form a community. Steinbeck alludes to Biblical characters through Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon, events like the family’s journey to California and the flood at the end of the novel, and teachings throughout the novel. The Biblical allusions represented by the characters in the novel are most obvious in the characters of Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon.

However, the Joad family s made up of twelve including Connie, much like the twelve disciples that followed Jesus. Connie represents the traitor, the Judas figure who had betrayed Jesus the night of his arrest when he walks out on his family for selfish reasons. Jim Casy is an allusion to Jesus Christ. They have the same initials and live their lives as examples of their beliefs; Jesus to the world and Casy to Tom. Casy even compares himself to Christ when he says, “I got tired like Him, an’ I got mixed up like Him, an’ I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin’ stuff” (105).

In the first half of the book Casy is thinking and forming his ideas. He changes from a thinker to a man of action when he sacrifices himself for Tom. When in prison Casy sees the advantage of organizing people to achieve a common goal. When Casy tried to put his ideas into action he, like Christ, aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally killed. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, “You don’ know what you’re a-doin'” (495). Rose of Sharon represents a Biblical allusion towards the end of the novel.

After she gives birth to her stillborn child, she gives life to a starving man by breast-feeding him. Her sacrifice suggests the notion of rebirth through Christ’s physical body which is symbolized in the ritual of communion. When she tells the man to drink her milk she alludes to the Last Supper when Christ tells his disciples “Take, drink; this is my blood. ” Rose of Sharon realizes this man will die without her, in the same way Christ said that without Him people will die spiritually.

Rose of Sharon exemplifies the idea of helping thers in need through her actions in the conclusion of the novel. Steinbeck also alludes to events in the Bible through situations among the Joad family. Their journey to California is much like the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Caanan. The novel is broken up into three sections. The first part is the Joad’s eviction from their farms under the control of the banks and companies which parallels the Israelites’ slavery to the Egyptians. Both groups struggled under the control of overwhelming forces and left in hopes of a better life.

The second part is the Joad’s ourney from Oklahoma across the Panhandle in search of the promised California which parallels the Israelites wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land. Both groups experienced many troubles, but were forced to rely on each other to survive. The third part is the Joad’s arrival to California which parallels the Israelites arrival to Caanan. The journey for the Israelites lasted so many years that only the younger generation made it to the Promised Land. In the same way Granma and Grampa died before they reached the promised California.

The flood at the end of the novel is another example of a Biblical allusion used by Steinbeck. This situation parallels to the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark. In both events, heavy rains cause a flood that results in the families leaving their homes. In the novel, the Joads and the Wainwrights gather their belongings onto a platform and wait out the flood, much like Noah and his family gather on the ark for forty days until the rain stops. These situations show again the importance of unity and helping one another to make it through troubles.

Last Steinbeck alludes to Christ’s teachings in the Bible to reveal his theme of coming together in the face of weakness to grow and become strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 states, “9 But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ‘ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This Biblical teaching comes through several times as the Joad family faces struggles and weaknesses, but because they stick together they are made stronger. Steinbeck’s many allusions to the Bible reflect his personal views about religion and allow him to reinforce his theme of migrant families coming together to form a community to work together. He alludes to Biblical characters through Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon, events like the family’s journey to California and the flood at the end of the novel, and teachings throughout the novel that are found in the Bible.

Grapes of Wrath – Censorship

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is considered a classic novel by many in the literary field. The trials and tribulations of the Joad family and other migrants is told throughout this novel. In order to gain a perspective into the lives of “Oakies”, Steinbeck uses themes and language of the troubling times of the Great Depression. Some of these aspects are critiqued because of their vulgarity and adult nature. In some places, The Grapes of Wrath has been edited or banned. These challenges undermine Steinbeck’s attempts to add reality to the novel and are unjustified.

In 1939, The Grapes of Wrath was published and came under fire for its content. Vulgarity and the misrepresentation of a preacher were the main complaints that led to the ban and burning of the novel from St. Louis, Missouri libraries in September 1939. Vulgarity may be prevalent in the book, but it has its purpose. Steinbeck used some vulgar terms to accurately represent the lingo and slang that was used by the people of the 1930’s. Most of the terms that were considered vulgar may be a bit distasteful, but is nothing that is not heard on the streets today.

Extreme profanity is not extraneous in the novel, in fact, it is tame compared to slang terms used today. Casy, the former preacher that was traveling with the Joads, is not be given the connotation as the most holy man. Casy did not consider himself a minister at the time The Grapes of Wrath takes place. “But I ain’t a preacher no more” is spoken many times by Casy in denial that he is a man of the cloth. Indeed, Casy is brutally killed in the novel, but it does not go into graphic, violent detail. Once again, Casy’s feelings against the employers and government were common to the time and were used to state that idea.

Another point of controversy lies on The Grapes of Wrath’s closing sequence. In this finale, an old man nurses from Rose of Sharon, a young women whose baby was delivered stillborn. Some believe this is pornographic, sexually oriented, and improper, especially for young children. In fact in some states, the sequence is taken out. This sequence may be a vulgar, but it is an essential element to the novel and is in no way pornographic. It shows the desperation of the migrants to do anything to survive, no matter what the implications may entail.

Those who are missing this ending, such as those who read editions in Texas, are missing this important element of The Grapes of Wrath. These readers may never fully understand the lives of migrants in the 1930’s . The novel may have some adult content, but it was never meant to be read by young children. The target audience, ages over 14, can look beyond the visual picture and fully ascertain the section’s deeper meaning. Others may critique Steinbeck’s use of socialistic and anti-government messages. During the 1930’s, these ideas were very common. In fact, Upton Sinclair, a socialist writer, was nearly elected governor of California.

Living conditions, the opposition between the Californians and the “Oakies”, and the inability to break out of the depression all added to beliefs of the times. Steinbeck was not advocating socialism, he was just reflecting the times. Without these individual beliefs of the “reds” and other people that showed either socialistic or anti-establishment messages, the reader would get a dry, unfulfilled perspective of the lives of people during the Great Depression. Censorship does have its place in society. There are many things that are too risque, degrading, and should not be shown.

Pornography, extreme sexual content, and extreme gratuitous violence does not have its place in literature or in society. The Grapes of Wrath does not have any of these above aspects. Of those who choose to ban this book and other works of literature with questionable themes, many of them are wrapped up in political correctness. In literature, life should be shown like they it is, not as someone would like it to be. As much as political correctness advocates would like to change things for the better, they cannot change the past no matter how hard they try.

The Grapes Of Wrath Report

Tom and his family undergo significant change due to uncontrollable forces that occur throughout the book. Through these events he and his family go through conversion, death and rebirth, migration, and are on constant pursuit for a better life. Many inner and outer changes occur throughout the entire novel. The Joad family begins the novel as self-centered individuals, and end the novel as a universal family with all the other migrants from Oklahoma, also known as ‘Okies’.

The California farmers look down on the novel, and are quoted as saying that the “Novel is of social criticism that fuses myth and symbol with its attack on a speech of American life during the 1930s. ” and “In Steinbeck’s work the false starts and turns, the thwarting problems of material and of the artist in the process of penetrating it, which usually mark the effort to portray truth, these singularly lacking.

Many opinions will form and reform both in the characters of the book, and the reader as the book goes on. Whether Steinbeck exaggerates or tells the truth in its fullest, these changes take place in the characters and the theme of a universal family is evident in the novel. The novel’s first theme is that of the pursuit for a better life. Tom Joad has just been released from prison. He only has served 4 years of his 7-year sentence for manslaughter, but he is now out on parole.

He returns and finds that his family is at his Uncle John’s. The banks are taking away farms and farmers can no longer keep up with the economy. His family welcomes him back, but they have decided to move to California. They have received handbills that announce of high wages and plentiful jobs in California. The Joad’s look forward to this new opportunity but fail to see that these handbills do not tell the full story of overcrowding and unemployment that lead to starvation and madness.

One book accurately quotes “The Grapes of Wrath is a work of contrasts dramatized in alternatively humorous and horrifying episodes: the hopeful westward migration of the Joads is morally compared to that of the original western settlers, and the family’s dreams of a ‘land of milk and honey’ contrast sharply with descriptions of California farm corporations which destroy crops to maintain high market prices”. The Joads begin their journey, but it quickly begins with a chain of death and rebirth. The first of these is when Grandpa is forced to leave his land.

Grandpa is like a fish and his land is like the sea. If he is taken out of the sea, he will not survive. The Joads dope him and then force him to move on. Very shortly, he dies of a stroke. Grandma’s purpose for living is to compete with Grandpa. These two are happily married (though they don’t admit it) and are always competing. She becomes a ‘religious fanatic’ because Grandpa is anti-religious. Their relationship is marked by frequent quarreling and humorous arguments. As soon as Grandpa dies, she soon passes away. Other deaths come with the separation of the family.

Connie (Rose of Sharon’s husband) abandons her, Casy is arrested, the dog has been hit by a car, Noah leaves the family by the beautiful river the Joads come across in California, and later in the novel Rose of Sharon’s baby is born dead. These deaths and rebirths take place not only on the exterior, but also within characters. After Tom kills the California cop, he dies from his life of freedom and is reborn into his life of imprisonment, only this time he is in hiding. Though a cop murders Casy, he has a lot of dying and rebirths throughout the book.

When we first see him he has died from his life of old preaching and is reborn into a life with the people, because he thinks that the people are holy. As he travels with the family he dies from his adopted style of just living with the people and is born into a new life of speaking for the people and organizing the people to strike back against the corrupt government. This leads to his death, but his death was for his family, the family of humanity. He is often related to Jesus Christ, which are his initials (Jim Casy and J. C. nd he is thought of as Jesus because he dies for the ‘Okies’ and was arrested for Tom.

Tom must take Casy’s message of organization of the migrants into a universal family instead of small individual pieces of the puzzle; thus, he acts as a Peter or Paul. Tom dies from a life of keeping to himself and in the end decides to live a new life of preaching Casy’s word and becoming like a preacher. Ma becomes worried but he assures her that he will duck quicker than Casy, meaning that he will not get struck by a cop in the head and die as Casy did. We observe a change in roles in both of these characters.

They both start as quiet individuals, but as their journey continues, they become preachers and group organizers. They bring hope to the migrants and are a force in ending the horrific poverty that the ‘Okies’ must live in. The deaths and rebirths alter the roles of Ma and pa and switch the amount of power each has. Pa experiences death and rebirth in his role in the family. At first, he is the patriarch of the family, the ‘go to’ man. However he becomes weaker on the journey and loses his power. He must resort to wrath to keep sane, but sadness is what will kill him. At the end, his anger is weakened and his sadness is at a peak.

He tries to build an embankment for Rose of Sharon but it collapses as the flooding waters tear it down. This is symbolic to Pa and his role; they collapse as the running waters of uncontrollable forces tear down his will to survive and his will to keep the family together. Ma, who must take his role when he has fallen, frequently tests him. Ma is reborn into the role of a matriarch. Ma’s courage and will to keep the family together is dying in certain parts, but is reborn throughout the entire novel, and is at a strongpoint when she tells Rose of Sharon to nurse the starving man at the end.

Pa must resort to Ma for strength and she is given full power over the family. As the book says, “when the men die out, the women must take over”. Ma’s initial role is to keep the family together, but in the end, her role is not only to keep the family together, but also to lead the family. In the last scene, it is Ma who sends Rose of Sharon to nurse the starving man back to life. When Rose of Sharon nurses the starving man back to life, she illustrates another important theme in the book, the importance of life.

The theme begins through Casy’s belief that humans are holy so he must live among the people, and is continued all the way up to the last scene. At the funeral for Grandma, Casy says that it is not important that she is receiving a ‘pauper’s funeral’, but that the living keep the money and use it for something important. At the last scene, Rose of Sharon is told by Ma to feed the starving man with the milk from her breasts. She follows accordingly and realizes that she is nursing this man back to life. By doing this, she is saying that the death of her baby is not what is important, but the life of this man is what matters.

Casy has become a leader and has many new ideas. He is a forerunner of the theme of life and he says that the very act of living is holy within itself. Therefore, Casy must live with the people to be holy. This initial thought is converted into Casy’s theory that our own souls are just a piece of the puzzle of everybody’s souls. Alone we are nothing, but together we are nearly omnipotent. He realizes that if the ‘Okies’ had organization and all joined forces that they could overrun the power of farm corporations that are holding them down.

The corporations also realize that with organization the migrants could overrule, so they keep the migrants from obtaining any sense of organization. The corporations mistreated the hungry migrants and paid them low wages. They ‘saw the eyes of hunger’ and would take advantage of the starving workers. They did not realize that there was not much between hunger and anger. When fueled by anger, the migrants could be mean, mad, and powerful. To avoid being overrun, the farmers cut the wages of the workers, and with the extra money, they hired guards to prevent squatting and to prevent the workers from forming a union and protesting.

Casy lives and dies trying to overpower the corporation with his theory of migrant collaboration and empowerment. Steinbeck uses Casy in many ways, and one reader says of Steinbeck “He wishes to give us a sense of the hordes of mortals who are involved with the Joads in the epic events of the migration; and along with the material events he wishes us to see the social forces at play and the sure and steady weaving of new social patterns for a people and a nation. ”

Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

The migrant situation of the 1930s as depicted in Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath was caused by many diverse factors. It started with an extremely dreadful drought, known as the Dust Bowl, which swept through the mid-west. The gluttonous landowners and the multitudes of fliers that they passed out made the situation even worse. To top off all of that the nation was going through a terrible depression. At this time the whole nation was changing as a whole. These few main factors led to one of the most widespread waves of migrant workers this country has ever seen.

All of these problems began when the horrific drought called the Dust Bowl tore through the mid-west. Nearly all of the crops perished. The farmers were then forced off of the land they were raised on because the owners of the land couldnt make any money off of it anymore. Without food to feed their families or money to buy food they were starving. The only answer they could find was the fliers that advertised work in the west.

The leading cause of the migrant situation was the flood of fliers pouring in from California. The western landowners passed out more fliers than they needed jobs to be filled. When the workers arrived they had to work for little pay. They had no choice because there were many other people willing to work for less. When all of the work was done the local police and landowners would kick the migrants out of town. Thus, keeping the cycle going.

Finally, at this time the whole nation was in a progressively changing. Everyone from the truck driver to the waitress in the restaurant was involved in the change. Everyone was moving from only worrying about himself or herself to worrying about the whole. They realized that they had to band together and help each other out to survive. This demonstrates the I to We Theme as well. Pa said, Were thankful to you folks. Were proud to help to help, said Wilson. (189)

The creation of the migrant situation was a major part of the nation in the 1930s. The drought killed their crops. The landowners treated them like bums. Yet the country was learning to band together to survive. It had many causes and was felt by the whole country.

The Struggle in The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a story about life in the great depression. Steinbeck tells the story through the Joad family and how they struggle to survive. Also he has short chapters about the background and what was going on outside of the Joads. In the beginning of the book Tom, the second eldest son, is hitch hiking back home from McAlester, the prison. He was just paroled from a murder sentence after spending about four years in jail. When he gets off of the truck he runs into the preacher, Casy. The only thing different is that Casy is no longer a preacher and has not been around for a long time either.

He left because of conflicts he had with his belief in God. After they sit and talk for quite a while they decide to walk to the Joads house together. Although Tom’s parents have no idea that he has been paroled. But as they reach the house the two of them notice that it is unusually banged up and empty. When they step inside, the house is vacant except for a couple of things that were left behind. Some of them were important to the family. Then they see a person coming towards them. It turns out to be Muley Graves, an old friend. The three of them start to talk for a long time about what is going on in the area.

The banks and land companies had driven many of the farmers, including the Joads and Muleys family, of the land, and that tractors now plowed the earth instead of men. Then Muley tells Tom that his family is staying with his Uncle John. The next morning Tom and the preacher set out to Uncle John’s house. When they get there Tom surprises his dad and whole family with his sudden arrival. Soon after Tom learns that the entire family is going to go west, to California. After little debate they decide to go the next day and bring Tom and the preacher.

Also coming were grandpa and grandma, pa and ma, Toms older brother Noah, Toms younger siblings Al, Rose of Sharon (who is pregnant) and her husband Connie, Ruthie and Windfield, as well as Uncle Tom. Early the next morning they started for California, their spirits extremely high. But soon after they left Oklahoma things started to turn for the worse. The first night they pulled along side the road to spend the night. There was another car there already. But soon that night grandpa had a stroke and passed away. So they and the other couple buried him since they did not have enough money to burry him right.

Then the two families decided to continue on their way toward California together. The next day they continued on. Their journey continued on smoothly until one day a part of the car and a bearing went out. Tom and Casy stayed with the car and every body else went on in the Joad truck until they saw a good spot to stop. Al then drove back in the truck. Then Tom and Al drove back a few miles to a town to get the part. They ran into a nice man with one eye. The man hated his boss, who had left for the day, and gave them the two parts and some copper wire for a great price.

He also gave them a flashlight and a wrench too. As soon as they got back the two of them and Casy put in the parts and drove up to where the families were camped. The next morning they headed west again fully aware of their good fortune. After that things did not go quite as well. Grandma started to get sick, even more than her depression over grandpa’s death. Their money situation was starting to get grim as well. But soon they crossed the border into California. When they got across they stopped near a river to relax. They set up camp and the men went down to the river to swim and relax.

When they were done Tom went on the bank to take a nap when Noah came up to him and told him that he was going to leave. After a little argument Noah turned and walked down the river, never returning. Later a cop came up to the camp and argued with ma and told her that she would have to get out. When Tom walk up she was distressed about being pushed around by the cop. Then Tom told them what Noah had done. Late that afternoon the Joad family left their friends behind, because the woman was sick, to cross the desert at night. When they crossed the desert they were stopped by the border control to check the cars for food.

But ma swore there was none and that they needed to get grandma to a hospital quick. When the guard saw the old woman he let them through. But grandma had died on the trip over the desert. Then they stopped at a camp and unpacked. Soon the police came and told the people there that they had to leave by nightfall. Then there was an altercation in which the cop shot his gun at a man. The man was running away for talking back. A woman’s fingers were shot off. Tom hit the cop and knocked him unconscious. When the police came, Casy took the blame for Tom and they hauled him off to jail. Then Rose of Sharon’s husband Connie took off.

That night everyone left the camp and the Joads went south to a government camp. They got there late, and by good luck there was an open spot. At the government camp there was hot water, toilets, and showers. The camp was clean and orderly and they had there own government. The police couldn’t come in with out a warrant too. The very next morning after arriving Tom got a job at a man’s farm. But no one else could get a job. While they were there the police tried to stage a fight so they could get in a clean it out, but it failed. After a little while the Joads had to leave. They went north to pick fruit.

When the arrived they got assigned a shack and immediately began to work. That afternoon they made a dollar and went to the store to get some food. Ma got lots of it but the prices were high. That night Tom snuck out to take a walk. He ran into a camp outside of the farm. In it was Casy. He was leading the strike on the farm, the reason for so many cops when the Joads came into the farm. But while they were talking a bunch of people snuck up on them and killed Casy, then Tom took a stick and killed the man who had murdered Casy. The next day lots of people were looking for Tom so the family left and went to pick cotton.

