Grapes Of Wrath By Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath: The Purpose of the Interchapters – Sara Stark 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 nd 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 rotect 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.

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. “

John Ernst Steinbeck – American author

John Ernst Steinbeck was an American author, famous for his novels concerning the poor and the oppressed Californian farmers and laborers of the 1930’s and 1940’s, who were victimized by industry and finance. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath, won the 1940 Pulitzer Prize. His main themes involved the struggles of the poor and the oppressed to survive in modern society, and the confrontation between man and his destiny. 1 Steinbeck wrote 17 novels, numerous short stories, several plays, and some nonfiction . He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1962.

John Steinbeck was born February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Salinas is in a fertile agricultural valley about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast. His childhood was spent in California near Monterey. The Salinas area provided the setting for most of his fiction. He was an intelligent, sensitive boy and spent much time exploring nature. 3 His parents were of German and Irish parentage. They were neither rich not poor, but lived a comfortable existence in Salinas. 4 His father, John Ernst, a county treasurer, was sympathetic to his son’s wanting to become a writer.

His mother, Olive Ernst (nee Hamilton), was a schoolteacher and did much to encourage him to read. He was provided with an extensive library at home1 and spent much of his time reading when he was not outside exploring nature. All his childhood schooling was in the Salinas area. He graduated from Salinas High School in 1919. 2 He had been president of his senior class, active on both the track and basketball teams, and had wrote for the El Gabilan, the Salinas High School paper. 3 After graduation, he attended Stanford University in California. He was a special student from 1919-1925.

Steinbeck off and on took courses in literature and courses in writing, but he earned less than half the required credits,4 and did not receive a degree from Stanford. He left school in November of 1925 for New York City. He hoped to become a writer but was he was soon back in California. 5 Steinbeck was a very private person and his married life seems sketchy in most profiles. He married Carol Henning in 1930 and they were divorced in 1943. He next married Gwyn Conger, who was a writer, singer, and composer, on March 29, 1943, but they were divorced in 1948.

He had two children, Tom and John, in this marriage. He married one more time, this time to Elaine Scott on December 29, 1950. He stayed married til he died on December 20, 1968, in New York City. 1 John Steinbeck had a very varied job description by the time he made it as a writer. Constantly doing various odd, occasional jobs to support himself, he managed to be a rancher, road worker, deck hand, cotton picker,2 hod-carrier, fruit-picker, apprentice painter, laboratory assistant, caretaker, surveyor, reporter, and writer.

These various odd jobs supplied him with much of the material for his early novels and his observations lent authenticity and realism to the working men and their women in his stories. Aside from being a writer of books, Steinbeck held other writing jobs during his career as a writer. These writing jobs include that of a Foreign correspondent in North Africa and Italy for the New York Herald Tribune, in 1943. He was also a special writer for the United States Army Air Forces, during World War II. He later became a correspondent in Vietnam for Newday from 1966-1967.

Over the years he was also a contributor of numerous short stories, essays, and articles to popular magazines and periodicals. 4 John Steinbeck received many awards, honors and recognition for his work. He received the General Literature Gold Medal from the Commonwealth Club of California three times: in 1936, for Tortilla Flat, in 1937, for Of Mice and Men, and in 1940, for Grapes of Wrath. The New York Drama critics Circle Award was awarded to him in 1938, for the play, “Of Mice and Men”.

The coveted and prestigious Pulitzer Prize in novel was given to him in 1940, for The Grapes of Wrath. He got Academy Award (Oscar) nominations for best original story, Academy of Motion picture Arts and Sciences in 1944 , for “Lifeboat” and in 1945, for “A Medal for Benny”. The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Steinbeck in 1962. And the Paperback of the Year Award, Best Sellers , was awarded to him in 1964, for Travels with Charley: In Search of America. 1 Steinbeck’s first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929.

The story was about the pirate Sir Henry Morgan and had a Faustian theme. Steinbeck believed it was the only book of his that could be filmed (later proved wrong, of course) because it had all the elements of a Hollywood historical extravaganza. 2 This novel attracted little attention. Today it is not widely read. It is not considered one of his good works. His next venture was Pastures of Heaven, published in 1932. It was a collection of related stories of loosely interlocked episodes in the life of a small rural community.

It portrays people of a farm community near Salinas and shows their love of the land. He begins to show a preoccupation with ordinary people of his area. This book was followed by To a God Unknown in 1933. This was a symbolic novel about man’s mystic relationship to the universe. He dealt with man’s need for rituals and man’s need to find meaning somehow to the many and various situations that he has no control. 1 It wasn’t until he published Tortilla Flat in 1935 that he gained a wide audience. This novel is an account of an unconventional Spanish community in Monterey, California.

It was about the colorful and unique Spanish-speaking “paisanos” in Monterey, and was a humorous depiction of life among the raffish idlers who later reappeared in Cannery Row, 1945, The Wayward Bus, 1947, and Sweet Thursday, 1954. These people create their own distinct community, in rebellion against the commercial and materialistic values of society. Steinbeck vividly describes the life of the migrants and the poor farmers. Finally the critics gave this work serious attention.

This piece of work brought him popular success and financial security. This was followed by Dubious Battle, published in1936. This story deals with the violent labor strikes in California during the 1930’s, of the clashes between the California fruit growers and the migrant workers. Steinbeck shows his liberal political views expressing sympathy for the plight and treatment of the strikers. This book was a study of the way in which the compulsive behavior of a group may threaten its own survival. 1 Steinbeck tried to make a meaningful pattern out of the behavior of exploited men who were not able to speak for themselves.

Some critics believe this to be the finest strike novel written in America. In 1937, Steinbeck published Of Mice and Men. He wanted to write a novel as nearly like a play as he could…. it was transformed to Broadway stage almost intact, as well as to the screen. This novel/play tells of the tragic friendship between two migrant farm workers. He created an allegory of self-determination and need…. a parable… no life is unworthy of reverence… “life must be sacred even to a man who is obliged to destroy in order to save”. 3 It was a compact and deceptively simple novelette about a tragic friendship.

It was a work full of symbolism. Of Mice and Men was an immediate popular success with great financial rewards for Steinbeck. It appeared on best-seller lists, it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and it was sold to Hollywood. Of Mice and Men opened on the New York stage on November 23, 1937 and won great critical and popular acclaim. Steinbeck won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for stage drama. 1 This was followed by The Red Pony, which was published in 1937. The critics considered this novella to be a sensitive, beautiful fable, written in a lyrical style. It also was sold to Hollywood.

The next book he published was The Long Valley in 1938. This was a collection of short stories including those published separately in 1937 as The Red Pony. The best was yet to come. 2 The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, and became Steinbecks most famous novel and won Steinbeck the Pulitzer prize in 1940. This was a novel of social protest that caused a furor of both praise and denunciation. It was inspired by his accompanying of several migrant workers to California and then living in the camps and experiencing what the workers were experiencing. Steinbeck got very close to his subject at hand.

The Grapes of Wrath was about the poor Oklahoma farmers, Okies, from the Dust Bowl region of the Midwest, who migrated to California during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The novel tells how the Joad family loses its farm through a bank foreclosure. The family then makes the difficult journey to California to start a new life in the land of promise. They find instead a land of waste, corruption, and poverty. Expecting to find work, decent wages, and a chance to someday acquire their own land, they are instead introduced to a system of degrading migrant labor camps, menial wages, and near starvation.

The novel tells how they and other migrant families are mistreated by the police and various employers in California. It has the inevitability of a classic tragedy. It was at first thought to be about the economic crisis of the 1930’s, it was later thought that it portrays everyone’s search for human dignity. It became symbolic of the hardships of every victim of the Dust bowl or of hard times and summed up the bitterness of the Depression decade. This novel provoked a wide and shocked reaction.

Biography of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in 1902, in California’s Salinas Valley, a region that would eventually serve as the setting for Of Mice and Men as well as many of his other works. He studied literature and writing at Stanford University, but disenrolled in 1925, after six years, without a degree.

He moved to New York City and worked as a laborer and journalist for five years, until he completed his first novel in 1929, Cup of Gold. Soon thereafter, Steinbeck married and moved back to California, where he published two more novels (The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown), as well as worked on short stories. With the publication of Tortilla Flat in 1935, Steinbeck achieved popular success and financial security.

A relentless and dedicated writer, Steinbeck experimented with many forms: In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath (considered to be his masterpiece) focus on the California laboring class; he wrote a screenplay entitled The Forgotten Village; he studied marine biology and wrote Sea of Cortez; when World War II came, Steinbeck wrote Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team; he published a nonfiction account of his travels through America with his dog, Charley; East of Eden, published in1952, is a saga based on Steinbeck’s family history.