The family was again lucky and got a boxcar to live in at the cotton farm. There they picked cotton and made decent money. But Tom could not help, he had to go off and hide a little ways from the farm. Soon the cotton was almost all picked. But they talked to a man with a small farm that needed picking. The next morning they got up early but tons of people were already there. By noon the whole field was picked. The Joads made ninety cents. Then suspicion arouse about Tom and he was forced to leave the family and go off some where. That night it began to rain and Rose of Sharon went into labor.

Also the camp was in danger of being flooded. So during the night the men tried to build a wall to keep the water out, while some women helped deliver the baby. The leave failed in the early morning and the baby was born a still birth. But the water kept rising until it flooded the car and the boxcar, so they were stuck. Then what was left of the family, except for Al, left to find a dry place. They came to a barn and went inside. In the barn was a boy and his father who was starving to death. Then Rose of Sharon agrees to feed the man. She asks everyone to leave, opens her shirt and begins to feed the starving man.

The novel The Grapes of Wrath

“The Downing Sun: Jim Casy Vanessa Cromer John Steinbeck passionately describes a time of unfair poverty, unity, and the human spirit in the classic, The Grapes of Wrath. The novel tells of real, diverse characters who experience growth through turmoil and hardship. Jim Casy- a personal favorite character- is an ex-preacher that meets up with a former worshiper, Tom Joad. Casy continues a relationship with Tom and the rest of the Joads as they embark on a journey to California in the hopes of prosperity and possibly excess.

Casy represents how the many situations in life impact the ever-changing souls of human- eings and the search within to discover one’s true identity and beliefs. Casy, however, was much more complex than the average individual. His unpredjudiced, unified, Christ-like existence twists and turns with every mental and extraneous disaccord. Jim Casy is an interesting, complicated man. He can be seen as a modern day Christ figure, except without the tending manifest belief in the Christian faith.

The initials of his name, J. C. are the same as Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was exalted by many for what he stood for was supposed to be , Casy was hailed and respected by many for simply eing a preacher. Casy and Jesus both saw a common goodness in the average man and saw every person as holy. Both Christ and Casy faced struggles between their ideals versus the real world. (Despite Casy’s honesty, goodness, and loyalty to all men, he would not earn a meal or warm place to stay. Although Jesus had many followers, still others opposed his preaching until the very end.

These prophets attempted to disengage man from the cares of the world and create a high spiritualism that stemmed joy from misery. (All the migrants found pleasures along their trips and kept their ope and spirit throughout the journey. Thanks to Jesus, the saddest, dullest existence has had its glimpse of heaven. ) Casy once remarked, “I gotta see them folks that’s gone out on the road. I gotta feelin’ I got to see them. They gonna need help no preachin’ can give ’em. Hope of heaven when their lives ain’t lived?

Holy Sperit when their own sperit is downcast an’ sad? ” Casy wished to reach out to others in spite of his own troubles. He wanted to give them sprit, hope and rejuvenate their souls. Jesus too felt that need and can be considered “the great consoler of life. ” The Life of Jesus y Ernest Renan tells of Pure Ebionism, which is the doctrine that the poor alone shall be saved and the reign of the poor is approaching. This secures a definite parallel to Jesus Christ and not only Jim Casy, but the entire book, The Grapes of Wrath.

The rich people, banks, owners, and institutions have taken control of the country and nature, but as the book says, “And the association of owners knew that some day the praying would stop. And there’s an end. ” This means that these people will always carry on, one day they will take action, there will be a fight, and quite possibly an nd to the misfortune and a reign of prevailing prosperity. Christ once said, “When thou makest a dinner or supper, call not… thy rich neighbors… But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed. John Steinbeck and Jim Casy along with many other migrants believe in charity, helping others and an end to the insatiable appetite for money and self-indulgence.

When Casy is saying grace in chapter eight, he compares himself to Jesus: “I been in the hills, thinkin’, almost you might say like Jesus wen into the wilderness to think His way out of troubles. Casy was beginning to feel confused, troubled and stressful about his faith, but when he went into the wilderness and rediscovered nature, he was a new man with a new-found faith.

Eventually Christ was no longer a Jew and strayed from the traditional Hebrew idea of God. Casy’s beliefs did not precisely follow Christianity. ) Like Christ, Casy was jailed and later aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally slain. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, “You don’ know what you’re a-doin. ” Jim Casy was similar to Jesus Christ but his personality traits did not end there. Jim Casy’s personality is one of the most unprovincial, nonjudgemental in the world.

He believed that every one is created equal no matter what their physical differences, political class, or position in the world might be. He shows this by never uttering a hurtful word at anyone, sacrificing his own welfare to picket and raise the wages of other workers, and not faltering when he or his groupmates were called derogatory names. Jim Casy was forever grateful to the Joads for travelling with him and talked of going off by himself to pay them back several times.

He once said, “I wanna do what’s bes’ for you folks. You took me in, carried me along. I’ll do whatever. Casy never asked for money while he was preaching because he knew the position his listeners were in, even though he was also desperate for money. Casy said in chapter four, “I brang Jesus to your folks for a long time, an’ I never took up a collection nor nothin’ but a bite to eat. ” Since Casy believes that we all have a small part of a larger soul, and everybody is holy, we are therefor equal. As Tom said, “one time he went out in the wilderness to find his soul, an’ he foun’ he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul. ” Once and or all stating equality, and universal holiness. Casy is also a harmonious man.

He believes in unity and that because people are all part of something greater than themselves, we should help one another out, and work together because otherwise we are all lost. “Why do we got to hang it all on God or Jesus? Maybe,’ I figgered, ‘maybe it’s all men an’ all women we love: maybe that’s the Holy Sperit- the human sperit- the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of. ” He thinks that people working in cooperation is holy: “When they’re all workin’ together, not ne fella for another fell, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang — that’s right, that’s holy”(pg 71).

Tom once said Casy recited to him Ecclesiates 4: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. Tom Joad also said, “maybe like Casy says, a fella in’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one. … I’ll be ever’wherewherever you look.

Casy was a Christ-like, unprovincial, and harmonious man albeit he still had personal conflicts. Although Jim Casy has always seemingly been a man of God and Jesus, he battles with his faith throughout The Grapes of Wrath. He feels like he is contending with the very ideals he has spread to others- traditional ideals of God and Jesus. Casy started to question his own beliefs and what was said in the Bible. Casy lost many hours of sleep just thinking about this, and went through many days without even speaking. He began to have doubts about God, Jesus, and about the afterlife altogether.

He went from a man of God to a man of everyone. Casy once said,”An I says, ‘Don’t you love Jesus? ‘ Well, I thought an’ thought an’ finally I says, ‘No, I don’t know nobody name’ Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people. ‘ ” After Casy challenged his inner belief of God and Jesus, he began to openly accept and tolerate unorthodox behavior. In fact some of Casy’s new beliefs not only questioned the basic belief in God and Jesus, but also the content of the Bible and what a regular preacher (or x-preacher) would say or do.

Casy felt you should not judge anyone but yourself, where as the Bible openly condemns certain situations, labels, sexual orient, behavior, and practices. Casy believes you should do what you feel and doesn’t believe in right or wrong. Casy once said, “I didn’ even know it when I was preachin’, but I was doin’ some consid’able tom-cattin’ around. ” He told of times when he lacked responsibility, filled girls up with the Holy Spirit by his preachings and then continually took them out with him to “lay in the grass. ” He once said, “There ain’t no sin and there in’t no virtue.

There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say. ” A hedonistic moral code that tells of pleasure before rules and presumes to deny punishment is highly unusual for a one-time preacher. Casy struggled with his personal inner faith, and also his actions and speeches that defied what a regular man of the faith would do. The inner being of Jim Casy was evolving and furthermore conflicting when he metamorphisized from a man of thought to a man of action.

Towards the beginning of the book, Casy spent many a night sleep- deprived and many a day mute philosophizing to himself. “Say, Casy, you been awful goddamn quiet the las’ few days… you ain’t said ten words the las’ couple days, ” Tom said. Even Casy himself had trouble speaking at all: “Now look, Tom. Oh what the hell! So goddamn hard to say anything. ” He remarked early on in the book, “There’s stuff goin’ on an’ they’s folks doin’ things… An’ if ya listen, you’ll hear… res’lessness. They’s stuff goin’ on that these folks is doin’ that don’t know nothin’ about- yet.

They’s gonna ome somepin outa all these folks goin’ wes’… They’s gonna come a thing that’s gonna change the whole country. ” Later in the book Casy stops predicting “a thing” and takes part of this revolution by striking outside a peach-picking plant. He had spent a lot of time pondering the environment at hand, but he finally turns his anti- authority feelings into physical actions when he kicks a cop causing trouble in Hooverville. Casy later goes on to spontaneously take the blame for the fight and was sent to jail, sacrificing his own well-being for others.

On top of Casy’s struggles with himself, he also faced xterior conflicts with the rest of the world. Jim Casy came across conflicts between himself and the rest of society. He attempted to organize the migrants but saw great difficulty. After Casy was let out of jail he (and other wise men) picketed outside a peach-picking camp for higher wages. Although he managed to organize those few men, and kept the wages at a reasonable price while on strike, he could not persuade the others inside the workplace to join him.

“Tell ’em [the people who are picking peaches] they’re starvin’ us an’ stabbin’ theirselves in the back. Cause sure as cowflops he’ll drop to two an’ a half jus’ as soon as they clear us out,” Casy said referring to the fact that unless the people in the camp did something- like went on strike- they would ‘stab themselves in the back’ because the wages would go back down. However, the people in the camp only cared about the five they were making at the time and nothing else. Casy’s attempts at organizing failed not only because the people cared specifically for what was happening at the present time, but also because they were afraid to organize.

As soon as there is a recognized leader cops throw him in ail or threaten him. People put the migrants down and used derogatory terms to attempt to control them. Society wanted to keep the migrants moving, leaving it impossible for them to organize. There was once a man who started to unite the people in jail. Later the very people he was trying to help threw him out, afraid of being seen in his company. His attempts at uniting fail eternally when he tells a cop he is starving children and the cop smashes his skull with a board. Jim Casy encounters more external difficulties when he crosses paths with cops.

In chapter 20, Floyd, John, Tom nd Casy have a physical fight with a deputy. In an unrelated incident, an officer threatened to set fire to the camp Casy’s friends were staying at. When Casy was trying to organize some men, cops were continually breaking them down. “We tried to camp together, an’ they [cops] druv us like pigs. Scattered us. Beat the hell outa fellas. Druv us like pigs… We can’t las’ much longer. Some people ain’t et for two days,”said Casy. “Cops cause more trouble than they stop,” Casy also mentioned. Thus is a man who has seen animosity and enmity and has not been afraid.

In conclusion, Jim Casy s a rather Christ-like, harmonious, unprovincial, somewhat realistic charcter who has seen the challenges of organization, authority, his own faith, reception from others, and his own ever- changing personality. This man can be looked at as a martyr, ethical, sacred individual, and yet ironically “Okie”, hobo, or virtue-less bum. However The Grapes of Wrath and Jim Casy are undisputed symbols of hope, dreams, spirit and the oneness of all humanity. To me personally, Jim Casy is a role-model to any one who aspires to think original thoughts. I find his defiance of organized eligion thought-provoking and inspiring.

His ideas of nature are prophetic and his selfless love of people beautiful. Jim Casy’s essence of understanding, dreams, love, hope and belief in an almighty holiness can be summed up in one quote, “An’ Almighty God never raised no wages. These here folks want to live decent and bring up their kids decent. An’ when they’re old they wanta set in the door an’ watch the downing sun. An’ when they’re young they wanta dance an’ sing an’ lay together. They wanta eat an’ get drunk and work. An’ that’s it- they wanta jus’ fling their goddamn muscles aroun’ an’ get tired. “

Farm Subsidies – A Necessary Evil

Subsidies are payments, economic concessions, or privileges given by the government to favor businesses or consumers. In the 1930s, subsidies were designed to favor agriculture. John Steinbeck expressed his dislike of the farm subsidy system of the United States in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. In that book, the government gave money to farms so that they would grow and sell a certain amount of crops. As a result, Steinbeck argued, many people starved unnecessarily. Steinbeck examined farm subsidies from a personal level, showing how they hurt the common man.

Subsidies have a variety of other problems, both on the micro and macro level that should not be ignored. Despite their benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional part of our economic system. The problems of the American farmer arose in the 1920s, and various methods were introduced to help solve them. The United States still disagrees on how to solve the continuing problem of agricultural overproduction. In 1916, the number of people living on farms was at its maximum at 32,530,000. Most of these farms were relatively small (Reische 51). Technological advances in the 1920’s brought a variety of effects.

The use of machinery increased productivity while reducing the need for as many farm laborers. The industrial boom of the 1920s drew many workers off the farm and into the cities. Machinery, while increasing productivity, was very expensive. Demand for food, though, stayed relatively constant (Long 85). As a result of this, food prices went down. The small farmer was no longer able to compete, lacking the capital to buy productive machinery. Small farms lost their practicality, and many farmers were forced to consolidate to compete. Fewer, larger farms resulted (Reische 51).

During the Depression, unemployment grew while income shrank. “An extended drought had aggravated the farm problem during the 1930s (Reische 52). ” Congress, to counter this, passed price support legislation to assure a profit to the farmers. The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936 allowed the government to limit acreage use for certain soil-depleting crops. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 allowed the government to set the minimum price and amount sold of a good at the market. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, farmers were given price supports for not growing crops.

These allowed farmers to mechanize, which was necessary because of the scarcity of farm labor during World War II (Reische 52). During World War II, demand for food increased, and farmers enjoyed a period of general prosperity (Reische 52). In 1965, the government reduced surplus by getting farmers to set aside land for soil conservation (Blanpied 121). The Agricultural Act of 1970 gave direct payments to farmers to set aside some of their land (Patterson 129). The 1973 farm bill lowered aid to farmers by lowering the target income for price supports. The 1970s were good years for farmers.

Wheat and corn prices tripled, land prices doubled, and farm exports outstripped imports by twenty-four billion dollars (Long 88). Under the Carter administration, farm support was minimized. Competition from foreign markets, like Argentina, lowered prices and incomes (Long 88). Ronald Reagan wanted to wean the farm community from government support. Later on in his administration, though, he started the Payments In Kind policy, in which the government paid farmers not to grow major crops. Despite these various efforts, farms continue to deal with the problems that rose in the 1920s.

Farm subsidies seem to have benefits for the small farmer. “Each year since 1947, there has been a net out-migration of farm people (Reische 53). ” American farm production has tripled since 1910 while employment has fallen eighty percent (Long 82). Small family farms have the lowest total family incomes (Long 83). Farming is following a trend from many small farms to a few large farms. Competition among farmers has increased supply faster than demand. New seed varieties, better pest control, productive machinery, public investments in irrigation and transportation, and better management will increase farm output.

The resulting oversupply of farm products, which creates a low profit margin, drives smaller farms out of business. Smaller farms lack the capital and income to buy the machinery they need to compete with larger farms (Long 85). Many see this tendency towards consolidation and mechanization of farms to be harmful to the United States in the long run, and they see subsidies as a way of achieving a social desire to preserve the family farm. “If the family farm represents anything, it’s a very intimate and fundamental relationship between people and resources (MacFadyen 138). ” Fewer farms mean fewer jobs and a higher concentration of wealth.

Ten 30,000-acre farms may produce as much food as a hundred 3000-acre farms, but the former supports machinery; the latter, community (MacFadyen 138). Farm subsidies are designed to prevent the extinction of the small farmer. Despite the social benefits, subsidies have many problems. The subsidy system is often wasteful; the government finances irrigation systems in the California Imperial Valley, and then pays farmers not to grow crops on it (Solkoff 27). Some benefits hurt the small farmer. Marketing orders and tax breaks hurt small operators by giving more money to bigger farms.

Big farms can then overproduce and undersell using advanced machinery, driving lesser farms out of business (Fox 28). Subsidies also allow foreign markets to become competitive by artificially raising market prices (Long 91). Artificially raising market prices create a surplus that would normally be solved by the free market system. In a theoretical free market, overproduction would drive excess farms out of business, until equilibrium would establish itself for both price and quantity of farm products. Subsidies allow inefficient farms to continue to exist, which creates an inefficient economic system.

Subsidies also increase the cost of other consumer products, while also increasing taxes to pay for them. Perhaps most importantly, subsidies do not fulfill their social role. “About 112,000 large farms– equivalent to the number of farms in Minnesota alone– produce half the nation’s food and fiber (Long 82). ” The many government subsidy policies do not preserve the family farm, and the number of small farms has almost continuously been on the decline. Subsidies are impractical in the economic and the social aspects. Despite perceived benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional part of our economic system.

Their goal, nonetheless, is noble. Writers like John Steinbeck made people aware of the plight of the small farmer, and subsidies were the only solution he government could think of. If there is some way to prevent the decline of small farms that does not carry the many subsidy problems, the agricultural policy would undoubtedly change. Perhaps the same anti-trust laws that prevented the monopolizing of industry could be used to prevent the consolidation of farms. Until some other system is developed that can deal with the problems of the farmer, subsidies will continue to be used.

Grapes Of Wrath Biblical Allusions

John Steinbeck carefully molded his story The Grapes of Wrath to encompass many themes and ideas. He included several Biblical allusions to enforce his message of the migrating families coming together to form a community. Steinbeck alludes to Biblical characters through Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon, events like the familys journey to California and the flood at the end of the novel, and teachings throughout the novel. The Biblical allusions represented by the characters in the novel are most obvious in the characters of Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon.

However, the Joad family s made up of twelve including Connie, much like the twelve disciples that followed Jesus. Connie represents the traitor, the Judas figure who had betrayed Jesus the night of his arrest when he walks out on his family for selfish reasons. Jim Casy is an allusion to Jesus Christ. They have the same initials and live their lives as examples of their beliefs; Jesus to the world and Casy to Tom. Casy even compares himself to Christ when he says, I got tired like Him, an I got mixed up like Him, an I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin stuff (105).

In the first half of the book Casy is thinking and forming his ideas. He changes from a thinker to a man of action when he sacrifices himself for Tom. When in prison Casy sees the advantage of organizing people to achieve a common goal. When Casy tried to put his ideas into action he, like Christ, aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally killed. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, You don know what youre a-doin (495). Rose of Sharon represents a Biblical allusion towards the end of the novel.

After she gives birth to her stillborn child, she gives life to a starving man by breast-feeding him. Her sacrifice suggests the notion of rebirth through Christs physical body which is ymbolized in the ritual of communion. When she tells the man to drink her milk she alludes to the Last Supper when Christ tells his disciples Take, drink; this is my blood. Rose of Sharon realizes this man will die without her, in the same way Christ said that without Him people will die spiritually.

Rose of Sharon exemplifies the idea of helping others in need through her actions in the conclusion of the novel. Steinbeck also alludes to events in the Bible through situations among the Joad family. Their journey to California is much like the Israelites journey from Egypt to Caanan. The novel is broken up into three sections. The first part is the Joads eviction from their farms under the control of the banks and companies which parallels the Israelites slavery to the Egyptians. Both groups struggled under the control of overwhelming forces and left in hopes of a better life.

The second part is the Joads journey from Oklahoma across the Panhandle in search of the promised California which parallels the Israelites wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land. Both groups experienced many troubles, but were forced to rely on each other to survive. The third part is the Joads arrival to California which parallels the Israelites arrival to Caanan. The journey for the Israelites lasted so many years that only the younger generation made it to the Promised Land. In the same way Granma and Grampa died before they reached the promised California.