Steinbeck spent the last years of his life in New York City and Sag Harbor, writing and traveling with his third wife. He won the Nobel Prize in 1962 and died in 1968, leaving a sizeable body of literature behind him.

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.

John Steinbeck – The Realist and Naturalist

John Steinbeck was born in salinas califorina in 1902. He went to stanford university, but only lasted three years. In his youth he worked as a ranch hand and a fruit picker. John Steinbeck wrote many books his most famous works include Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes Of Wath. Some people catagorize Steinbeck as being a writer of nateralism and realism. John Steinbeck was a model example of the realist and nateralist of his generation.

He often wrote about the things that were going on in th late 20’s and 30’s, like most noteably the depression and his characters often dealt with the real life problems of the time. His characters often, illiterate and weak minded are essentially good people. when steinbeck’s characters are esablished severly on the land , they are hared working and good hearted. when there agricultural activities are disrupted, as when the joads are driven from oklahoma in The Grapes of Wrath, or when a seductive woman get in the way of the agricultural dream of lennie and george in Of Mice and Men tragedy and misfortune are often the result.

Steinbeck presentd scenes of great crulty and passion in his books, his characters often use profanity beacuse they know no other way of speaking, it’s sort of a manerism with them. the reason for this is that profanity is often found inthe speach of illiterate people. Foul language in some groups is as much a convention as politness is in other groups. Stienbeck’s characters are seldom cruel, and are more likely to be gentle. If they commit crimes it is usually through an accident as in Grapes of Wrath or stupidity as in of Mice and Men, and they regret there act as soon as they relize their full implications.

Several of his book are attemps to create folklore. He makes use of rhytm and repetition, in Of mice and Men Lennie’s theme of “George … are we gonna have rabbits George? ” is like a reacurring motif. His descriptions of nature are highly chareged with imagery. He sometimes feels the same compassion for the sea and hills as he does toward his characters. it might just be Steinbeck’s point that humble and illiterate people may have their tragedies too.

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.

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.

The story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck

Throughout history, women have been portrayed as the weaker sex. As a result of these unfair social assumptions, women have been working hard to dissociate themselves from this stereotype and become more independent with their lives. In the story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, he describes Elisa Allen’s frustration with her marriage, her sense of isolation from the world, and her hidden desires to express herself as a woman and to explore her sexuality by living a more passionate life. The setting plays a significant role in the story.

It reinforces Elisa’s feelings of isolation from the world. The tale is set in the beautiful valley of Salinas, California, but with all its beauty, this location takes on the role of some sort of prison in which one could feel trapped. “The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world. On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot” (260). We can see how this atmosphere could have a negative effect on a person.

Another part of the setting that plays an equally important roll is the fence that surrounds Elisa’s garden from her husband and the rest of the world. “He leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens” (260). These animals represent Henry’s world, while the garden represents hers. The peddler is the first person to want to enter her world. Later Elisa decides to let him into her garden, and with that act, breaks the barrier that has isolated her from the outside.

The chrysanthemums themselves and her clothes illustrate a great deal about Elisa’s struggle to find her own identity. The chrysanthemums meant a great deal to her. She grew them with the work of her hands and the care of her heart. We observe this when she talks about them so passionately with the peddler. The author portrays that “the stems seemed too small and easy for her energy” (260). This symbol makes it clear to the reader that she wants more from life than just being a gardener.

Her initial appearance in the story is incredibly conservative and manly; “Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes and heavy leather gloves” yet still allows a feminine side to be noticed, “She wore a figured print dress almost completely covered by a corduroy apron” (260). This imagery represents her repression of her own sexuality. Despite her hiding behind these symbolic clothes, she was still doing the “female” job of looking after the flower garden.

She learns, but does not accept, that she possesses a weak feminine power not the masculine one she tried to achieve The peddler is an especially important figure in this story and represents the kind of life Elisa Allen would like to experience. He is described as a big, bearded and greying man with an attractive presence, whose eyes are dark and full of brooding. He lives his life on the road, traveling the country and making what little money he can from his loyal customers by fixing their pots and knives. After entering Elisa’s yard, he repeatedly asks if she has anything he can fix.