The flood at the end of the novel is another example of a Biblical allusion used by Steinbeck. This situation parallels to the Old Testament story of Noahs Ark. In both events, heavy rains cause a flood that results in the families leaving their homes. In the novel, the Joads and the Wainwrights gather their belongings onto a platform and wait out the flood, much like Noah and his family gather on the ark for forty days until he rain stops. These situations show again the importance of unity and helping one another to make it through troubles.

Last Steinbeck alludes to Christs teachings in the Bible to reveal his theme of coming together in the face of weakness to grow and become strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 states, 9 But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This Biblical teaching comes through several times as the Joad family faces struggles and weaknesses, but because they stick together they are made stronger. Steinbecks many allusions to the Bible reflect his personal views about religion and allow him to reinforce his theme of migrant families coming together to form a community to work together. He alludes to Biblical characters through Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon, events like the familys journey to California and the flood at the end of the novel, and teachings throughout the novel that are found in the Bible.

The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930’s live under. The novel tells of one families migration west to California through the great economic depression of the 1930’s. The Joad family had to abandon their home and their livelihoods. They had to uproot and set adrift because tractors were rapidly industrializing their farms. The bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off their loan.

The novel shows how the Joad family deals with moving to California. How they survive the cruelty of the land owners that take advantage of them, their poverty and willingness to work. The Grapes of Wrath combines Steinbeck adoration of the land, his simple hatred of corruption resulting from materialism (money) and his abiding faith in the common people to overcome the hostile environment. The novel opens with a retaining picture of nature on rampage. The novel shows the men and women that are unbroken by nature.

The theme is one of man verses a hostile environment. His body destroyed but his spirit is not broken. The method used to develop the theme of the novel is through the use of symbolism. There are several uses of symbols in the novel from the turtle at the beginning to the rain at the end. As each symbol is presented through the novel they show examples of the good and the bad things that exist within the novel. The opening chapter paints a vivid picture of the situation facing the drought-stricken farmers of Oklahoma.

Dust is described a covering everything, smothering the life out of anything that wants to grow. The dust is symbolic of the erosion of the lives of the people. The dust is synonymous with “deadness”. The land is ruined ^way of life (farming) gone, people ^uprooted and forced to leave. Secondly, the dust stands for ^profiteering banks in the background that squeeze the life out the land by forcing the people off the land. The soil, the people (farmers) have been drained of life and are exploited: The last rain fell on the red and gray country of Oklahoma in early May.

The weeds became a dark green to protect themselves from the sun’s unyielding rays…. The wind grew stronger, uprooting the weakened corn, and the air became so filled with dust that the stars were not visible at night. (Chp 1) As the chapter continues a turtle, which appears and reappears several times early in the novel, can be seen to stand for survival, a driving life force in all of mankind that cannot be beaten by nature or man.

The turtle represents a hope that the trip to the west is survivable by the farmer migrants (Joad family). The turtle further represents the migrants struggles against nature/man by overcoming every obstacle he encounters: the red ant in his path, the truck driver who tries to run over him, being captured in Tom Joad’s jacket: And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it.

The driver of the truck works for a large company, who try to stop the migrants from going west, when the driver attempts to hit the turtle it is another example of the big powerful guy trying to flatten or kill the little guy. Everything the turtle encounters trys its best to stop the turtle from making its westerly journey. Steadily the turtle advances on, ironically to the southwest, the direction of the mirgration of people.

The turtle is described as being lasting, ancient, old and wise: horny head, yellowed toenails, indestructible high dome of a shell, humorous old eyes. (Chp 1) The driver of the truck, red ant and Tom Joad’s jacket are all symbolic of nature and man the try to stop the turtle from continuing his journey westward to the promise land. The turtle helps to develop the theme by showing its struggle against life/ comparing it with the Joad struggle against man. The grapes seem to symbolize both bitterness and copiousness.

Grandpa the oldest member of the Joad family talks of the grapes as symbols of plenty; all his descriptions of what he is going to do with the grapes in California suggest contentment, freedom, the goal for which the Joad family strive for: I’m gonna let the juice run down ma face, bath in the dammed grapes (Chp 4) The grapes that are talked about by Grandpa help to elaborate the theme by showing that no matter how nice everything seems in California the truth is that their beauty is only skin deep, in their souls they are rotten.

The rotten core verses the beautiful appearance. The willow tree that is located on the Joad’s farm represents the Joad family. The willow is described as being unmovable and never bending to the wind or dust. The Joad family does not want to move, they prefer to stay on the land they grew up on, much the same as the willow does. The willow contributes to the theme by showing the unwillingness of the people to be removed from their land by the banks. The latter represents the force making them leave their homes.

Both of these symbols help contribute to the theme by showing a struggle between each other. The tree struggles against nature in much the same way that the Joad family struggles against the Bank and large companies. The rains that comes at the end of the novel symbolize several things. Rain in which is excessive, in a certain way fulfills a cycle of the dust which is also excessive. In a way nature has restored a balance and has initiated a new growth cycle. This ties in with other examples of the rebirth idea in the ending, much in the way the Joad family will grow again.

The rain contributes to the theme by showing the cycle of nature that give a conclusion to the novel by showing that life is a pattern of birth and death. The rain is another example of nature against man, the rain comes and floods the living quarters of the Joads. The Joads try to stop the flood of their home by yet again are forced back when nature drops a tree causing a flood of water to ruin their home forcing them to move. In opposite way rain can helpful to give life to plants that need it to live. Depending on which extreme the rain is in, it can be harmful or helpful.

This is true for man, man can become both extremes bad or good depending on his choosing. Throughout the novel there are several symbols used to develop the theme man verses a hostile environment. Each symbol used in the novel show examples of both extremes. Some represent man, that struggles against the environment, others paint a clear picture of the feelings of the migrants. As each symbol is presented chronologically through the novel, they come together at the end to paint a clear picture of the conditions, treatment and feelings the people (migrants) as they make there journey through the novel to the West.

Steinbeck’s myth of the okies

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath serves as a milestone in the plethora of literature addressing the lives, adversities and perseverance of those affected by the American Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s. However, the responses generated by the book vary greatly. Some have hailed it as one of the great American masterpieces, flaws included, whilst others describe it as a “so-so” book fraught with distorted, dramatised history and propaganda.

The question that persists sixty-six years after the publication of the novel, and sixty-five years after the debut of John Ford’s black and white drama, is can this work serve as reliable history and enduring literature? The novel was always intended to be a literal account of the hardships of the migrating “Okies”, yet as Keith Windschuttle eloquently dissects in his article Steinbeck’s Myth of the Okies, the historical distortions of the narrative, regardless of the author’s intention, abound. Before assessing the historical merit of such a work it is important to systematically debunk the gross inaccuracies of the text.

When assessing the historical writing of narrative, especially fictitious writing that presents itself as history, it is important to take into account the inherent subjective nature of a narrative. When creating any account of history it is unavoidable that the writer of fiction (or even brute fact) will select and combine sources he designates as relevant in order to aid the overall meaning-making process of the text. Thus, Steinbeck’s attempt to generate dramatised myth around the history of depression and in particular the Okies, is only a function of the narrative intended to “capture” the reader.

For example, in response to Keith Windschuttle’s article some readers of the New Criterion have been quoted; “the greatness of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s masterpiece and one of the great American novels, should not be minimized, and I believe Mr. Windshuttle was wrong to do so. It is a story of the bravery and perseverance of three-dimensional human beings who come to life on the novel’s pages. The Grapes of Wrath is not a mere recounting of history, demography, or geography. ” -Grey Satterfield , Oklahoma City However, one cannot deny that the text is grossly distorted and propagandist at points.

For example, the dust storms spoken of repeatedly in the novel would not have affected many of the regions described , such as the area inhabited by the Joads, Salisaw Oklahoma. In truth only 16000 people (less than 6 percent of total South Western state migrants) migrated out of dust affected regions, most of them coming from areas such as Western Kansas, Eastern Colorado and Western Texas. The confusion of dust and drought was generated by locals along route 66 who associated the numerous automobiles with the dust storms (created by wind erosion) that had attracted widespread media coverage.

Likewise, the true exodus was not caused merely by economic depression during the 1920s and 30s, but on the contrary, by economic boom generated by the increase of manufacturing and factory jobs that arose due to global demand of World War II in the 1940s. Many of the migrants were not farmers; only 36 percent owned or worked farm land whilst 50 percent had occupational jobs in urban areas. In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath we are told that the banks are too blame for the eviction of tenant farmers and sharecroppers from their land. However, this is fraudulent.

Steinbeck’s status as a “new deal democrat” caused him to shift the blame from the policies he endorsed to the faceless evil of the banks and their “great owners”. In truth, the evictions resulted from Roosevelt’s Agricultural Adjustment Act of the New Deal; The AAA paid farmers not to grow crops and not to produce dairy produce such as milk and butter. It also paid them not to raise pigs and lambs. The money to pay the farmers for cutting back production of about 30% was raised by a tax on companies that bought the farm products and processed them into food and clothing. ]n 1936 the Supreme Court declared the AAA unconstitutional.

The majority of judges (6-3) ruled that it was illegal to levy a tax on one group (the processors) in order to pay it to another (the farmers). Thus, subsidised by government aid, landlords began to reduce their cotton acreage, evict tenants and combine their assets. By 1924 the number of tenant farmers had declined by nearly a quarter. The mythical nature of Steinbeck’s tale is biblical. Route 66 is transformed in the narrative from a highway into a fabled rite of passage akin to wagon trails or great treks.

This dangerous route coupled with the ignorance of the Joads prior to their journey creates an environment fraught with epic drama. However, many migrants were able to make the journey in three nights and four days, staying in comfortable motels along the way. The vast majority of migrants were not ignorant of their destinations, like the Joads. Most had relatives or friends in California ready to guide them upon their arrival. Those who did not have direct connections created them by sending a son or brother westwards first in order to assess the area and pave the way for the rest of the family.

For example, oral historical transcripts of genuine Okies illustrates that most of them made the journey either alone or with one or two companions; Smith: Then I left Oklahoma and rode a freight train to California M. N: By yourself? Smith: Yes I rode the freight train back. I was 17. After I got back to Oklahoma I went to work. I worked in the oil fields around Seminole, Oklahoma, in El Dorado, Arkansas and in Smackover Arkansas. An entourage of thirteen family members, as in The Grapes of Wrath, would have been very much unique. California is depicted in the novel as hostile, unfriendly and fruitless in terms of the Joad’s expectations.

However, once again the fiction errs from reality. Unemployment in California did soar during the early 1930’s to numbers as high as 29 percent, yet due to World War II and the rise of manufacturing factory positions this quickly stabilized around 1934/1937. Cotton acreage in California was actually increasing, and in areas such as San Joaquin Valley the acreage quadrupled and wages doubled. This in conjunction with California’s generous relief system ($40 compared with Oklahoma’s $10) allowed many of the migrants to settle in one place as they could rely on relief for part of the year, instead of following the harvest.

Thus the migrants found means to alleviate the dire poverty professed in the novel and gained higher wages and lower unemployment rates than their countrymen who stayed in the South West. Steinbeck’s ulterior intentions for this novel revolve around the ideas of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. This is clearly evident from the strong proletariat theme of the novel, particularly in concord of what was an individualistic American family turned into a collectivist unit with group values. Thus we are shown a dichotomy of the human condition under adversity and a socialist analysis of their suffering.

However, this theme is superfluous. Steinbeck’s personal communistic interest was short lived. He dabbled in pro-Marxist west coast literature circles and enjoyed the company of leading socialist figures such as Francis Whitaker, yet by the time of the Cold-War he had renounced these values. Ultimately the appeal of the novel is not the hidden subterfuge of collectivist ethic but the adaptation of biblical and mythical themes to the nuclear American family, albeit narrow connections to the “true” Okies.

As Windschuttle eloquently concludes; “Rather than a proletariat who learned collectivist values during a downward spiral towards immiseration, all the historical evidence points the other way. The many sociological studies made over the last forty years confirm the same picture. In the 1940s and beyond, the migrants retained their essentially individualistic cultural ethos, preserved their evangelical religion, and prospered in their new environment. “

John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath

In a crisis, a person’s true colors emerge. The weak are separated from the strong and the leaders are separated from the followers. In John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family, forced from their home in Oklahoma, head to California in search of work and prosperity only to find poverty and despair. As a result of a crisis, Ma Joad emerges as a controlled, forceful, and selfless authority figure for the family. Ma Joad exhibits exelent self-control during the sufferings and frustrations of the Joad’s journey. Ma knows that she is the backbone of the family, and that they will survive only if she remains calm.

Ma keeps her self-control when Ruthie tells some children about Tom’s secret. The family becomes nervous and enraged over the situation, but Ma restores order by handling the situation in a calm and collected manner. If Ma were to ever show fear, the family would most likely collapse. For, “Old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt or fear. ” Thus, if Ma acts as if everything is all right, then the family will assume everything is all right. Most members of the family openly express their doubts or fears.

Ma may be just as frightened as the rest of the family, but she always maintains a front for the rest of the family. When Ma had fears, “She had practiced denying them in herself. ” This extraordinary self-control helps to keep the Joad unit together and alive. Ma, like all leaders, must be forceful for things to work in her favor. Numerous situations occur in which Ma must be forceful or relinquish her role as the head of the family. Her forceful leadership occurs once when the family, without Ma’s consent, agrees to leave Tom and Casey behind to fix the Wilson’s car.

Ma feels this will break up the family and uses a jack handle to prove her point. It is at this point Ma replaces Pa as the official head of the family. Ma’s forceful leadership also surfaces when she threatens a police officer with a frying pan and when she decides for the family to leave the government camp. In both situations Ma must use force to achieve her objectives; in both situations, she emerges victorious. Eventually, Pa becomes angered because of his loss of power to a woman and says in frustration, “Seems like times is changed.

Ma’s will and forcefulness help her to be the steadfast leader her family needs in its darkest hour. Ma’s selflessness emerges as her most important quality as the leader of the family unit. Often Ma sacrifices her own well-being for that of the family. For example, Ma risks her mental well-being when Granma is dying. The family stops at the California border, and Granma is dead. Ma fears that if she tells the guard, the family might not be allowed to enter California. She lies to the guard, saying Granma feels very sick and needs a doctor.

She spends the rest of the night lying beside the body, waiting until it is safe to tell the family. In response to the situation, Ma says miserably, “The fambly hadda get acrost. ” Ma’s selfless qualities are also expressed by her actions toward Jim Casey’s ideals. Casey feels that all is holy, and everything is a holy action. In nearly every action, Ma shows concern for her family’s needs and sometimes, when the situation arises, the needs of strangers as well. Also, Casey believes in an oversoul, and Ma’s selflessness embraces this concept.

Ma thinks of everyone as if she is thinking of herself, making her one with the whole community, thus fulfilling the oversoul concept. Ma’s sacrifice of her needs for those of the family is a subtle yet powerful method of her leadership of the family unit. In the Joad’s hour of darkness, Ma emerges as their savior. Ma’s success can be attributed to superb self-control, forcefulness, and selflessness. Just as Ma leads, Pa is shown to be no more than a reluctant follower. In a crisis, a person’s true colors show. Some people run and hide, some step aside to follow, and a select few step up and lead.

John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath is in direct correlation with his view of the rich and the poor. Steinbeck vividly depicts the wealthy as being monsters and portrays the lower-class okies as being un-sung heroes. Steinbeck uses figurative language throughout the course of the novel in order to create these images. Steinbeck incorporates his views of social classes into his novel in order to forewarn society of the dangers of the separation of social classes.

In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck introduces lower class America as the gallant heroes, and upper class America as the evil influence behind social segregation. John Steinbeck is very fervent toward the manner in which the wealthy treat the poor because of the iniquities that manifest themselves in the upper class portion of our society. The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.

Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. – John Berger John Berger and John Steinbeck have parallel minds when it comes to the manner in which the 20th century treats the destitute individual. The difficulty in this matter comes with the fact that there isnt a single individual to blame. Instead, society as a whole is to blame.

Natural scarcity isnt even an issue when it comes to Americas potential. If the price of food is too low we solve the problem by throwing out food that could have been used to feed the famished mouths of our ravenous society. Steinbeck depicts even a ravenous individual as a virtuous member of society. The Grapes of Wrath is such an involved novel because of the many themes that present themselves on so many different levels. The palpable reason for high-class societys iniquities is greed, but Steinbeck introduces many other ideas.

One of the ideas that Steinbeck expresses through the novel is the idea that there is almost an innate malevolence that encompasses the wealthy. Aside from Steinbecks malice view of the wealthy, he despises the men that work for the big corporations and believes that they are just as responsible for their actions. 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. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters.

Many of the men that work for the banks and corporations create a scapegoat by placing all of the blame on the banks and corporations, as if a bank or corporation is one person to blame. Once Steinbeck creates a malign illustration of the wealthy, he goes on to create a benign image of the poor. The lower class, as a single component, is never described as being wicked. The poor are always generous and ready to help others. The lower class virtuous attitude is greatly emphasized by comparing them to the wealthy. The okies are only able to make it through life by helping each other.

It is through this realization that the okies obtain their strength. One of the messages that Steinbeck tries to communicate to the reader is the reassurance that when the poor help each other they are accomplishing more than what a little bit of money could have done for them. Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it once and for all. Almsgiving leaves a man just where he was before. Aid restores him to society as an individual worthy of all respect and not as a man with a grievance. Almsgiving is the generosity of the rich; social aid levels up social inequalities.

Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and sets him on the same level with the rich. – Eva Peran Aid is one of the exceedingly important aspects of life that people tend to overlook. The poor are more inclined to give aid to each other than the wealthy are inclined to give aid to the poor. When a patrician lends a hand to a beggar the boundary between the rich and the poor is broken. I think that one of the problems with Steinbecks view of the rich and the poor is that he sees the entire spectrum in black and white. If you are rich, you are bad.

If you are poor, you are good. If you look at the world with this frame of mind you will emphasize the message that you are trying to convey to the world, but you will overlook the exceptions. I think that a persons wealth has a lot to do with his frame of mind, whether he is rich or poor. By desiring little, a poor man makes himself rich. -Democritus If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. -Edmund Burke The only problem that I see with this philosophy is that a persons frame of mind doesnt put food on the table.

The significance in the appelation of the Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, justifies its title within the tale. This novel is the description of a migrant farming family during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression of the 1930s. It is the all too typical event of a farm repossession ultimately leading to the need for the family to leave. The Joads, our main characters, are the people through which the story is conveyed. They have been fed false hopes toward the “Promised Land” of California, convincing them to make the journey even further west than their Oklahoma home.

The Grapes of Wrath is the description of this pilgrimage and the snags they face along the way. The Joads become extremely impoverished, and destitute, and the only hope for survival is the hold they have to each other. The book also includes many alternating intercalary chapters, to make the hardships seem more generic. These chapters generally describe life for migrant farmers and midwesterners of this time period. The title, The Grapes of Wrath holds high significance in the actual telling of the story.

It is representative of the ideals that these people held and the ultimate realization of their prevarication. Grapes, in this novel are very metaphorical. When the Joad family originally decides to make the long journey to California, Grampa sets a significant scene. “Know what Im a-gonna do? Im gonna pick me a wash tub full of grapes, an Im gonna set in em, and scrooge aroun, an let the juice run down my pants” (119). He describes what he will do when he gets there, which involves grapes. His description of this act is jovial and demonstrates the “Promised Land” aspect of California.

This is when the family is full of hope, and grapes are the symbol for their new and better life. Grapes, being a fruit, which is traditionally stately, represents rebirth and renewal. It also shows a higher social standing by making the implication that they will be able to enjoy such simple pleasures and most likely drink of the expensive wines of the California vineyards. At this point in the story, the grape is solely representative of all that is good, new and pure in their journey, and the hope that lies ahead.

Before their dreams are lost, this is their stronghold and what keeps them pressing on in their trip. Because of the destitute trip involved in getting to California, the “Wrath” aspect of the title is also accurate. This, however is different from the grapes. Wrath represents the actuality of the journey, not the dream, as the grapes do. Wrath, definitively means “Violent, resentful anger; rage; fury” (American Heritage 1477). This definition relates to the struggle in the story well. The grapes, which represent the dreams of the characters, end up being what hurts them the most.

They have endearing wills to carry on because of their hopes, which ultimately, because they end up apart, hurt, or desolate, is what has hurt them the most. Because of their need for success and the will to gain it, they will not give in to the fact that they have failed. Ma constantly attempts to keep the family together, even when it might be too late. “Familys falling apartI dont know. Seems like I cant think no more. I jus cant think. Theys too much” (278). Because it is their dreams (the grapes) that have scorned them with wrath (ultimate demise), the title, The Grapes of Wrath, is very fitting.

Although dreaming of the “Promised Land” can be helpful, because of the nature of this particular story, these dreams ended up hurting the Joads more than improving their livelihood. The Grapes of Wrath was titled very deliberately by John Steinbeck. The comparison and metaphor of the grapes with dreaming and promise make it accurate. The ultimate breaking of the family, and desperate measures they have to take very well represent the “Wrath” portion of the title. This title was well chosen, and very significant to the plot.

Grapes of Wrath: Dustbowl Disaster

In the 1930s, drought and horrific dust storms turned the once-fertile agricultural lands of mid-America into virtual dust bowls and wastelands. Thousands of destitute farmers packed their families and belongings into and onto their cars and left their homes in search of agricultural work in central California. Their plight and the politics of that day are told in the novel “The Grapes of Wrath. ” Published in 1939 by California writer John Steinbeck, the book won the 1940 Pulitzer Prize.

In his book, Steinbeck champions the downtrodden migrants, as he follows the Joad family from Oklahoma to California. Tom Joad, eldest son, is the book’s protagonist and his efforts to save his family are the core of the book’s story. As Steinbeck writes in his book, “The moving, questing people were migrants now. Those families which had lived on a little piece of land, who had lived and died on forty acres, had now the whole West to rove in.

And they scampered about, looking for work; and the highways were streams of people, and the ditch banks were lines of people. ” Often known as “Okies,” a derogatory term, Dust Bowl immigrants like the fictional Joads did not get a warm welcome from California’s farmers and politicians. The newcomers were herded into slum-like migrant camps, given low wages for back-breaking work, and treated like criminals. Much of this was an effort by local farmers to take advantage of a cheap labor pool and to revent labor organizing that would raise wages.

Much of it was the result of fear on the part of Californians who were faced with a huge influx of ragged families. Whatever the cause, the result wasn’t pretty. It shaped the development of the Midwest, which lost thousands of people and farms, and of California, which had to develop a new social order to handle the transplants. The problems faced by those from Oklahoma are not unlike those faced today by migrant workers from Mexico.

Grapes Of Wrath By Steinbeck

John Steinbeck shows the readers many themes in “The Grapes of Wrath”. One of the most apparent is as Steinbeck stated, “The Joads passage through a process of education for the heart. ” Many characters in “The Grapes or Wrath” exhibit this theme, but it is valiantly apparent in the actions of the Joads as a family, Tom, Casy, and Rose of Sharon. Although each person in the Joad family is a separate individual, the family often acts as thought it were one person. As one might expect the experiences they incur change the family personality.

At the end of the book the Joads have lost their family identity, but they’ve replaced it with something equally worthy: they’ve found kinship with other migrant families. The Joads merge with the Wainwrights and the Wilsons, because each family needed the other and the fragmented family becomes whole again. The members don’t share last names, but they give support to each other in the form of food, blankets, a kind word, medicine, advice, and even love. As Casy says, “nobody has an individual soul, but everybody’s just got a piece of a great big soul.

By opening their hearts the Joads transformed into members of the universal family. Rose of Sharon, the eighteen year old daughter goes through a miraculous transformation of the heart as the journey progresses. When the Joads first begin their torrid journey Connie, Roses husband, and Rose set themselves apart from the mundane matters that occupy the rest of the family. They focus solely on the baby and dwell in the future instead of the present. They dream of the house they’ll buy for the baby in California, about the car they’ll drive, and about Connie’s schooling and ob.

When the going gets tough, Connie abandons his young wife, which may have been the turning point in Roses life. As time the birth approaches, Rose of Sharon does a surprising thing for someone in her delicate state, as she insists on picking cotton with the rest of her family. After a few days the baby is born dead and she seems relieved to know that she won’t have to raise a child in awesome poverty. Suffering through childbirth has perhaps opened her eyes. Throughout the book we have seen her concerned almost exclusively with herself and her problems.

Now she looks out at the world and turns completely about. In an act of extreme charity, she suckles a dying man with the milk of human kindness. Rose of Sharon discovers that everybody must be treated as family if they are to endure. It’s a message of love, which Rose of Sharon powerfully dramatizes for us in a barn. Jim Casy, one of the three most important characters in the Grapes of Wrath only appears in about one third of the book, yet we rarely forget him. Although Casy was never a Joad, even Tom had stated he’s close enough to be a Joad.

Casy, a former preacher, retreats from organized religion because hypocrisy and a weakness for women have forced him to reexamine his beliefs. He no longer believes in the individual, but strongly believes that “all men got one big soul everybody’s a part of. ” In Hooverville, Casy at last gets his chance to practice what he has started to preach. Tom trips the deputy sheriff who wants to arrest Floyd, an innocent man. Casy joins the fray and knocks the man out with a kick to the neck. When the sheriff returns to haul Tom to jail, Casy volunteers to go in Tom’s place: “Somebody got to take he blame… n’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ but set aroun’. ” Months later we run into Casy again. Out of jail, he has begun to organize the workers, and in fact, he leads the strike at Hooper Ranch. He has translated his love for people into an effort to show them that their strength lies in collective action. Casy devotes his life to the union movement, and later gives it. In effect, Casy sacrifices himself so that others may be better off. Tom Joad, the most important character in the “Grapes of Wrath”, is an individual who realizes the importance of having a heart.

Tom has a quick temper, he killed a man in a drunken brawl, speaks harshly to the truck driver who gives him a lift; scolds the one-eyed man for feeling self-pity; and tells off the fat man who runs the filling station. Tom doesn’t despise each man, but only because each feels defeated by life’s hardships. Tom gives them all a brutally frank pep talk, as though he wants to get them moving again. Tom can’t just throw up his hands and walk away from problems, and he doesn’t want to see others do that either. As the Joads wander around California, Tom meets more good people who eep up the increasingly difficult struggle to live a decent life.

From then on, Tom follows in Casy’s footsteps. His concerns extend beyond himself and his family. They now include all downtrodden people. He feels a calling to help in any way he can. Casy’s violent death probably hastens Tom’s decision to work for the welfare of all poor people. As he says to Ma just before he leaves the family forever, “I’ll be aroun’ in the dark, I’ll be ever’where–wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. ” Tom may end up ead, like Casy, but there is no doubt that he’ll go down swinging.

When we look at the theme of the education of the heart we can realize that these characters didn’t start the journey with the belief that their a part of a great big soul. We can see and realize the gradual yet dramatic transformation of these three characters. Casy lives and dies for others, and at the end Tom will walk in Casy’s footsteps. Rose of Sharon soon after follows as she offers her milk to a stranger, she wears an enigmatic smile, suggesting that she, too, has discovered the joy that comes from opening the heart.

The Grapes of Wrath was written by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath was written by John Steinbeck, in 1929. Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Steinbeck did not like to narrate any of his novels in which he had no background information in. That is why he would often live the life of his characters before he wrote his novels or short stories. So in preparation for The Grapes of Wrath he went to Oklahoma, joined some migrants and rode with them to California. The Grapes of Wrath starts with Tom Joad, the main character, hitchhiking a ride home after being paroled from the state prison.

The reason he was in jail is because four years go he got into a bar fight and killed a man out of self defense. That is why he only got a seven-year sentence. He gets a ride from a trucker who drops him off in front of the road that leads to his house. Tom starts walking toward his house when he comes along a man named Jim Casy, who used to be a preacher. Casy tells Tom that he doesnt preach anymore because he has lost the call. He says that all things are holy, so why should he preach when the people are holy and he can just be with the holy people.

Then Casy joins Tom on the way to his house. When they get to the house, they find that it is deserted. They cant imagine why, when they see something. They see Muley Graves, an old crazy neighbor of the Joad family. Muley tells them that his family went to their Uncle Johns house. So Tom and Casy sleep in the fields for the night and then walk to Uncle Johns in the morning. When they get there, they notice everyone getting ready to leave. The family explains to Tom that the banks and large companies closed out all the farms and most of the farmers are heading out to California to find work.

The family sold all their belongings and got a total of eighteen dollars for them. Casy then joins them because he says he has o be where the people are. Then when they are ready to leave, Grandpa Joad has a fit and the family has to drug him to calm him down. So they leave Uncle Johns for California. On the first night of the journey, Grandpa has a stroke and dies. They bury him and help a family named the Wilsons fix their broken-down car. The Joads and Wilsons travel to California together and when they get to California, Mrs. Wilson gets sick and has to stop the trip.

The Joads give the Wilsons some money and then leaves them. En route to California, Grama Joad had gotten sicker and sicker. When they get to the great esert at night, Ma Joad notices that Grama is dying. Ma tells Grama that the family wont survive if they have to stop in the desert, and that they have to make it across. Then Grama dies. When they get to a guard station, Grama is already dead, but Ma tells the guards that Grama needs to get to a doctor quickly, and the guards let them go. Once across the desert Ma tells everyone that Grama died, and they leave her to be buried, because they have no money.

Then the family gets to a camp for migrants. All the men here are unable to find work. Then a contractor comes into the camp and is looking for workers. One of Toms friends asks what the man is paying, and gets accused of being a “red. ” Then the man is arrested, and a fight starts. The sheriff tells everyone that the camp will be burned. So the Joads leave, with the exception of Casy who got mixed up in the run-in with the sheriff, and they find another government camp that is clean, fair, and protected from the police. Here Rose of Sharons husband deserts her and the family.

Although Rose of Sharon, who is Toms sister, is pregnant. Then when the family is out of money, they leave in search of work. They hear of work in a peach orchard, and head out for that. When they get there, they are escorted into the orchard by police. Outside the front of the orchard there are many men yelling and screaming to the workers. Once inside they begin picking immediately so that they can have enough pay for dinner that night. After dinner, Tom sets out to see what all the men in front of the orchard were yelling about. He finds Jim Casy, who just got out of prison.

Jim tells Tom that they are striking against the owners of the orchard who cut the wages in half. During Tom and Casys talk some men come looking for Casy, who is apparently the leader of the strike. The men kill Casy, then Tom kills the man who killed Casy. Tom runs back to his house and has to hide because one of the men broke his nose. They leave the orchard and find a place where they pick cotton, and Tom can hide until his nose is better. One of the Joad children gets into a fight and threatens to get her brother Tom, because he has killed someone before.

Ma Joad hears this and tells Tom he has to leave. Tom feels the same way because he feels he must carry on with the work Casy was doing. So Tom takes some money from Ma Joad, and leaves. When the cotton is done being picked for the season, the rains start to be heavy. When the Joads think about leaving, Rose of Sharon, Toms sister, starts to have the baby for which she has been pregnant. Some of the other men try to build a dam to keep the water out of the boxcar they are staying in, but the dam does not work. When the baby is born, it is dead.

The water keeps coming in, so Pa Joad builds something the family can stay on for a few days. When the rain lets up, Ma Joad says they have to leave to find a drier place. So they carry the children on their shoulders until they get to a highway. They head down the road to a barn with some dry hay inside. There they find a man who asnt eaten in six days, and is dying from starvation. Since the Joads have no money, or food, Ma suggests that Rose of Sharon feed the man from her breasts. Sharon lets the man drink from her breast and smiles.

At the time The Grapes of Wrath was published, it was thought of as more of a document to be debated over, than a work of art. People didnt know if this was the entire truth, or if it was falsified. The people in Oklahoma and California resented the book. The Oklahoma people resented it because they didnt like being called Okies , and they denied that Oklahoma was a dust bowl that couldnt grow crops. In California people denied what was in The Grapes of Wrath . They said that the book was all black lies.

Life magazine ran specials that proved that conditions were actually worse than Steinbeck told about. Many people thought that Steinbeck was a communist after The Grapes of Wrath was released. Now that the public isnt offended by the novel we can realize that it is not a communist inspired document, but a work of art that illustrates the current troubles in that frame of American history. I found the book interesting. I did not really like those chapters that popped up occasionally that didnt deal with the plot, ut helped explain the previous or following chapters.

I am sure that if I had much trouble with a chapter that those chapters would have helped me, but fortunately I didnt run into that problem. I had not realized the full extent of the great depression before reading The Grapes of Wrath . I knew of the hardships of the suburbs, and urban areas of the great depression, but I was unaware of the hardships in the rural areas. Also it never struck me that the depression affected the west. I do not know why but I never thought of it that way. Reading this novel helped me realize the full extent of the depresion.

Analysis Of “The Grapes Of Wrath”

In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, the life of a migrant family,who is forced off their land in Oklahoma and who is in search of employment in California, is portrayed. During the course of the novel, the Joads move from a concern for themselves and their own personal welfare to a concern for all the people of the world. This becomes one of the major themes in the novel. It is traceable through many of the characters such as Jim Casey, Tom Joad, Ma Joad, and Rosa of Sharon. It is also traceable through many different action taken by the Joad family on the whole.

The character of Jim Casy plays a strong role in bringing forth the theme in discussion. Casey is a preacher like none other. He does not preach the orthodox ideas of the Christian religion. Instead, he preaches the Emersonian doctrine of the Oversoul. Tom Joad once recalls that one time Casey went into the wilderness to find his own soul, an he foun he didnt have no soul that was hisn Says he foun he jus got a little piece of a great big soul… his lilttle piece of a soul wasnt no good less it was with the rest, an was whole.

This is part of Emersons views of the Oversoul; mans soul is breaking away from some larger soul and in death this individual soul is reunited with the larger Oversoul. It is through Casys beliefs in the concept of the Oversoul and his prison experience that reveals to Jim that only through the unity and concern for the entire human race will the migrants succeed. Rose of Sharon is another character which can be used to trace the progression of the Joads from a concern for themselves and their own personal welfare to a concern for all the people of the world.

Through out the novel rose of Sharon is shown as a sick and whining girl. It is easy to blame this on the fact that she a pregnant woman who is expected to deliver at any time. However, her attitude and actions show that she is grouchy and irritable beyond limits. Though the family is in great peril she worries only about the effects it will have on her baby. Once the baby is born into the world a blue mummy, everything changes for her. She begins to hold a concern beyond herself and the baby, because it does not exist.

She shows this in the ending of the novel giving life o some stranger who is starving. through this she becomes part of that brotherhood of man which Casy preached about; she becomes part of the Oversoul. The character of Ma Joad is a character which supports the theme in discussion by focusing on the complete opposite. Throughout the novel Ma Joad is worried about keeping the family together. In its literal interpretation it directly contrasts the idea of the Joads moving beyond just a concern for their immediate family to a concern for all of humanity.

Ma Joad is the force which holds the family together. She realizes that they have no home and that the only value and meaning in life is that which they derive from being a family. In spite of this she knows that the family is breaking up. However she stills fights to keep the family together. She wants to keep them together so that they are protected and that can be only done when the family is whole. This can be related to the theme because the reason Ma Joad fights to hold the family together is the reason the family must worry more about the humanity on a whole.

Only when people worry about he human race on the whole will the race be truly protected and will truly be able to succeed. Again it all goes to Casys preaching about the Oversoul. Tom Joad is the main character in the novel. He enters the novel as a man who is just getting out of prison for killing a man and is interested in his own personal comforts and wants. As he tells Jim Casy, Im just gonna lay one foot down before another. He shows that he feels no regret or guilt for having killed a man. As a grown man he values his own individuality very heavily and does like to be pushed around.

All this changes nce he begins to truly listen to the preaching of Jim Casy. When Tom is forced to hide in a cave because he kills a police officer involved in killing Jim Casy, he has lots of time to think over the ideas of Jim Casy. It is during this time that Tom realizes that man cannot live with the single concern for himself, that man must live by joining together with the other men because strength comes from unity. It is here that he has officially gone from his individualistic ideals in the beginning of the novel to devotion to his family and the family of man kind at his own expense.

In the end he excepts the philosophy of Jim Casy bonds himself to carry out the ideas preached by Jim Casy. In his final statement Tom moves away from his family to the family man kind. With the Joads, the journey west is also a journey from the personal concern to a larger concern for all humanity. This is brought about expertly by John Steinbeck through the development of many characters such as Rose of Sharon, Ma Joad, Jim Casy, and Tom Joad. Through the journey the family suffers through many horrors such as losing a new born child and losing grandpa and grandma.

John Steinbeck book, The Grapes of Wrath

Subsidies are payments, economic concessions, or privileges given by the government to favor businesses or consumers. In the 1930s, subsidies were designed to favor agriculture. John Steinbeck expressed his dislike of the farm subsidy system of the United States in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. In that book, the government gave money to farms so that they would grow and sell a certain amount of crops. As a result, Steinbeck argued, many people starved unnecessarily. Steinbeck examined farm subsidies from a personal level, showing how they hurt the common man.

Subsidies have a variety f other problems, both on the micro and macro level, that should not be ignored. Despite their benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional part of our economic system. The problems of the American farmer arose in the 1920s, and various methods were introduced to help solve them. The United States still disagrees on how to solve the continuing problem of agricultural overproduction. In 1916, the number of people living on farms was at its maximum at 32,530,000. Most of these farms were relatively small (Reische 51). Technological advances in the 1920’s brought a variety of effects.

The use of machinery increased productivity while reducing the need for as many farm laborers. The industrial boom of the 1920s drew many workers off the farm and into the cities. Machinery, while increasing productivity, was very expensive. Demand for food, though, stayed relatively constant (Long 85). As a result of this, food prices went down. The small farmer was no longer able to compete, lacking the capital to buy productive machinery. Small farms lost their practicality, and many farmers were forced to consolidate to compete. Fewer, larger farms resulted (Reische 51).

During the Depression, nemployment grew while income shrank. “An extended drought had aggravated the farm problem during the 1930s (Reische 52). ” Congress, to counter this, passed price support legislation to assure a profit to the farmers. The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936 allowed the government to limit acreage use for certain soil-depleting crops. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 allowed the government to set the minimum price and amount sold of a good at the market. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, farmers were given price supports for not growing crops.