She refuses him a job and becomes very irritated, “The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa’s face” (263). But when the peddler admires her flowers, she “grew eager and alert” (263), and feels like he admires her. “She tears off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair” (263). She decides to allow the peddler into her world by giving him some sprouts of chrysanthemums in a pot for the “customer” that he claims is interested in chrysanthemums. By giving him the sprouts, she gives him the symbol of her inner-self. Her enthusiasm for her flowers is a very feministic characteristic.

She gives the peddler a job and he leaves. The fact that others might be interested in her passion for gardening gives her the idea that she may have a distinct role in society and can make a difference, even a small one. After the departure of the man in the wagon, Elisa feels like a transformed woman and acquires hope for herself and her marriage. She feels like a renewed woman and rushes to take a bath. She washes and scrubs herself as if to remove the bits and pieces of her old lifestyle and to allow her new, confident self to shine through.

She then looks at her new self in the mirror and beams at the sight of it. She hopes that Henry will recognize her as a woman and provide her the romance and excitement for which she longs. However, she becomes very frustrated when Harry sets eyes on her, and his best compliment on her appearance is, “You look nice” (265). Elisa is bothered because he cannot grasp what she sees and how she feels. She realizes that her life is not going to change, and that her femininity and sexuality are never going to be fully appreciated nor understood by Henry. She later declares to him that she is “strong.

I never knew before how strong” (266). “In a moment it was over” (266). The moment when she sees her flowers discarded on the road, she suffers an overwhelming feeling of rejection. She feels weak, betrayed, and feminine. She has no desire to try and be strong, and realizes that she can never live up to the expectations she places on herself. She realizes all the peddler wanted was the pots. The entire experience was a lie. Elisa felt a false sense of awakening, and it affected her strongly. In an attempt to save her newly discovered strength and will, she asks Henry about the prizefights.

Henry replies that she would not like the fights, putting Elisa back into the chains of domination that she felt she had broken free from not to long ago. At first glance, this is a simple story about a simple time, when men were the only support of a family and women were at hand to serve them. However, the further we look into the story, we discover a woman of outstanding will trying to force herself into society as an individual. Even though her revolution is brief, Elisa comes of age by discovering the world beyond her garden and coming into the realization that she too could make a difference in the world.

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.

The Pearl: Depictions of Life

In John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, a destitute pearl diver finds a giant pearl with which he hopes to buy peace and happiness for his family. Instead, he learns that the valuable pearl can not buy happiness but only destroy his simple life. Throughout the fable, there is a constant theme woven through the characters and setting which encompasses the struggle among social classes to become successful. Steinbeck, a novelist known for his realistic depictions of life, portrays this motif through Kino, the doctor, Coyotito, and the town of La Paz.

John Earnst Steinbeck, author of The Pearl and many other stories, was orn on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Both his father, who ran a flour mill, and his mother, a teacher, encouraged him to write once they saw his early interest in literature. Steinbeck began his career by writing articles for his school newspaper and by taking classes at Stanford University. At the same time, he worked at a local ranch where he witnessed the harsh treatment of migrant workers. These underpriveleged laborers later served as the inspiration for many of his novels, including The Grapes of Wrath.

The Pearl, another inspiration from his past, originated from a legend about the misfortunes of a oor boy who found a giant pearl that was told to Steinbeck while on a trip to Mexico. Kino, the protagonist in The Pearl, is an honest pearl diver that discovers the sacrifices that come with the struggle for success. He dreams of the education the pearl could provide for his son, but the pearl also makes Kino more suspicious of the peaceful villagers around him. At one point, he tries to sell the pearl in order to pay for a doctor Coyotito needs, but the pearl buyers only try to cheat him of the success he feels he deserves.

Then Kino tries to leave the town, but his fear only causes him to shoot Coyotito accidentally. Finally, Kino returns to La Paz and throws the pearl into the sea. Kino, a symbol of hard work and ambition, is destroyed by his dreams of a better life. The town doctor also demonstrates how the struggle for success can corrupt people. This “healer” is more interested in money than the welfare of others. While drinking expensive tea out of tiny china cups, he sits in his large white house and dreams of returning to Paris. When Juana comes to ask if he will treat Coyotito’s scorpion sting, he promptly sends her promptly away.

However, when news of Kino’s discovery reaches the doctor, he rushes to the amily’s grass hut. Once there, he makes Coyotito sick so that he may cure the infant and squeeze a portion of the pearl’s wealth from the family. This disgraceful doctor represents the arrogance of the powerful towards the powerless. Coyotito, though only an infant, is also a very important symbol of the struggle for success. An innocent victim of greed, he knows nothing more comforting than the simple life he spends in his wooden crib and in his mother’s arms. Yet, the pearl and the possibilities it offers threaten and eventually take his life.

Because of his poverty, he is refused treatment for a scorpion ting, and beacuse of his fimily’s wealth he is made sick by a greedy doctor. Finally, the pearl costs little Coyotito his life when Kino accidentally thinks his eyes are those of trackers coming to take the pearl. Even the town of La Paz gives evidence of the strife that costs the life of a child. Located on the coast of Mexico, most of the Indians in this town are merely fishermen trying to feed their families. These people are constantly taken advantage of by traders that come. Unfortunately, they can do nothing, or their families will lose business.

For the people, there is a truggle each day just to make ends meet. However, their grass and mud huts clash with the stone and plaster city of the rich. It is through the city of stone and plaster that Juana must boldly journey through to ask the doctor for help. The huts battle to enter the boundaries of the rich, just as Kino fights the boundaries of social stratification. Through the struggles that Kino faces, he reveals the conflicts between the rich and the poor. Coyotito teaches the reader how innocent bystanders can suffer, and the doctor shows what type of people could do such a thing.

Through hese characters and the town of La Paz, Steinbeck informs his reader that wealth and happiness do not always come together, and that being wealthy does not mean everything. Most importantly, he shows that the struggle to become successful can destroy one’s initial dreams. Kino finally realizes the worthlessness of the pearl after Coyotito’s death and as Steinbeck writes: “And in the surface of the pearl he saw Coyotito laying in the cave with his head shot away. And the pearl was ugly; it was gray, like a malignant growth… And Kino drew back his arm and flung the pearl with all his might. “

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.

Symbolism – The Chrysanthemums

John Steinbecks’ “The Chrysanthemums” is a story that utilizes symbolism on many levels. Most of all, I believe in the character of Elisa Adams. Elisa and her garden seem to be considered one. Because of all of her hard labor and love the Chrysanthemums flourish. The Chrysanthemums being a symbol of children that she never had. Also Chrysanthemums are a symbol of death. The pairing of the death association and the symbol of what the Chrysanthemums mean to Elisa is ironic.

In modern society Chrysanthemums are generally brought to funerals, but they keep her going. Steinbeck also uses symbolism in his description of the time of year and surrounding area. He first describes the farm as having a lack of sunshine and the season being December, all attributes to the overall feeling of death. At the begging of the story Steinbeck set the tone of the story. “The high gray-flannel fog of winter…made the valley like a closed pot.

Here the tone is very plainly presented, it’s cold and foggy, a sense of dark, even perhaps death can be seen. It is intrusting to note the parallel and symbolism between the clay pot and the valley Elisa. It is almost as if Elisa was to leave the valley, like the Chrysanthemums, she would be dumped out on the “road of life” The chrysanthemums are the most powerful symbol in the story. Not only do the flowers represent motherhood for Elisa, they also represent her womanhood. Elisa isn’t described as being a very feminine woman.

Steinbeck instead uses the word “strong” to describe her. All of her surroundings such as the house and the valley are also described as being very stark. The only colorful thing in the story are the flowers. It is obvious that the symbolism of the flowers is encompassing of Elisa’s whole livelihood: her own mother’s “gardening hands,” the children she never had, and the creativity that so greatly contrast her surroundings. John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” is filled with symbolism.

As the story unfolds Elisa is described to us as a very strong woman. By this we can determine that she is a very hard worker and not as femanin as most women. The title of the story is a symbol of her life. The flowers represent both life and death to her. Since she has no children she uses her God given motherly gifts on her flowers. The flowers do not live as long as children do, so she has to go through the heart ache when one of her flowers die. The flowers symbolize everything she has and what she is made of.

Literary Criticism of John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums

Importance of Criticism

To fully appreciate literature, we must look at it from every angle possible. There are many ways to criticize a piece of literature. Each way helps a reader to better understand the work in its own different way. I hope to outline and give examples of the many different ways that the short story The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck can be interpreted.
The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

One morning an energetic housewife named Elisa Henry is working busily in her garden, watching in secret interest as her husband sells cattle to another man. When a peddler drives up to her gate, she is intrigued by the peddler’s lifestyle. She talks to him and he mentions chrysanthemums, and she eagerly gives him a few chrysanthemums in a bright new pot. She gives him some pots to fix and they talk about his life. When he goes on his way, she feels decidedly more powerful. She cleans and dresses herself for a date with her husband. When they are driving on the road she sees a spot that she knows must be her discarded chrysanthemum gift. She then resigns to being her old self and weeps like an old woman.