These allowed farmers o mechanize, which was necessary because of the scarcity of farm labor during World War II (Reische 52). During World War II, demand for food increased, and farmers enjoyed a period of general prosperity (Reische 52). In 1965, the government reduced surplus by getting farmers to set aside land for soil conservation (Blanpied 121). The Agricultural Act of 1970 gave direct payments to farmers to set aside some of their land (Patterson 129). The 1973 farm bill lowered aid to farmers by lowering the target income for price supports. The 1970s were good years for farmers.

Wheat and corn prices tripled, land rices doubled, and farm exports outstripped imports by twenty-four billion dollars (Long 88). Under the Carter administration, farm support was minimized. Competition from foreign markets, like Argentina, lowered prices and incomes (Long 88). Ronald Reagan wanted to wean the farm community from government support. Later on in his administration, though, he started the Payments In Kind policy, in which the government paid farmers not to grow major crops. Despite these various efforts, farms continue to deal with the problems that rose in the 1920s.

Farm subsidies seem to have benefits for the small farmer. Each year since 1947, there has been a net out-migration of farm people (Reische 53). ” American farm production has tripled since 1910 while employment has fallen eighty percent (Long 82). Small family farms have the lowest total family incomes (Long 83). Farming is following a trend from many small farms to a few large farms. Competition among farmers has increased supply faster than demand. New seed varieties, better pest control, productive machinery, public investments in irrigation and transportation, and better management will increase farm output.

The resulting oversupply of farm products, hich creates a low profit margin, drives smaller farms out of business. Smaller farms lack the capital and income to buy the machinery they need to compete with larger farms (Long 85). Many see this tendency towards consolidation and mechanization of farms to be harmful to the United States in the long run, and they see subsidies as a way of achieving a social desire to preserve the family farm. “If the family farm represents anything, it’s a very intimate and fundamental relationship between people and resources (MacFadyen 138). ” Fewer farms mean fewer jobs and a higher concentration of wealth.

Ten 30,000-acre farms may produce as much food as a hundred 3000-acre farms, but the former supports machinery; the latter, community (MacFadyen 138). Farm subsidies are designed to prevent the extinction of the small farmer. Despite the social benefits, subsidies have many problems. The subsidy system is often wasteful; the government finances irrigation systems in the California Imperial Valley, and then pays farmers not to grow crops on it (Solkoff 27). Some benefits hurt the small farmer. Marketing orders and tax breaks hurt small operators by giving more money to bigger farms.

Big farms an then overproduce and undersell using advanced machinery, driving lesser farms out of business (Fox 28). Subsidies also allow foreign markets to become competitive by artificially raising market prices (Long 91). Artificially raising market prices create a surplus that would normally be solved by the free market system. In a theoretical free market, overproduction would drive excess farms out of business, until equilibrium would establish itself for both price and quantity of farm products. Subsidies allow inefficient farms to continue to exist, which creates an inefficient economic system.

Subsidies also ncrease the cost of other consumer products, while also increasing taxes to pay for them. Perhaps most importantly, subsidies do not fulfill their social role. “About 112,000 large farms– equivalent to the number of farms in Minnesota alone– produce half the nation’s food and fiber (Long 82). ” The many government subsidy policies do not preserve the family farm, and the number of small farms has almost continuously been on the decline. Subsidies are impractical in the economic and the social aspects. Despite perceived benefits, farm subsidies are an inefficient and dysfunctional part of our economic ystem.

Their goal, nonetheless, is noble. Writers like John Steinbeck made people aware of the plight of the small farmer, and subsidies were the only solution he government could think of. If there is some way to prevent the decline of small farms that does not carry the many subsidy problems, the agricultural policy would undoubtedly change. Perhaps the same anti-trust laws that prevented the monopolizing of industry could be used to prevent the consolidation of farms. Until some other system is developed that can deal with the problems of the farmer, subsidies will continue to be used.

Grapes of Wrath Essay

Because of the devastating disaster of the dust bowl, the Joad family was forced to leave their long-time home and find work and a new life elsewhere. They, like many other families, moved to California. “The land of milk and honey”. The people in the dust bowl imagined California as a haven of jobs where they would have a nice little white house and as much fruit as they could eat. This dream was far from the reality the migrant farmers faced once in California. The dreams, hopes, and expectations the Joads had of California were crushed by the reality of the actual situation in this land of hate and prejudice.

The Joads dream of owning a nice white house and being overwhelmed with fruit was quickly put to end after their first night in California. Ma says, “But I like to think how nice it’s gonna be, maybe, in California. Never cold. An’ fruite ever’place, an’ people just bein’ in the nicest places, little white houses in among the orange trees. ” They had been lied to by the handbills and other propaganda that was circulating in the dust bowl region. The growers in California knew that the people of the dust bowl would have to leave their houses because of the crisis.

They also knew the more pickers they had the lower they could make their prices. The number of handbills sent out far out numbered the number of jobs available. Many people in the dust bowl were constructing a view of California that was devastatingly false. However most of the people had to go somewhere, and all they knew was agriculture, so the natural thing was to go to the only place in the country at that time that was in peak agricultural condition. This was all true in the case of the Joads. They had no experience with any other kind of lifestyle.

They were farmers and they thought that was what they would remain. What they became was job hunters, starving and hungry people, and homeless vagrants. California was no dream land, but the exact opposite. A promised heaven that was revealed to be a very real hell. During the long journey to California the Joads, and other migrant travelers, encountered many warnings of what California was going to be like from migrants who were returning home, mostly destroyed by the true reality of California. They got a warning in the camp they stayed at on the side of the road while Tom, Al, and Casey were fixing the car.

There was a ragged man there that told a gruesome story of his experience in California. He told of the land that was good but was not being farmed. He told of the Hoovervilles and dirty living situation of the migrants. He told of how his own children and died because he couldn’t get a job to feed them. He said, “Sompein it took me a year to find out. Took two kids dead, took my wife dead to show me….. “. The Joads were warned again right near the border of California, by the river, where they stop to camp. The men go down to the river to get cool and encounter a man and his son.

They tell of how bad it is in California. They are returning home. Of course what the Joads hear doesn’t in the slightest encourage them to turn back. They can’t. Their lives back home have been destroyed by the dust and they only have one chance at a good future. California is that chance. They must keep a good image of her in their minds so they don’t go crazy with fear. It’s not that they don’t believe any of the people, it’s that they don’t fully want to believe. The Joads continued on to California, despite al the warnings on the road they had received, because there was just no other possible future for the family.

Upon entering California the Joads got a glimpse of the unused farm land and their first taste that the rumors they had heard on the road about California, were in fact true. They drove down the road and would gaze at all the land that wasn’t being used to produce food and crop for the people. They were amazed and thought if only they could have just that little bit of land, they would make it great and it would become part of them as theirs was back home. They encountered Hoovervilles. Great camps of migrants. Massive amounts of dirty tents and beat up cars. This would be the migrants only home.

They encountered the prejudice towards them from the Californians. “Them Okies? They’re all hard-lookin. ” They witnessed fellow migrants become accused of false crimes just because they weren’t liked. They saw the fear in the people’s eyes that the migrants would one day band together and take that which they wanted of California. It was a situation of magnificent hate and despair. The Californians hated the migrants because they had no jobs and they were dirty and they couldn’t feed their children. The migrants were jobless, homeless, dirty, and too poor to feed their children because California wouldn’t give them a break.

The migrants received an undeserved hate. This of course wouldn’t be the first, or last, time in our country this has happened. The last remnants of the dream land the Joads saw as California were now completely eradicated from their minds. Now they saw what was real and what was the way of life they had chosen, or rather been forced into. There was no turning back now. The dream of California is necessary in the beginning of the book. The dust bowl had taken away much of the pride and courage of the Joad family. They needed something to believe in.

They needed a light at the end of the tunnel because if they stayed where they were they would surely have not survived. The Joads couldn’t stay where they were and without a goal to reach, something to look forward to, one just wanders around life aimlessly and hopelessly. They kept the dream alive throughout the journey. Even through the harsh rumors they heard along the road. They still kept that fragment of hope in the back of their heads that California would be everything they hoped it would be. Even in their worst times in California they would still look forward to earning enough money and getting a little white house to live in.

Their lives really were destroyed when the dust bowl hit but no one can except those facts so they must tell themselves it will be all right. We will go to California and everything will be even better there than it was here. Unfortunately that wasn’t the reality of the situation and the Joads were forced to deal with that harsh reality once in California and on the hard long journey there. California was no dream land, but rather a sealed fate to a life of fighting for food and watching loved ones die. California was the pain of the migrants summed up in one word.

The Grapes of Wrath – realist fiction novel

This book was published in 1975 but written in the 1930’s. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the author also won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. The book is a story of the Joad family, and their trip to California. It tells of the migration of thousands of homeless families from Oklahoma to California. It follows the Joad family, who, evicted from the land by the bank decide to head for the ‘Golden West’ to a land of plenty. When there they encounter poverty and oppression. The book stirs emotion from deep within. It shows the strength of the human spirit under stress and the dreadful conditions the Joad family suffered.

The Joad family began with Ma, Pa, Granpa, Granma, Tom, Al, Ruthie, Connie, Rose of Sharon, Winfield, Uncle John and Casey a former preacher. Whilst on the road they meet the Wilsons who let the Joad’s use their tent when Granpa was dying. Many other characters drift in and out during the unfolding story. The character of Tom Joad is the most interesting. Tom is the oldest child and a paroled convict. He was sent to Pentridge when during a drunken fight he hit a neighbor’s son over the head with a shovel killing him in the process. On elease he hitches back to his parents’ farm and on arrival finds the shocking truth – it is deserted with the doors ripped off.

He finds out from a neighbor who is living off the land while hiding from the bank that, his family and many others were evicted from the land by the bank. He then walks to his uncle John’s whereupon he finds his family loading up the truck to head for California. He is invaluable to his family, using the skills he learnt in prison – car repair, reading and writing. He keeps the whole family moving at times. His younger rother Al who thinks he is god reveres him. A theme that comes through strongly is that a family is a family and should never be broken up either willingly or unwillingly.

This can be seen in many places throughout the book. When they are about to leave Ma has still not heard from Tom whom she believes is still in Pentridge. She is worried and doesn’t want to leave. She is extremely relieved when he arrives even if it is unannounced. Unemployment is another major theme through the book. The Joad family head west to California to find work but the reams do not materialize and they remain jobless and with little money. The biggest theme through the book is money. Every time the family need food, petrol, or car repairs they need money.

It is a constant specter haunting their heads every day especially on the trip west. They did not know whether they had enough money to actually arrive in California. The Grapes of Wrath is realist fiction novel. The author has gone to great lengths in his thick description and inventive but realistic dialogue. This included with the very realistic themes akes good reading. John Steinback shows his disapproval of the bankrupt socio-political and economic system that led to the Great Depression of the 1930’s that is so well depicted in this book.

This novel is as much an insight into the harsh conditions endured by many out of work families in the Great Depression as an entertaining read. The book is not easy to read and at times is slow but in the end the result is an entertaining and touching novel. The powerfully thick description allowed me to picture the book in my mind’s eye.

Grapes Of Wrath – Plot Questions and Answers

1. What are the chief reasons for the mass migration to California?

I think that the chief reasons for the mass migration to California where based on a few different reasons. The first reason was because everyone was poor. They didn’t have enough money to have the most basic necessities in life. They would even go to such lengths as to steal a neighbors house. No body was happy living in Oklahoma.

They all had such hard lives that no one had time to do what they wanted to do. It was farm from sun up to sun down. That is what everyone did, and they didn’t even get that much compensation for all the devotion that they put into their work day, after day, after day. If I worked at something for twelve hours a day, and just made hardly enough money to keep living, I would get quite frustrated and not be very happy at all.

Another reason that people moved to California was so they could move on to a better place. Living in Oklahoma, really wasn’t all that good for the Joad’s. They couldn’t be very happy at what they had. They where a very proud family and wanted to get away and show everyone that they could do some good in this world for themselves.

2. Who are the members of the Joad family unit that set out for California? Briefly state what happens to each of them.

Ma, Pa, Ruth, Winfield, Uncle John, and Rose of Sharron all where in the barn. Rose of Sharron was breast feeding a old man, after her baby died. I think she was doing it for personal pleasures. I don’t think that she was sincere about the feeling to prolong the mans life. She was always selfish, and I still think she was at the end. I don’t blame Connie for leaving her. Al left with his fiancee named Aggie, to start a new life with her. Tom left to become another Jim Casey.

He knew what the power of groups could do, the listed to Jim, and knew that he could make a difference. Grandpa died, of natural causes, and they buried him in a field, tore a page out of the Bible and wrote how he wasn’t killed, and he died of natural causes. They then took the ripped out Bible page and put it in a bottle. Grandma died on the way through a check point. Rose had to hang on to her, and say she was really sick to a cop. The cop fell for it, even though grandma had been dead for a few hours. Noah left early in the book, the said that he was going fishing and walked down a river.

Flash, the family pet, got killed by a new car. The man at the gas station said he would bury it, I believe that he did. The car that hit the dog, slowed down, looked back, and sped off. Connie left, probably because he was sick of Rose. Uncle John almost died while making the dam, but he was helped by Grandpa. He made it to the barn. Jim Casey got his head smashed in for trying to help his own people. Building up a union against the peach pickers, which where making high money, and making it impossible to live. Jim died for what he believed in, and Tom knew it, he followed in Jim’s footsteps.

3. In what ways where the migrant workers exploited? How does Jim Casey fight against the exploitation of the migrant workers? How successful is he?

The ads would say 800 people needed to pick peaches, good wages. But actually there where only 100 jobs available. They would get a lot of people to come to California, then the competition for the jobs would be high. People need to eat, so the high wages come into effect. Jim Casey fights against the exploitation of the migrant workers by building a small union.

It does work, because the next load of people that come through, which was the Joad family and many others, all got a lot more money to do things, because the need for workers was high. Jim knew that if there were no workers, the fruit would spoil, and the companies would go out of business. He was on the right track, and it worked for a while, but they caught up to him and smashed his head into the ground.

4. What is the symbolic significance of the dust, the turtle, and the grape? How does Jim Casey function as a symbol?

The symbolic significance of the dust, is in my opinion because of the lack of the ability to see what is in front of you. Not being able to predict where you are headed, or what is around the corner. The turtle getting ran over by the truck driver, intentionally, really symbolizes a lot. It shows the big companies walking over the people, the people fall down, and then get back up slowly and come crawling back for more of it. They have to, because they couldn’t survive any other way.

The grape symbol is in my opinion that they life blood of the people is being stomped out of them. Then it is enjoyed by the rich people. Some people would say that Jim Casey functions as a symbol because his name is like Jesus Christ’s. I don’t think this is true. I think that Jim Casey was a good man, and he taught Tom a lot about life, and about groups. To let Tom continue in his foot steps. But I don’t think it really goes much further than that.

5. Compare life in Hooverville with life in the government camps.

The government camps where good because people knew who to trust and who not to. The knew who was on who’s side, and they had others like them to protect them from the law. They could through suspicious people over the wall, and could feel protected and like normal human beings. Hooverville wasn’t a good place to be. They had way too much against them in Hooverville.

6. Choose one main character from this story and explain fully what you believe this person’s view points would be towards war, religion, and discrimination.

Jim Casey was a very interesting man. He had spent the majority of his life preaching to people. Teaching them rules and laws of life, and of God. He was a good man and only taught others what he firmly believed in. After many years of teaching he began to have doubts about God, Jesus, and about the afterlife altogether.

I think that Jim Casey would strongly oppose war. I think he believes that no one should fight over a chink of land. I think that he would believe firmly in peace. I think that Jim Casey deep inside still believed in Jesus and in God. I think he just thought too much about it all of his life, and began to grow doubts. I think that he was a very good man, even if he did have doubts about some things.

I think that Jim would be one of the most unprejudiced people in the world. I think that he would believe that every one is created equal no matter what there physical differences might be. I think that he would gladly be friends with someone different than him. I think that he was an honest to goodness man, who knew what he believed in and stood up for them, no matter what the consequences might be.

Stienbecks novel The Grapes of Wrath

In Stienbecks novel The Grapes of Wrath, most of the characters went through some type of change. Tom Joad affected many different people throughout the whole trip to California. Not only did he change as a result of the long trip, but also he had a major impact on Jim Casy and on the whole Joad family in general. The significance of these changes helped to determine the whole plot of the unfolding story. Toms influences changed the way the characters felt and acted. In the beginning of the novel, Tom Joad has just been released from prison for having killed a man.

Here we find him in a proud, non-regretting state of mind. ) As he catches up with his family and travels many miles, his attitude changes drastically. Tom realizes the great value of a close family, so he tries to help his family to stay strong and work together to benefit each other. You got to think about that day, an then the nex day, about the ball game Satdy. This quote is taken from a point in the story where Ma is unsure of what will become of their future in California. Tom reminds her that she must take things one day at a time.

Their future is indefinite and unclear, but with Toms positive attitude, the emotional stress is somewhat alleviated from everyone. When Jim Casy first meets Tom Joad, Tom had just been released from prison. Casy used to be the preacher in the town; therefore he is a longtime friend of the Joad family. Casy has been living his life wondering around aimlessly, obtaining food by killing small animals, and living off the land. Tom asks Casy to join him in looking for his family, and on their search they come to be companions. The two find the Joad family, as they are about to depart, and Casy is invited to join the family on their excursion.

At various times in the novel, Casy is asked to say a prayer to which his usual response is, Im no longer a preacher. Which in itself signifies a change in Casy. As the family is packing up to leave, Grampa decides that he is not leaving, he wants to stay on his land and live like Muley Graves does. Grampa says, Ill just stay right where I blong. Tom then takes it upon himself to think of a way to get Grampa to go. To prevent the family from being torn apart, Tom mixes medicine in with Grampas coffee to make him sleepy, so that they can put him on the truck and be gone by the time he wakes up.

After Casy sacrificed his life for Tom, Tom feels as if he is obligated to try and finish organizing the people together just as Casy had, to rebel against the government. At times during their trek across the western states, certain members of the family would get the feeling as if they didnt know whether or not the long trip was worth the hardships and struggle. For example, when the Joads discovered a relaxing river, Noah decided that he wanted to stay there and make a life out of catching fish. Tom tried to explain that the family needed him, but it was too late, Noah had already made up his mind.

Tom Joads experiences in jail, his trip across the country and staying in such close quarters with many different people have changed his way of thinking, and himself as a person. Essentially, Tom is a rather steady person who does not like to be pushed around. He values his individuality and his independence. So, when the cops began to push him around, he had to find something like the government camp to regain his strength. He had assured Ma Joad that he was not mean mad like Purty Boy Floyd, but the more the cops pushed him around, the more Tom turns towards violence.

Grapes of Wrath: Biblical Alusion

John Steinbeck always makes it a point to know about his subjects first hand. His stories always have some factual basis behind them. Otherwise, he does not believe that they will be of any value beyond artistic impression. Therefore, most of his novels take place in California, the site of his birth and young life. In preparation for writing his novels, Steinbeck would often travel with people about whom he was going to write. The Grapes of Wrath was no exception to his other works.