Moral/Intellectual Criticism

When using the Moral/Intellectual criticism, the analyst approaches the content and values of the story. The intent of the Moral/Intellectual approach is to find the underlying message and/or lesson that is in the story. The message or lesson that is found in the work can then be applied to either the main character or the reader.

In The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck intends to suggest that women are not equal to men in society. Elisa experiences this when she is not able to participate in male-oriented activities that her husband takes part in. Elisa, the woman, is thus a lesser person because of her gender. It leads me to believe that myself along with all other women may not be suitable for certain kinds of work.

Topical/Historical Criticism

When using the Topical/Historical criticism, the analyst approaches the literature in relation to the time period when the work was either written or when the story took place. The criticism helps to link the social world of the time period to the work. The criticism may also approach the author’s history and compare the work to that.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, women were oppressed and held under a glass ceiling in both their career goals and home life. The women were not held in the same respect as men were. John Steinbeck lived and wrote the story The Chrysanthemums in this time period. The ailments of women greatly affected the way John Steinbeck wrote this and other stories.

New Critical/Formalist

When using the New Critical/Formalist criticism, the analyst approaches the text, exploring and explaining it. The technical aspect of the work is under scrutiny in this type of criticism, and also how the author succeeds in using whatever is being analyzed.

John Steinbeck’s development of Elisa in the short story The Chrysanthemums is very clear and concise. In the beginning she is seen as a hard-working housewife, and nothing more. After she meets the peddler she is empowered, and seems more dignified and dominant in her world. However, when she sees her discarded chrysanthemums, she is reduced down to a sobbing, helpless woman. John Steinbeck makes each change in the characters behavior large and direct, allowing for full character development within a few pages.

Structuralist

When using the Stucturalist criticism, the analyst approaches the work and compares the patterns that appear in all other types of work. The characters in the story can be easily identified as either a protagonist or an antagonist. The criticism can be used to look at the character and his activities, and whether or not he was successful in his journeys. The criticism can be used to compare the similarities of the work to other works.

In The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck chooses to make the main character Elisa a passive protagonist who takes life as it is given to her. She makes no real attempt to escape the monotony of her housewife duties. In a similar circumstance, an active protagonist might stand up for herself and be rid of the dullness in her life. However, Elisa does not do so and therefore does not pass her test. She must as a result live out the rest of her life in oppression because of her lack of courage.

Feminist

When using the Feminist criticism, the analyst is trying to show how a woman in the story is dominated by a male or by a male supremacy in general. The work is approached by finding the fault against the woman character or entity and condemning the act of oppression.

As a simple housewife in the story The Chrysanthemums, Elisa Henry is neglected. Her talents remain unnoticed due to her gender. When she meets the peddler, she feels empowered and as though she knows that she can do anything that a man can. When she saw the chrysanthemums that she gave the peddler thrown away to the side of the road, she is broken down and is forced back into her life of tediousness. John Steinbeck draws attention away from her talent with flowers by breaking down her sturdy facade and replacing it with a feeble one.

Psychological/Psychoanalytic

When using the Psychological/Psychoanalytic criticism, the analyst approaches the reason behind the character’s actions. This approach finds the motive behind the action by analyzing the character’s circumstance and personality.

In the short story The Chrysanthemums, Elisa is subject to being submissive as a part of her lifestyle. When Elisa begins to feel powerful, she is all too easily shot down by seeing her discarded chrysanthemums. Had she truly believed in her mind that she was as capable as any man, such a sight might only enrage her – not distress her. Elisa’s only escape from oppression lies in her mind, if only she believed in her self and her abilities.

Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck wrote The Chrysanthemums in 1938. Steinbeck, as in many of his novels and short stories, depicts the life of poor, hard working people. In The Chrysanthemums, Steinbeck writes about a farmers wife living in California. The couple lives on a farm, as many individuals did in that time. Steinbeck describes the physical and mental hardships of families living off the land. In the short story, The Chrysanthemums, Elisa is constantly with held from life because she is a woman.