To prepare for it, he joined migrants in Oklahoma and rode with them to California. When he got to California, he lived with them, joining them in their quest for work. By publishing these experiences and trials of the migrants he achieved an effect that won him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. The writing of The Grapes of Wrath coincided with the Great Depression. This time of hardship and struggle for the rest of America gave Steinbeck inspiration for his work. Other peoples’ stories of everyday life became issues for Steinbeck.

His writings spoke out against those who kept the oppressed in poverty and therefore was branded as a Communist because of his “voice. Although, it did become a bestseller and receive countless awards, his book was banned in many schools and libraries. However, critics never attacked The Grapes of Wrath on the artistic level and they still consider it a beautifully mastered work of art. More than any other American novel, it successfully embodies a contemporary social problem of national scope in an artistically viable expression.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck utilizes Biblical imagery and allusions to illustrate the struggle of the Joad family as a direct parallel with that of the Hebrew people. Steinbeck bolsters the strength of structure and character development in the book through Biblical allusions and imagery. Peter Lisca has noted that the novel reflects the three-part division of the Old Testament exodus account which includes captivity, journey, and the promised land. 2 The Joads’ story is a direct parallel with that of the Hebrews.

Just as the Hebrews were captives of the Pharaoh, the Joads’ are captives of their farm. Both make long and arduous journeys until they reach their promised land. Israel is the final destination for the Hebrews and California plays the same role for the Joads. Hunter mentions several of the parallels in the novel. When the Joads embark on their journey, there are twelve members which corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel who are leaving the old order behind. They mount the truck in ark fashion, two by two, as Noah Joad observes from the ground.

This chapter ten scene is an allusion to the story of Noah’s Ark: 3 “. . . the rest swarmed up on top of the load, Connie and Rose of Sharon, Pa and Uncle John, Ruthie and Winfield, Tom and the preacher. Noah stood on the ground looking up at the great load of them sitting on top of the truck. ” Grampa’s character is an allusion to the story of Lot’s wife. He is unable to come to grips with the prospect of a new life, and his recollection of the past results in his death. Lot’s wife died in the same manner. She turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back into her past.

The parallel is emphasized by the scripture verse, a direct quotation from Lot, which Tom uses to bury him with. 5 Uncle John’s character resembles that of the Biblical character Ananias because he withholds money from the common fund just as Ananias did. Both characters are similar in their selfish esires and they each undergo a moment of grace when they admit to their sins thus becoming closer to God. Lewis suggests that Tom Joad is an illuminating example of what Steinbeck considers to be the picaresque saint.

Tom also serves as a Moses-type leader of the people as they journey toward the promised land. Like Moses, he has killed a man and had been away for a time before rejoining his people and becoming their leader. Like Moses he has a younger brother(Aaron-Al) who serves as a medium for the leader. Shortly before reaching the destination, he hears and rejects the evil reports of hose who have visited the land(Hebrew “spies”- Oklahomans going back). 8 This parallel ends before the completion of the story just as most others in the novel do.

Many parallels are not worked out completely and as Hunter notes, the lack of detailed parallel seems to be deliberate, for Steinbeck is reflecting a broader background of which the exodus story is only a part. 9 Several Biblical allusions come from New Testament stories. Most prevalent among these allusions is the role of Jim Casy as a Christ figure. Hunter provides a plentiful supply of parallels between the life of Jim Casy and the messiah whose initials he bears. Just as Christ did, he embarks upon his mission after a long period of meditation in the wilderness.

He corrects the old ideas of religion and justice and selflessly sacrifices himself for his cause. 10 Unlike the parallel of Tom and Moses, this one is followed and completed throughout the novel. The annunciation of Casy’s message and mission sets the ideological direction of the novel before the journey begins just as the messiah concept influences Jewish thought for centuries before the New Testament times. 11 Only gradually does he make an impression on the Joads who similarly to the Jews were used to living under the old dispensation.

Steinbeck finally completes the parallel when Casy tells his persecutors, just as Christ did, “You don’t know what you’re a doin’. “12 Steinbeck uses other New Testament allusions in addition to that of the messiah. One of them is the final scene of the novel with Rose of Sharon. Just as Mary did, she becomes the mother of all the earth, renewing the world with her compassion and love. 13 Hunter makes several conclusions from this scene. First he notes that it is an imitation of the Madonna and her child, baby Jesus. He also states that by giving life to he stranger she is symbolically giving body and wine.

In doing this she accepts the larger vision of Jim Casy and her commitment fulfills the terms of salvation according to Casy’s ultimate plan. 14 Geismar notes the symbolic meaning of the final scene. He states that Rose of Sharon’s sacrificial act represents the final breakdown of old attitudes and climaxes the novel’s biblical movement. 15 According to Robert Con Davis, Steinbeck’s use of Biblical imagery shows a genuine sense of “reaffirmation” and hope in an otherwise inhospitable modern world. 16 Once again, a Steinbeck novel has related the plight of an ppressed people.

This time it is a parallel between the Joads and the Hebrews. The novel reflects the history of the chosen people from their physical bondage to their spiritual release by means of a messiah. 17 In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck does more than utilize the novel to voice his social views. He uses the novel as his medium to relay another set of his beliefs, his religious views. Warren French notes that Steinbeck feels as though traditional religion no longer enables a man to see himself as he is, that is laws are not applicable to situations in which contemporary man finds himself.

Sin, as he sees it, is a matter of the way one looks at things. Steinbeck illustrates this feeling best through the following quotation made by Jim Casy in the novel, “There ain’t[sic] no sin and there ain’t[sic] no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. 20” The overall theme of the novel is that religion is a kind of affliction. 21 Once again, Steinbeck has embodied a serious problem of society in a beautifully structured novel. It is through the use of Biblical allusions and imagery that he gives The Grapes of Wrath a powerful message along with pure artistic genius.

Literary Paper Of The Grapes Of Wrath By Steinbeck

Steinbeck wrote many wonderful books but a great classic is one titled The Grapes of Wrath. This is a story of a family called the Joads, and a tale of a courageous family who sought security and family unity. In my paper I will examine the different ways the Joads tried to keep united whether just within their immediate family or eventually with all the others who shared the same struggles and sufferings. Steinbeck’s dialogue and description’s of the dusty roads, the men squatting in the dirt drawing pictures while making major decisions, the way in which they traveled all puts you right into the middle of the family.

One becomes aware and wants to be a part of there unity and their long for security. Steinbeck’s use of the characters dialect is astoundingly excellent and unmistakenly realistic of the Joad’s culture. Without this dialogue, it would not be as intense and vivid. J. Homer Caskey, in “Letters to the Editor” says, “Steinbeck’s knowledge of the forces which hold a family together and the forces which cause it to disintegrate. He understands that family councils are an important part of the lives of the Joads. The major theme is the struggle and survival of the Joad family from the time they lost their home, to the unity they elt and soon were a part of a whole community, one big family, and one big soul.

This theme is particularly exemplified by Ma Joad, who played a major part. The Joads encountered a constant struggle to keep the family going and intact. When Ma knew that gramma Joad was dying she told her that there was nothing she could do, that the family needed to get across the desert that night. It was not until they were across the desert that she let the family know that Gramma Joad had died during the night.

Ma Joad was the strong but yet understanding one of the family. She listened to pa and obeyed his wishes, until she ad to be strong and stand her ground. Ma was convinced and had to be forceful with pa and show him that she was capable of making decisions. After this confrontation with pa the other family members began to see ma differently and looked to her for the final approval.

John Steinbeck, in “The Grapes of Wrath” says, “On’y way you gonna get me to go is whup me… Ma Joad takes on Pa in order to keep the family from going off too far. Tom Joad represented the man of the family and provided support through his strength. I believe that Tom Joad kept the family in line.

As they went on with their trails, the act that he had been in prison kept the whole family from doing anything that might incriminate or send him back. They held their tongues at times when they encountered prejudice and degrading comments from people. Tom’s role in the story was that of one to look up to, and even though he spent time in prison he still held on to the big brother figure.

Gary at first seemed to be a loner, although once he was made to be a part of the family, he began to look within himself and to the meaning of life. He seemed to find a new direction in life. John Steinbeck, in “The Grapes of Wrath” says, “I ain’t gonna baptize. I’m gonna work i the fiel’s, in the green fiel’s, an I’m gonna be near to folks. I ain’s gonna try to teach ’em nothin, I’m gonna try to lear. Gonna learn why the folks walks in the grass, gonna hear ’em talk, gonna hear ’em sing. Gonna listen to kids eatin mush.

Gonna hear husban an wife a-poundin’ the mattress in the night. Gonna eat with ’em an learn. ” Gonna lay in the grass, open an’ honest with anybody that’ll have me. Gonna cuss an’ swear an’ hear the peotry of folks talkin. All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn understan. All them things is the good things. ” Rose of Sharon had her dreams and did nothing but wonder bout what her dreams would bring. She wanted Connie to study at night and work at the ice store. She wanted the best for her with her baby.

She constantly dreamed of them in their nice little house all alone as a family. Rose of Sharon only thought of herself, her baby and her dreams. She gave no interest to the family, contributed nothing but the burden of her dreams and selfishness. Until she experienced the self fulfilling pleasure of helping someone else and realized that sometimes helping someone else can be more rewarding. It is said that this story is fiction, an invention of the human mind, but to a great degree it is true. The lives of so many people were tractored off the land.

Survival forced them to accept their fate and to battle for the survival of the family unit. James N. Vaughan, in “The Commonweal” says, “The story of the disastrous move to the west is a story of death, desertion and hunger. It is the story of …. of whose existence has been destroyed for reasons of which they had but the dimmest understanding. ” In conclusion, as the Joads continued their struggle for survival, they became a living and challenging part of the forgotten American dream. “There is a sense that man can survive in nature if he is, in turn, himself natural. “

The book, Grapes of Wrath

The book, Grapes of Wrath, follows the life of the Joad family, who live in Oklahoma during the Depression. The story begins with the return of Tom Joad from prison, where he has spent the last few years. He killed a boy in a bar fight and is now on parole. He is taken by surprise when he returns to Oklahoma only to find that his house is in ruins and his family is not there. He doesnt know that, while he was gone, the banks forced his family and thousands of others off their land. Tom is accompanied by a former priest, Casey, who searches with Tom for his family. Tom and Casey find the Joad family at Toms uncles house.

The family is preparing to move west to California in hopes that they will find jobs and escape the Dust Bowl drought. The Dust Bowl drought has killed all the farmers crops and the land has lost its richness. Tom decides to travel with his family, even though hes going against parole rules by leaving the state. The Joads travel west with all twelve members of the family and Casey piled into an old truck. The trip to California proves to be hard when their grandpa dies just days after their departure. Truck problems are regular occurrences and the penetrating heat tires the migrating family.

They have very little money and they have many family members to feed as well as gas to buy. Tom is warned by families going back east that there are no job opportunities in California. They say the Joads will be forced to live in Hoovervilles, which are temporary shanty towns, and they wont have enough money for decent meals. This news is disheartening to Tom, but the familys only choice is to keep traveling west. Toms grandmother eventually dies too from exhaustion and heat. Finally after many grueling days in the hot sun and numerous stops to fix the car, the Joads arrive at California.

However, their dreams of finding a wonderful place to live are shattered when they hear California residents calling them Oakies and saying bad things about them. Californians feel threatened by the families migrating into California because the newcomers will take all the job opportunities and they will steal food to avoid starvation. At first the Joads cant find work and they are forced to live in one of the Hoovervilles. The Hoovervilles are very run down and Connie , Toms brother, runs away from the family because of the disappointment of realizing his dreams will not come true.

When Tom gets in trouble with a officer in a Hooverville, Casey says its his fault and he is arrested instead of Tom. If Tom had been arrested he would have been sent back to prison for three years. Tom has always looked up to Casey and he is even more grateful for Caseys actions. The Joad family learns that there are jobs available as peach pickers to the north. They pack up and leave in hopes that maybe they will be better off from now on. When they arrive the whole family finds work and they earn enough to have decent meals.

However, soon after their arrival, Tom finds out that many workers are on strike and the strike leader is Casey. Soon after Tom talks to Casey, an officer who tries to get rid of strikers, kills Casey by striking him with a club. Tom reacts with anger after seeing his friend killed before his eyes. He kills the officer with a club and hes now in danger of being caught and sent to jail once again. The Joad family moves once again to escape the police searching for Tom and they camp in boxcars. After years of trying to keep her family together, Ma finally tells Tom he must leave because he is endangering the whole family.

After his departure, non stop rains fall on California. Instead of drought conditions, flood waters rise and many immigrants become sick and die. Rose of Sharon, Toms sister, gives birth to a baby that is born dead. The family then decides it must move to higher ground to escape the flood waters. They reach a dry refuge in a barn where they find a dying man and his son. The man is very weak and Rose of Sharon help nurse him back to health. The Joad family is still willing to help others in need, even after the hard times they have gone through.

This story is a vivid example of life during the 1930s. The drought killed farmers crops and banks forced the farm families off their land. This was one of the worst economic down falls ever during this countrys existence and Americans all over were effected by it. Farmers in the Dust Bowl region of the country were among those most severely hurt by the Depression. In spite of overwhelming difficulties, families and friends were loyal and supported each other. Grapes of Wrath shows that even through the toughest times, some people will be unselfish and help others.

The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930’s live under. The novel tells of one families migration west to California through the great economic depression of the 1930’s. The Joad family had to abandon their home and their livelihoods. They had to uproot and set adrift because tractors were rapidly industrializing their farms. The bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off their loan. The novel shows how the Joad family deals ith moving to California.

How they survive the cruelty of the land owners that take advantage of them, their poverty and willingness to work. The Grapes of Wrath combines Steinbeck adoration of the land, his simple hatred of corruption resulting from materialism (money) and his abiding faith in the common people to overcome the hostile environment. The novel opens with a retaining picture of nature on rampage. The novel shows the men and women that are unbroken by nature. The theme is one of man verses a hostile environment. His body destroyed but his spirit is not broken.

The method used to develop the theme of the novel is through the use of symbolism. There are several uses of symbols in the novel from the turtle at the beginning to the rain at the end. As each symbol is presented through the novel they show examples of the good and the bad things that exist within the novel. The opening chapter paints a vivid picture of the situation facing the drought-stricken farmers of Oklahoma. Dust is described a covering everything, smothering the life out of anything that wants to grow. The dust is symbolic of the erosion of the lives of the people. The dust is synonymous with deadness.

The land is ruined ^way of life (farming) gone, people ^uprooted and forced to leave. Secondly, the dust stands for ^profiteering banks in the background that squeeze the life out the land by forcing the people off the land. The soil, the people (farmers) have been drained of life and are exploited: The last rain fell on the red and gray country of Oklahoma in early May. The weeds became a dark green to protect themselves from the sun’s unyielding rays…. The wind grew stronger, uprooting the weakened corn, and the air became so filled with dust that the stars were not visible at night. Chp 1)

As the chapter continues a turtle, which appears and reappears several times early in the novel, can be seen to stand for survival, a driving life force in all of mankind that cannot be beaten by nature or man. The turtle represents a hope that the trip to the west is survivable by the farmer migrants (Joad family). The turtle further represents the migrants struggles against nature/man by vercoming every obstacle he encounters: the red ant in his path, the truck driver who tries to run over him, being captured in Tom Joad’s jacket: And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it.

The driver of the truck works for a large company, who try to stop the migrants from going west, when the driver attempts to hit the turtle it is another example of the big powerful guy trying to flatten or kill the little guy. Everything the turtle encounters trys its best to stop the turtle from making its westerly journey. Steadily the turtle advances on, ironically to the southwest, the direction of the mirgration of people.

The turtle is described as being lasting, ancient, old and wise: horny head, yellowed toenails, indestructible high dome of a shell, humorous old eyes. (Chp 1)The driver of the truck, red ant and Tom Joad’s jacket are all symbolic of nature and man the try to stop the turtle from continuing his journey westward to the promise land. The turtle helps to develop the theme by showing its struggle against life/ comparing it with the Joad struggle against man. The grapes seem to symbolize both bitterness and copiousness.

Grandpa the oldest member of the Joad family talks of the grapes as symbols of plenty; all his descriptions of what he is going to do with the grapes in California suggest contentment, freedom, the goal for which the Joad family strive for: I’m gonna let the juice run down ma face, bath in the dammed grapes (Chp 4) The grapes that are talked about by Grandpa help to elaborate the theme by showing that no matter how nice everything seems in California the truth is that their beauty is only skin deep, n their souls they are rotten.

The rotten core verses the beautiful appearance. The willow tree that is located on the Joad’s farm represents the Joad family. The willow is described as being unmovable and never bending to the wind or dust. The Joad family does not want to move, they prefer to stay on the land they grew up on, much the same as the willow does. The willow contributes to the theme by showing the unwillingness of the people to be removed from their land by the banks. The latter represents the force making them leave their homes.

Both f these symbols help contribute to the theme by showing a struggle between each other. The tree struggles against nature in much the same way that the Joad family struggles against the Bank and large companies. The rains that comes at the end of the novel symbolize several things. Rain in which is excessive, in a certain way fulfills a cycle of the dust which is also excessive. In a way nature has restored a balance and has initiated a new growth cycle. This ties in with other examples of the rebirth idea in the ending, much in the way the Joad family will grow again.

The rain contributes o the theme by showing the cycle of nature that give a conclusion to the novel by showing that life is a pattern of birth and death. The rain is another example of nature against man, the rain comes and floods the living quarters of the Joads. The Joads try to stop the flood of their home by yet again are forced back when nature drops a tree causing a flood of water to ruin their home forcing them to move. In opposite way rain can helpful to give life to plants that need it to live. Depending on which extreme the rain is in, it can be harmful or helpful.

This is true for man, man an become both extremes bad or good depending on his choosing. Throughout the novel there are several symbols used to develop the theme man verses a hostile environment. Each symbol used in the novel show examples of both extremes. Some represent man, that struggles against the environment, others paint a clear picture of the feelings of the migrants. As each symbol is presented chronologically through the novel, they come together at the end to paint a clear picture of the conditions, treatment and feelings the people (migrants) as they make there journey through the novel to the West.

Language and Style in The Grapes of Wrath

In his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck creates a clear image of how life was for the migrants by describing the physical, mental, and emotional suffering they faced as they were forced to leave their homes. He was able to accomplish his intended goal by reaching out to the reader, pulling him into the shoes of the migrants, and forcing him experience life alongside of them as they travel down Route 66. A clear example of the reader sharing the migrant experience is shown when the Joads must leave their home, How can we live without our lives?

How will we know its us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it. (Page 120) This passage allows the reader to become one with the migrants and to sense their emotional suffering and loss. The reader can easily imagine themselves in the position of the migrants, losing everything they have, and it is the thought of this that touches the readers heart and arouses their compassion for the migrants. In addition, The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit.

And the children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And the coroners must fill in certificatesdied of malnutritionbecause the food must rot, must be forced to rot. (Page 477) Chapter twenty-five, which describes an over abundance of food and people dying of starvation, is very effective in capturing the despair and misery of the families. It makes the reader angry that innocent children must die so that large corporations can make a profit and it alerts the reader to the inhumane treatment the migrants received.

Furthermore, They were hungry, and they were fierce. And they had hoped to find a home, and they found only hatred. (Page 318) The people who traveled to California had been forced to leave their homes, their past, and their lives and travel to a land they had never seen, where they were treated with disgust and hated because they were poor. The coldness that was directed towards the migrants fills the readers heart with pity for them and turns their anger at the bank, large corporations, police, and all those who acted in inhumane ways towards the migrants.

Steinbeck tears the readers heart to pieces with his imagery about how the migrants were treated and his descriptions about the obstacles that they had to face. Steinbeck provokes the readers sympathy for the subject and makes his novel appeal to human emotions by writing about the tragedies that the migrants faced. For example, I cant tell ya about them little fellas layin in the tent with their bellies puffed out an jus the skin on their bones, an shiverin an whinin like pupsThem children died a heart failureShiverin they was, an their bellies stuck out like a pig bladder.

Page 260) Steinbecks descriptions of the death of innocent children, whose lives were taken from them because of greed, goes directly to the readers heart and fills it with remorse and compassion. The reader can not avoid being touched by passages such as this and developing anger towards a society that refused to help. In addition, Well, that kids been a-cryin in his sleep an rollin in his sleep. Them folks though he got worms. So they give him a blaster, an he died. It was what they call black-tongue the kid had. Comes from not getting good things to eat. (Page 326) A child dying of starvation was an everyday occurrence for the migrants.

This fact, along with Steinbecks dramatic descriptions sicken the reader and develop, within them, disgust for a society which could offer the migrants no assistance, rather it just sat back and watched as children starved to death. Furthermore, Go down an tell em. Go down in the street an rot an tell em that way. Thats the way you can talkGo on down now, an lay in the street. (Page 609) The migrants pleas for help could not reach the hearts of most people, rather they helped build up resentment of the migrants in people. Uncle John hopes that if the people can see the despair that they are causing the migrants they may do something to help.

Steinbecks descriptions of the tragic deaths the migrants faced were very effective in helping him to achieve his goal of shredding the readers heart to pieces. Steinbeck accomplished his intended goal by his vivid descriptions of migrant life and of all they had to suffer through. He wrote about the tragedies the migrants faced and the heartbreak that came along with their losses. Steinbecks bold descriptions and language exposed the reader to the inhumane treatment the migrants faced; something no reader could be immune to.

The Grapes of Wrath a novel by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930’s live under. The novel tells of one families migration west to California through the great economic depression of the 1930’s. The Joad family had to abandon their home and their livelihoods. They had to uproot and set adrift because tractors were rapidly industrializing their farms. The bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off their loan.

The novel shows how the Joad family deals with moving to California. How they survive the cruelty of the land owners that take advantage of them, their poverty and willingness to work. The Grapes of Wrath combines Steinbeck adoration of the land, his simple hatred of corruption resulting from materialism (money) and his abiding faith in the common people to overcome the hostile environment. The novel opens with a retaining picture of nature on rampage. The novel shows the men and women that are unbroken by nature.

The theme is one of man verses a hostile environment. His body destroyed but his spirit is not broken. The method used to develop the theme of the novel is through the use of symbolism. There are several uses of symbols in the novel from the turtle at the beginning to the rain at the end. As each symbol is presented through the novel they show examples of the good and the bad things that exist within the novel. The opening chapter paints a vivid picture of the situation facing the drought-stricken farmers of Oklahoma.

Dust is described a covering everything, smothering the life out of anything that wants to grow. The dust is symbolic of the erosion of the lives of the people. The dust is synonymous with “deadness”. The land is ruined ^way of life (farming) gone, people ^uprooted and forced to leave. Secondly, the dust stands for ^profiteering banks in the background that squeeze the life out the land by forcing the people off the land. The soil, the people (farmers) have been drained of life and are exploited: The last rain fell on the red and gray country of Oklahoma in early May.

The weeds became a dark green to protect themselves from the sun’s unyielding rays…. The wind grew stronger, uprooting the weakened corn, and the air became so filled with dust that the stars were not visible at night. (Chp 1) As the chapter continues a turtle, which appears and reappears several times early in the novel, can be seen to stand for survival, a driving life force in all of mankind that cannot be beaten by nature or man.

The turtle represents a hope that the trip to the west is survivable by the farmer migrants (Joad family). The turtle further represents the migrants struggles against nature/man by overcoming every obstacle he encounters: the red ant in his path, the truck driver who tries to run over him, being captured in Tom Joad’s jacket: And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it.

The driver of the truck works for a large company, who try to stop the migrants from going west, when the driver attempts to hit the turtle it is another example of the big powerful guy trying to flatten or kill the little guy. Everything the turtle encounters trys its best to stop the turtle from making its westerly journey. Steadily the turtle advances on, ironically to the southwest, the direction of the mirgration of people.

The turtle is described as being lasting, ancient, old and wise: horny head, yellowed toenails, indestructible high dome of a shell, humorous old eyes. (Chp 1) The driver of the truck, red ant and Tom Joad’s jacket are all symbolic of nature and man the try to stop the turtle from continuing his journey westward to the promise land. The turtle helps to develop the theme by showing its struggle against life/ comparing it with the Joad struggle against man. The grapes seem to symbolize both bitterness and copiousness.

Grandpa the oldest member of the Joad family talks of the grapes as symbols of plenty; all his descriptions of what he is going to do with the grapes in California suggest contentment, freedom, the goal for which the Joad family strive for: I’m gonna let the juice run down ma face, bath in the dammed grapes (Chp 4) The grapes that are talked about by Grandpa help to elaborate the theme by showing that no matter how nice everything seems in California the truth is that their beauty is only skin deep, in their souls they are rotten.

The rotten core verses the beautiful appearance. The willow tree that is located on the Joad’s farm represents the Joad family. The willow is described as being unmovable and never bending to the wind or dust. The Joad family does not want to move, they prefer to stay on the land they grew up on, much the same as the willow does. The willow contributes to the theme by showing the unwillingness of the people to be removed from their land by the banks. The latter represents the force making them leave their homes.

Both of these symbols help contribute to the theme by showing a struggle between each other. The tree struggles against nature in much the same way that the Joad family struggles against the Bank and large companies. The rains that comes at the end of the novel symbolize several things. Rain in which is excessive, in a certain way fulfills a cycle of the dust which is also excessive. In a way nature has restored a balance and has initiated a new growth cycle. This ties in with other examples of the rebirth idea in the ending, much in the way the Joad family will grow again.

The rain contributes to the theme by showing the cycle of nature that give a conclusion to the novel by showing that life is a pattern of birth and death. The rain is another example of nature against man, the rain comes and floods the living quarters of the Joads. The Joads try to stop the flood of their home by yet again are forced back when nature drops a tree causing a flood of water to ruin their home forcing them to move. In opposite way rain can helpful to give life to plants that need it to live. Depending on which extreme the rain is in, it can be harmful or helpful.

This is true for man, man can become both extremes bad or good depending on his choosing. Throughout the novel there are several symbols used to develop the theme man verses a hostile environment. Each symbol used in the novel show examples of both extremes. Some represent man, that struggles against the environment, others paint a clear picture of the feelings of the migrants. As each symbol is presented chronologically through the novel, they come together at the end to paint a clear picture of the conditions, treatment and feelings the people (migrants) as they make there journey through the novel to the West.

The Grapes of Wrath Report

The Grapes of Wrath, chronicles the Joad’s family exodus from Oklahoma to California in search for a brighter, economic future. The name Joad and the exodus to California is parallel to the Biblical story of Exodus and the character Job, but at the time was depicting the Okie Exodus. The Okies were farmers whose topsoil blew away due to dust storms and were forced to migrate along Route 66 to California in search of work. The Okies were resented for migrating in large numbers to areas in the West where work was already hard to find and the sudden multitude of workers caused wages to be owered.

The Joad’s reside in Oklahoma, referred to as the “Dust Bowl” of the U. S. because of its lack of rain. The story takes place during the late 1930’s when the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. The Joad family were sharecroppers evicted from their homes because they failed to pay the bank their loan payments to the Shawnee Land and Cattle Company. On their journey, the Joad’s ran into a returning migrant from California who tells them that the handbill they have looking for 800 pickers is a bunch of hogwash.

He’d rather starve in Oklahoma then starve in California. The migrant scolds them on their naivety saying “Now, how many of you all got them handbills?… (The men respond that they all have them) There you are, same yellow handbill. 800 Pickers Wanted. All right, the man wants 800 men, so he prints 5,000 handbills and maybe 20,000 people see ’em. And maybe two or three thousand people start West on account of that handbill. Two or three thousand people that are crazy with worry headin’ out for 800 jobs.

Now does that make sense? He tells them that the growers are exploiting them, causing a surplus of orkers to drive down labor costs according to supply and demand. The significance of his role in the movie, is that he let’s the Joad’s know everything they are moving West for is false. Their journey is based on a lie, and the grass isn’t greener on the other side. While stopping for gas, Mr. Joad heads into the diner to buy a loaf of bread. Mr. Joad is a nickel short of the 15 cents that the bread cost, and against the waitresses opinion the chef tells her to sell it to him for a dime.

Not wanting charity, Mr. Joad tells hem to cut a nickel worth of bread off, but the chef refuses and makes him take it. The Joad children stare in wonder at some of the candy in the diner, and the waitress out of the goodness of your heart sold it to Mr. Joad for a penny rather then the dime it was worth. Upon seeing the waitresses’ good will, two truckers eating at the diner leave the waitress a generous tip. A little further up the road, the family is stopped at a checkpoint by two policeman wanting to search their truck for any fruits or vegetables to prevent the spread of rodents into the West.

Though revealed later the grandmother was actually dead at this point, Mrs. Joad tells the cops that her mother is ailing and must see a doctor. The police immediately let them through and tell them where they can find a doctor. Mrs. Joad knew that if the police saw the grandmother was dead that they would make them turn around and head back to Oklahoma. These good deeds were symbolic of the common good in people during the hard times of the depression. People helped those in need, because they were most likely experiencing the same hard times.

It also proved ow good thing would happen to those who did good. A little after grandmother died, the Joad’s stop at the next transient camp, Hooverville. ” Symbolically named after United State President Herbert Hoover of the early 30’s, Hooverville was a chaotic migrant camp consisted of little grey tents and shacks scattered randomly. Most residents dined on fried dough, and were solicited to work for dirt cheap wagers by nearby growers. Most migrants would take the job, despite it being illegally solicited for low wages because of the obstacles faced trying to attain work.

The first obstacle most faced was the misleading information on fliers. Fliers were use to trick people searching for work to driving their wages down. A second obstacle, was illegal contractors soliciting work with false wagers. The migrants would go and then with no other choice but starvation, agree to work for less then they were told. Perhaps, the most violent obstacle were angry mobs met along the way at road blocks threatening the migrants to turn around or else. The Joad’s kept on moving along -refusing to give up on the American dream- and came across an orchard that was hiring.

Despite protesters outside, they go in and register their names with the supervisor. The supervisor wanted to know how many men, women, and children were part of the family. This is used to keep track of who is on the orchard and preventing anyone from leaving and coming back as a new family because new families get 5 cents on their first day; as noticed when the Joad’s tried to leave without Tom. The workers at the orchard are treated inhumanely. They are not allowed to leave, and are surrounded by a huge gate around the orchard that is guarded at all imes.

They were lied to about wages, 5 cents was only the first day, every following day was half that. During the Great Depresssion and World War II, women entered the labor force in place of men who were off to war, and were the backbone of this country. The ending of this film commensurates with the historical facts of that era in that Mrs. Joad was the anchor of the family. She kept the family from sinking,; she was the backbone. She said she wasn’t scared of what the future held, and was prepared to face it head on.

John Steinbeck Grapes Of Wrath

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California February 27th 1902. He was the third of four children and the only son of John Ernst Steinbeck II, manager of a flour mill, and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, a former teacher. Steinbeck said of his youth, (“We were poor people with a hell of a lot of land which made us think we were rich people, even when we couldn’t buy food and were patched. “) Steinbeck used the area where he grew up as the setting for many of his stories.

He attended Stanford University for a few years. He had to work to pay for his education, and sometimes took off one quarter to pay for the next. He worked as a clerk in several stores, was a hand in a ranch, and even worked at the Spreckels Sugar Company where he gained knowledge of labor problems he would later write about in The Grapes of Wrath. ) Other books by Steinbeck include Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, and Cannery Row.

He died in New York City on December 20th 1968. Sinrod 2 A constant theme in our story is the suffering of humans. As F. W. Watt says, (The primary impact of The Grapes of Wrath… is not to make us act, but to make us understand and share a human experience of suffering and resistance. ) Steinbeck shows us that his characters, s well as all people must endure suffering as human beings. Humans suffer due to many factors. Religious suffering is one factor which is self imposed.

When we first see Casy he is explaining to Tom Joad how he left preaching, not merely because of the lusts that plagued him, but because religious faith as he knew it seemed to set up codes of behavior which denied human nature its proper and full expression) Religious suffering is perhaps epitomized in Jesus Christ, and Joseph Fontenrose believes the tragic character of Casey is believed to be the symbolic representation of Jesus Christ himself.

Jim Casy’s initials are JC, and he retired to the wilderness to find spiritual truth and came forth to teach a new doctrine of love and good works… Casy sacrificed himself for others when he surrendered himself as the man who had struck a deputy Sinrod 3 at Hooverville… Tom told his mother, “I’m talking like Casy,” after saying that he would be present everywhere, though unseen… ) However the character of Jim Casy goes beyond Christ. While pondering sin and virtue, Casy comes to the enlightening conclusion that people cannot be judged “good” or “bad”. (“Maybe it’s just the way folks is… There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing.

And some things folks do is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say. “) Viewing the morality of individuals as dynamic, as opposed to static, provides tremendous freedom for characters such as Tom Jode. He is capable of many different actions throughout the story, including intimidation, guile, support, love, and even murder. Steinbeck wants to show that even a murderer still loves his mother. The mother after all, is holding his family together. (In all the families in risis, the children look to the women for answers to their immediate survival: “What are we gonna do, Ma?

Where are we going to go? “) At one point in the story, Tom Jode considers leaving home rather than possibly Sinrod 4 endangering his family, however his mother reminds him that without his family, he has nothing. (There is no question that in this model the mother makes the most important contributions to the family stability. ) Placing such importance on family values is not without reasons. Family is all the Jodes have to hold onto in the uncaring world in which they live. It is the only way they survive n the system which thrives on the exploitation of the poor.

The real power of Grapes of Wrath is the savage anger at the impersonal process that uproots men from the land and rapes it… ) The best way for the Jodes to gain strength was through groups. Each time a fairly stable group or community was achieved, those in power attempted to destroy the group, effectively taking their strength away. Sylvia Jenkins Cook explains the theme of teamwork… (… a more positive characterization of group behavior emerged… where workers could acquire dignity, strength, and power, all inaccessible to the exploited and impotent individual.

Grapes of Wrath – Jim Casy Chracter Analysis

John Steinbeck passionately describes a time of unfair poverty, unity, and the human spirit in the classic, The Grapes of Wrath. The novel tells of real, diverse characters who experience growth through turmoil and hardship. Jim Casy- a personal favorite character- is an ex-preacher that meets up with a former worshiper, Tom Joad. Casy continues a relationship with Tom and the rest of the Joads as they embark on a journey to California in the hopes of prosperity and possibly excess. Casy represents how the many situations in life impact the ever-changing souls of human- beings and the search within to discover one’s true identity and beliefs.

Casy, however, was much more complex than the average individual. His unpredjudiced, unified, Christ-like existence twists and turns with every mental and extraneous disaccord. Jim Casy is an interesting, complicated man. He can be seen as a modern day Christ figure, except without the tending manifest belief in the Christian faith. The initials of his name, J. C. , are the same as Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was exalted by many for what he stood for was supposed to be , Casy was hailed and respected by many for simply being a preacher. Casy and Jesus both saw a common goodness in the average man and saw every person as holy.

Both Christ and Casy faced struggles between their ideals versus the real world. (Despite Casy’s honesty, goodness, and loyalty to all men, he would not earn a meal or warm place to stay. Although Jesus had many followers, still others opposed his preaching until the very end. ) These prophets attempted to disengage man from the cares of the world and create a high spiritualism that stemmed joy from misery. (All the migrants found pleasures along their trips and kept their hope and spirit throughout the journey. Thanks to Jesus, the saddest, dullest existence has had its glimpse of heaven.

Casy once remarked, “I gotta see them folks that’s gone out on the road. I gotta feelin’ I got to see them. They gonna need help no preachin’ can give ’em. Hope of heaven when their lives ain’t lived? Holy Sperit when their own sperit is downcast an’ sad? ” Casy wished to reach out to others in spite of his own troubles. He wanted to give them sprit, hope and rejuvenate their souls. Jesus too felt that need and can be considered “the great consoler of life. ” The Life of Jesus by Ernest Renan tells of Pure Ebionism, which is the doctrine that the poor alone shall be saved and the reign of the poor is approaching.

This secures a definite parallel to Jesus Christ and not only Jim Casy, but the entire book, The Grapes of Wrath. The rich people, banks, owners, and institutions have taken control of the country and nature, but as the book says, “And the association of owners knew that some day the praying would stop. And there’s an end. ” This means that these people will always carry on, one day they will take action, there will be a fight, and quite possibly an end to the misfortune and a reign of prevailing prosperity. Christ once said, “When thou makest a dinner or supper, call not… thy rich neighbors…

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed. ” John Steinbeck and Jim Casy along with many other migrants believe in charity, helping others and an end to the insatiable appetite for money and self-indulgence. When Casy is saying grace in chapter eight, he compares himself to Jesus: “I been in the hills, thinkin’, almost you might say like Jesus wen into the wilderness to think His way out of troubles. ” Casy was beginning to feel confused, troubled and stressful about his faith, but when he went into the wilderness and rediscovered nature, he was a new man with a new-found faith.

Eventually Christ was no longer a Jew and strayed from the traditional Hebrew idea of God. Casy’s beliefs did not precisely follow Christianity. ) Like Christ, Casy was jailed and later aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally slain. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, “You don’ know what you’re a-doin. ” Jim Casy was similar to Jesus Christ but his personality traits did not end there. Jim Casy’s personality is one of the most unprovincial, nonjudgemental in the world.

He believed that every one is created equal no matter what their physical differences, political class, or position in the world might be. He shows this by never uttering a hurtful word at anyone, sacrificing his own welfare to picket and raise the wages of other workers, and not faltering when he or his groupmates were called derogatory names. Jim Casy was forever grateful to the Joads for travelling with him and talked of going off by himself to pay them back several times. He once said, “I wanna do what’s bes’ for you folks. You took me in, carried me along. I’ll do whatever.

Casy never asked for money while he was preaching because he knew the position his listeners were in, even though he was also desperate for money. Casy said in chapter four, “I brang Jesus to your folks for a long time, an’ I never took up a collection nor nothin’ but a bite to eat. ” Since Casy believes that we all have a small part of a larger soul, and everybody is holy, we are therefor equal. As Tom said, “one time he went out in the wilderness to find his soul, an’ he foun’ he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul. ” Once and for all stating equality, and universal holiness. Casy is also a harmonious man.

He believes in unity and that because people are all part of something greater than themselves, we should help one another out, and work together because otherwise we are all lost. “Why do we got to hang it all on God or Jesus? Maybe,’ I figgered, ‘maybe it’s all men an’ all women we love: maybe that’s the Holy Sperit- the human sperit- the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of. ” He thinks that people working in cooperation is holy: “When they’re all workin’ together, not one fella for another fell, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang — that’s right, that’s holy”(pg 71).

Tom once said Casy recited to him Ecclesiates 4: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. Tom Joad also said, “maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one. … I’ll be ever’where? herever you look.

Casy was a Christ-like, unprovincial, and harmonious man albeit he still had personal conflicts. Although Jim Casy has always seemingly been a man of God and Jesus, he battles with his faith throughout The Grapes of Wrath. He feels like he is contending with the very ideals he has spread to others- traditional ideals of God and Jesus. Casy started to question his own beliefs and what was said in the Bible. Casy lost many hours of sleep just thinking about this, and went through many days without even speaking. He began to have doubts about God, Jesus, and about the afterlife altogether.

He went from a man of God to a man of everyone. Casy once said,”An I says, ‘Don’t you love Jesus? ‘ Well, I thought an’ thought an’ finally I says, ‘No, I don’t know nobody name’ Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people. ‘ ” After Casy challenged his inner belief of God and Jesus, he began to openly accept and tolerate unorthodox behavior. In fact some of Casy’s new beliefs not only questioned the basic belief in God and Jesus, but also the content of the Bible and what a regular preacher (or ex-preacher) would say or do.

Casy felt you should not judge anyone but yourself, where as the Bible openly condemns certain situations, labels, sexual orient, behavior, and practices. Casy believes you should do what you feel and doesn’t believe in right or wrong. Casy once said, “I didn’ even know it when I was preachin’, but I was doin’ some consid’able tom-cattin’ around. ” He told of times when he lacked responsibility, filled girls up with the Holy Spirit by his preachings and then continually took them out with him to “lay in the grass. ” He once said, “There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue.

There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say. ” A hedonistic moral code that tells of pleasure before rules and presumes to deny punishment is highly unusual for a one-time preacher. Casy struggled with his personal inner faith, and also his actions and speeches that defied what a regular man of the faith would do. The inner being of Jim Casy was evolving and furthermore conflicting when he metamorphisized from a man of thought to a man of action.

Towards the beginning of the book, Casy spent many a night sleep- deprived and many a day mute philosophizing to himself. “Say, Casy, you been awful goddamn quiet the las’ few days… you ain’t said ten words the las’ couple days, ” Tom said. Even Casy himself had trouble speaking at all: “Now look, Tom. Oh what the hell! So goddamn hard to say anything. ” He remarked early on in the book, “There’s stuff goin’ on an’ they’s folks doin’ things… An’ if ya listen, you’ll hear… res’lessness. They’s stuff goin’ on that these folks is doin’ that don’t know nothin’ about- yet.

They’s gonna come somepin outa all these folks goin’ wes’… They’s gonna come a thing that’s gonna change the whole country. ” Later in the book Casy stops predicting “a thing” and takes part of this revolution by striking outside a peach-picking plant. He had spent a lot of time pondering the environment at hand, but he finally turns his anti- authority feelings into physical actions when he kicks a cop causing trouble in Hooverville. Casy later goes on to spontaneously take the blame for the fight and was sent to jail, sacrificing his own well-being for others.

On top of Casy’s struggles with himself, he also faced exterior conflicts with the rest of the world. Jim Casy came across conflicts between himself and the rest of society. He attempted to organize the migrants but saw great difficulty. After Casy was let out of jail he (and other wise men) picketed outside a peach-picking camp for higher wages. Although he managed to organize those few men, and kept the wages at a reasonable price while on strike, he could not persuade the others inside the workplace to join him. “Tell ’em [the people who are picking peaches] they’re starvin’ us an’ stabbin’ theirselves in the back.

Cause sure as cowflops she’ll drop to two an’ a half jus’ as soon as they clear us out,” Casy said referring to the fact that unless the people in the camp did something- like went on strike- they would ‘stab themselves in the back’ because the wages would go back down. However, the people in the camp only cared about the five they were making at the time and nothing else. Casy’s attempts at organizing failed not only because the people cared specifically for what was happening at the present time, but also because they were afraid to organize.

As soon as there is a recognized leader cops throw him in jail or threaten him. People put the migrants down and used derogatory terms to attempt to control them. Society wanted to keep the migrants moving, leaving it impossible for them to organize. There was once a man who started to unite the people in jail. Later the very people he was trying to help threw him out, afraid of being seen in his company. His attempts at uniting fail eternally when he tells a cop he is starving children and the cop smashes his skull with a board. Jim Casy encounters more external difficulties when he crosses paths with cops.

In chapter 20, Floyd, John, Tom and Casy have a physical fight with a deputy. In an unrelated incident, an officer threatened to set fire to the camp Casy’s friends were staying at. When Casy was trying to organize some men, cops were continually breaking them down. “We tried to camp together, an’ they [cops] druv us like pigs. Scattered us. Beat the hell outa fellas. Druv us like pigs… We can’t las’ much longer. Some people ain’t et for two days,”said Casy. “Cops cause more trouble than they stop,” Casy also mentioned. Thus is a man who has seen animosity and enmity and has not been afraid.

In conclusion, Jim Casy is a rather Christ-like, harmonious, unprovincial, somewhat realistic charcter who has seen the challenges of organization, authority, his own faith, reception from others, and his own ever- changing personality. This man can be looked at as a martyr, ethical, sacred individual, and yet ironically “Okie”, hobo, or virtue-less bum. However The Grapes of Wrath and Jim Casy are undisputed symbols of hope, dreams, spirit and the oneness of all humanity. To me personally, Jim Casy is a role-model to any one who aspires to think original thoughts. I find his defiance of organized religion thought-provoking and inspiring.

His ideas of nature are prophetic and his selfless love of people beautiful. Jim Casy’s essence of understanding, dreams, love, hope and belief in an almighty holiness can be summed up in one quote, “An’ Almighty God never raised no wages. These here folks want to live decent and bring up their kids decent. An’ when they’re old they wanta set in the door an’ watch the downing sun. An’ when they’re young they wanta dance an’ sing an’ lay together. They wanta eat an’ get drunk and work. An’ that’s it- they wanta jus’ fling their goddamn muscles aroun’ an’ get tired. “

Grapes of Wrath: Dustbowl Disaster

In the 1930s, drought and horrific dust storms turned the once-fertile agricultural lands of mid-America into virtual dust bowls and wastelands. Thousands of destitute farmers packed their families and belongings into and onto their cars and left their homes in search of agricultural work in central California. Their plight and the politics of that day are told in the novel “The Grapes of Wrath. ” Published in 1939 by California writer John Steinbeck, the book won the 1940

Pulitzer Prize. In his book, Steinbeck champions the downtrodden migrants, as he follows the Joad family from Oklahoma to California. Tom Joad, eldest son, is the book’s protagonist and his efforts to save his family are the core of the book’s story. As Steinbeck writes in his book, “The moving, questing people were migrants now. Those families which had lived on a little piece of land, who had lived and died on forty acres, had now the whole West to rove in.

And they scampered about, looking for work; and the highways were streams of people, and the ditch banks were lines of people. ” Often known as “Okies,” a derogatory term, Dust Bowl immigrants like the fictional Joads did not get a warm welcome from California’s farmers and politicians. The newcomers were herded into slum-like migrant camps, given low wages for back-breaking work, and treated like criminals. Much of this was an effort by local farmers to take advantage of a cheap labor pool and to revent labor organizing that would raise wages.

Much of it was the result of fear on the part of Californians who were faced with a huge influx of ragged families. Whatever the cause, the result wasn’t pretty. It shaped the development of the Midwest, which lost thousands of people and farms, and of California, which had to develop a new social order to handle the transplants. The problems faced by those from Oklahoma are not unlike those faced today by migrant workers from Mexico.

Hope and Endurance in The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath in response to the Great Depression. Steinbeck’s intentions were to publicize the movements of a fictional family affected by the Dust Bowl that was forced to move from their homestead. Also a purpose of Steinbeck’s was to criticize the hard realities of a dichotomized American society. The Great Depression was brought about through various radical economic practices and greatly affected the common man of America. Although all Americans were faced with the same fiscal disparity, a small minority began to exploit those in distress.

Along the trek westward from Oklahoma, the Joad family met a grand multitude of adversity. However, this adversity was counteracted with a significant amount of endurance exhibited by the Joads and by generalized citizens of America. A magnanimous amount of motivation for the tenant farmers was generally found in the self, in an individualistic manner. As “gentle (winds) followed the rain clouds,” furthering the magnitude of the dust storms, the survival of the farmers and their families soon became doubtful.

The men would sit in “the doorways of their houses; their hands were busy with sticks and little rocks… (as they) sat still–thinking–figuring. ” The adversity represented by the weather was hindered by the idea that man could triumph over nature–over the machine–and retain a sense of self-identity. Another sense of the attempt to retain a moralistic self-identity and persevere through the obstacles present was the reaction had by the tenant farmers when forced to move off their land.

Standing in conflict with “the cat,”–the destroyer of lands–or the tractor, the farmers began to correlate their problems with one another. Although conjuring up incoherent manifestations of violence to counteract the machine, several grand ideas of enduring nature were developed. Among which existed the idea of traveling west to California, despite the closure of the frontier.

The tenant farmers continued to endure by self-motivation, “we got to figure… there’s some way to stop this… ‘s not like lightning or earthquakes… we’ve got a thing made by men, and by God that’s something we can change. ” The idea of traveling west to evade the economic conundrums of Oklahoma was patent in the Joad family. Upon the release of Tom Joad from prison (who had been sentenced to seven years for manslaughter, but received parole), the family reunited and began the trek west. Al, brother to Tom, asked his mother if she were worried about the possible outcomes of the trip, and what could take place on the road.

To this she responded with a religious connotation, evidence of endurance laced with religion as a sign of hope, “You’ll be glad a that preacher `fore we’re through… that preacher’ll help us… ” Not only did Americans respond to the Great Depression with signs of individual endurance, a stronger focus on religion was effected to bring optimism. Motivation also came from fellow farmers and “migrant men” affected by the recession. Tom, with the family car stopped at a gas station, met an attendant that had but only one eye.

The one-eyed attendant began to complain of the migrants that begged for gas and of those that ran rampant without, and placed the blame on his eye. Tom responded that the only way to immunize such a condition was for the individual to take an action against it. Also, upon hearing masochist comments from Al concerning the gas station attendant, Tom castigated Al by saying, “Wanta be a hell of a guy all the time… but, goddamnit, Al, don’ keep ya guard up when nobody ain’t sparrin’ with ya… ” The idea of endurance was catalyzed by various actions among tenant farmers.

Were it constructive criticism aimed at inspiration or castratory remarks aimed at a fellow cohort, they served to further humanity through the intermingling of society. Affluent landowners in California also attempted to cripple the migrant exodus. This included the mistreatment of migrant men and the repression and discrimination against such. This repression led to bitter resentment towards the oligopoly of landowners that controlled the symbolic vindication of the migrant men. Natural resources began to dwindle, such as the spoiling of wine in vineyards.

These predicaments presented to the migrant men served a dual purpose–not only did they superficially benefit the oligopoly, it built up resentment among the farmers. “In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage. ” The growing resentment was a profound example of the growing endurance among American farmers during the Great Depression. The most significant exhibition of endurance from the Joad family came in the actions of Tom Joad.

Jim Casy, a former preacher that accompanied the Joads on their exodus, was arrested for attacking a police officer during a labor riot (in which Joad was the actual guilty party). However, Joad later discovered Casy working to organize the migrant workers in a tent located at a peach farm. Casy explained to Joad several unfair labor practices in effect at the camp. During this meeting, two chauvinistic policemen accused Casy of being a “communist” and kill Casy with the collision of a pick-ax to his head.

Joad is greatly affected by this incident and this serves as the foundation of his final endurance. Attempting to provide a sense of hope for the migrant workers, Joad departs from his family to resume Casy’s job of organizing the farmers, saying “I’ll be ever’where–wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there… an’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build–why, I”ll be there. ”

The exploitation of “Okies” continued but was haltered by unions and organizations such as those Tom Joad planned to lead. Being faced with several accounts of adversity coming not only from the national and eventually global economic depression, the farmers of America had only one chance to subsist, and that was to maintain a sense of endurance. This sense was evident in several actions of the Joad family during their trek to California and the actions taken by general farmers of America as their “grapes of wrath (began) … growing heavy for the vintage. “

Grapes Of Wrath: How It Relates To The Romance Archetype

How does California seem to modern America? Violent. Crowded. Filled with bad people. People who live in cities and have lost touch with the earth. These people are portrayed in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath as Californians. Yet, people from the Midwest flocked to California seeking prosperity and opportunity. Their land had been taken by the banks and turned into cotton fields. They were left homeless and desperate. These people sought to work in the fields where they could eat a peach or sit under a tree to relax.

But there wasn’t a California as they had imagined. In fact, the world they entered into when they arrived in California was a cold one. The locals excluded the newcomers and forced them to leave. The locals tormented the foreigners, calling them Okies’ and telling them that they are unwanted. There was no work and when there was, the workers were underpaid and forced to work for low wages. California was hell. But John Steinbeck creates this novel to fit the “romance” archetype.

In this archetype, the hero makes a journey, encounters problems in his path which he overcomes, and reaches his final destination. The hero of the novel must be larger than life, strong, and different from others. He must be a natural leader and greatly glorified. The earth resembles the Garden of Eden, or a paradise. ‘ He must be in touch with the earth. The Grapes of Wrath has many obvious connections to the romance archetype, and many subtle connections. One of the more obvious connections is the journey. The main characters, the Joads, embark on a journey from Kansas to California.

In the 1930’s Kansas was in the Dust Bowl’, a part of the Midwest where the land dried up, causing fierce dust storms that could kill people. California, on the other hand, was the beautiful, fertile valley, where people could pick peaches, become prosperous, and eventually buy a house to settle down. The fact that the Joads traveled from a terrible place to a better place fits the romance archetype. This better place they search for is the connection to the earth that they once had in Kansas. They envision that they can find it in California as well.

The characters show an obvious connection to the archetype. The romantic hero in this novel is Tom Joad. Tom is larger than life. On the trip he is the leader of the family, even superior to his father. Tom is feared and respected, for he had once killed a man in a fight. “Al tried to control his question. Did-did you bust out? Of jail? ‘ No,’ said Tom. I got paroled. ‘ Oh. ‘ And Al was a little disappointed. ” In the previous quote, Tom’s brother, Al, looked up to Tom so much that he had expected him to escape. Tom is the older brother and therefore the most respected.

When the father of the man Tom killed threatened to kill Tom, Tom’s grandfather said, “Don’t mess around with no Joad… You lay your sights anywheres near Tommy and I’ll take it and ram it up your ass. ” Tom knows about cars, Tom knows if people are lying, and isn’t afraid to stand up for himself. Tom was always a fighter, as his mother said about him when he wanted to stop the banks from taking his house, “Tommy, don’t you go fightin’ em alone. They’ll hunt you down like a coyote. ” The other characters in the text are glorified and larger than life.

All the characters seem muscular, which fits the archetypal pattern of a Romantic hero: “And she wrung out overalls and shirts, and the muscles of her forearms corded out,” “The sleeves of his shirt were tight on his forearms, held down by the bulging, powerful muscles. ” The other family members are also respected and praised during the text. They make wise statements, so they appear intelligent. Ma was smart in a natural way, not from education: “You can cook little stuff in a big kettle, but you can’t cook big stuff in a little pot. ”

Compare California to Kansas. On the first page of the text, Steinbeck describes the land and the animals, such as gophers. The first animals the Joads see in California are a rattlesnake (which Tom kills) and a dog (which gets hit by a car). But California was certainly a paradise, no matter how much evil occurred there. It was the “Eden,” which refers to the romance archetype once again. This California is described as a place where, “it’ll be different out there-plenty work, an’ ever’thing nice and green, an’ little white houses an’ oranges growin aroun’.

Although the terms evil’ and Eden’ seem to contradict themselves, there is a reason for the evil in California. The reality of California is best described by a man who was leaving the state: “She’s a nice country. But she was stole a long time ago. You git acrost the desert an’ come into the country aroun’ Bakersfield. An’ you never seen such purty country-all orchards an’ grapes, purtiest country you ever seen. An’ you’ll pass lan’ flat an’ fine with water thirty feet down, and that lan’s layin’ fallow. But you can’t have none of that lan’. That’s a Lan’ and Cattle Company.

An’ if they don’t want ta work her, she ain’t gonna get worked. You go in there and plant you a little corn, an’ you’ll go to jail! … Sure, nice to look at, but you can’t have none of it. They’s a grove of yella oranges-an’ a guy with a gun that got the right to kill you if you touch one. They’s a fella, newspaper fella near the coast, got a million acres-. ” The owners of the farms in California were the root of the evil. In the romance archetype, the romantic hero must be in touch with the earth. The people who drift from the close connection between themselves and the earth become evil and corrupt.

An example of this theory would be that of the human race and the main character, Wang Lung, in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. According to the archetype, the human race was happiest during the Romantic Age. This would be the time of Adam and Eve. After Adam picked the forbidden fruit, and man started to use nature and not respect it, man started being corrupt. In the modern world, people who are close to the earth are labeled as hippies’ and are dismissed. In The Good Earth, Wang Lung starts out as a poor farmer, and slowly accumulates a large amount of wealth.

When he was a farmer, he could forecast the weather for the day just by sticking his head out the window. But when he had a large house, servants, a prostitute, and never had to work in the fields, he turned evil and bad things happened to him. When he parted completely from the land, he was doomed. This same theory goes into effect with the farm owners and the Joads. All the events that happen to the Joads after they leave their farm are bad. Casy said about Grampa, “He was foolin’, all the time. I think he knowed it. An’ Grampa didn’ die tonight.

He died the minute you took im off the place [the farm]… Oh, he was breathin’, but he was dead. He was that place, an’ he knowed it. ” Steinbeck goes into detail when describing these evil kings of the land. “Once California belonged to Mexico and its land to the Mexicans; and a horde of tattered feverish Americans poured in. And such was their hunger for land that they took the land-stole Sutter’s land, Guerrero’s land, took the grants and broke them up and growled and quarreled over them, those hungry men; and they guarded with guns the land they had stolen…

And it came about that owners no longer worked on their farms. They farmed on paper; and they forgot the land, the smell, the feel of it, and remembered only that they owned it, remembered only what they had gained and lost by it…. Then such a farmer became a store keeper, and kept a store… And the owners not only did not work the farms any more, many of them had never seen the farms they owned. ” This quote portrays the farm owners in California as evil.

They don’t work the land anymore, nor do they even oversee it; they have people running the farms for them and they just see the money involved. They loose touch with what farming is really about: being in touch with the earth. Now all they see are the profits and the losses. The Joads’ vision of a California where people can freely pick fruit symbolizes the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve freely picked fruit. The family yearns for this type of place because this connection to the earth has been stripped from them since the bank took their land and the tractor destroyed their house.

These symbols and archetypal images shown in the text demonstrate that The Grapes of Wrath is a romance novel. The family must travel across the United States to re-connect with the earth and live happily. This story is not the story of the Joads alone, for thousands of families made this journey during the Dust Bowl. They all suffered the same problems as the Joads, but to different degrees. Steinbeck helps illustrate the true intents of these migrant “Okies” in their Romantic quest to return to the Golden Age.