“On every side it (the valley) sat like a lid on the ountains and made of the great valley a closed pot. Under the lid was Salinas Valley, the home of Henry and Elisa Allen. Henry was a farmer who made a fair amount of money from his crops and stock. Elisa was Henrys wife; she had the hobby of taking care of her Chrysanthemums and the chore of being Henrys wife. In Elisas garden, the Chrysanthemums grew with the work of her hands and the care of her heart. She seems to enjoy her garden immensely, but actually was trapped in it. She was trapped, because she felt that the only thing she could do was tend her garden.

Henry tells Elisa that her flowers were very good last year and some of the yellow flowers were 10 inches across. Henry told Elisa, “I wish youd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. ” Elisa said, “Maybe I could do it, too. Ive a gift with things, all right. ” Henry changes the subject and starts talking about his livestock that he sold. Henry would not let her try her green thumb on the orchard, because of this, Elisa started to feel the pain of being a woman One day as Elisa was tending her garden, a wagon was passing on the road.

Elisa looked up expecting he wagon to pass, but it did not. The wagon pulled up the driveway. Painted on the side of the wagon in sloppy words was, “Pots, pans, knifes, sisors, lawn mores, Fixed”. A big, hairy man got out of the wagon and offered to fix her scissors for her. Elisa claimed she had nothing to be fixed. In hope of getting work, the man complimented her flower garden, and as he had planned, the two started talking. They talked about his being on the road. Elisa asked him about where he sleeps and where he lives. “Right in the wagon, maam.

Rain or shine Im dry as a cow in there. Elisa said, “It must be very nice. I wish a woman could do such things. ” The man replied, “It aint the right kind of life for a woman. ” This is one instance where Elisa feels trapped as a woman. Elisa asked, “How do you know? How can you tell? ” Elisa does not get an answer. He quickly changed the subject and started talking about her flowerbed. She told the man that the reason the Chrysanthemums were so big, is that her mother had planter hands that made plants grow and the hands were passed on to Elisa.

He stated that someone down the road needed some Chrysanthemums. She was happy to share her garden; she put a Chrysanthemum bulb into a pot and handed it to the fixall man. Elisa gave him special instructions for the care of the flowers. After this, Elisa decides to let him work, on a few aluminum saucepans. Elisa pays the man and he leaves. Now that the man was gone; Elisa ran to the house, tore off her soiled clothes, and took a hot shower. She scrubbed her body, hard and long, with a pumice stone. She needed to rid herself of the fix-all man.

Elisa got out of the shower and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked at her naked body, sucking in her stomach and pushing out her chest. Elisa then put on her nicest under garments. She also put on her newest, favorite dress; the symbol of her prettiness. Soon, Henry comes in the room and says, “Whywhy, Elisa you look so nice. ” Elisa replied, “Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by nice? ” Henry replied, “I dont know. I mean you look different, strong, and happy. ” The couple leaves the house to go out to eat. As they were driving down the road, they pass the fix all man.

She looked back and saw her flower bulbs and sands ying on the road. The man kept the flowerpot. Elisa turned to the window and wept bitterly. Elisa then asked Henry, “Henry can we have wine for dinner? ” Then she implied that she might want to go to the fights. Henry had never seen her act this way. Elisa turned up her coat collar so that Henry would not see her crying weaklylike an old woman. Elisa was a woman who had many conflicts. She was living in her flower garden. Everything that Elisa does not have is put into her garden. Her husband would not let her do any “mans” work on the farm.

The fixall man did not even acknowledge her want of being out on the road. He said it was a “mans” job. Elisa was repressed and had no way of expressing her feelings, except through the flowers in her garden. She wanted something new to make her feel like a woman. She scrubbed herself so deeply in the shower in hope of cleaning herself anything that was not lady like. Elisa had no where to turn. At the end of The Chrysanthemums, Elisa excepts herself as an old woman. Elisa gave up. She did not care anymore. Elisa will probably be living her life through the Chrysanthemums, until the day she dies.

John Steinbeck, a 20th century novelist

John Steinbeck, a 20th century novelist, was the recipient of numerous awards including the Nobel Prize. Steinbeck, a conservative that valued the old America, could produce pages of beauty followed by pages of sheer trash writing using specific characteristics, which his work is characterized by. John Steinbeck’s work is characterized by symbolism and allegory, which can be seen in his novels The Pearl, The Grapes ofWrath, and his short story “Flight. ” In his short story, “Flight,” John Steinbeck uses many examples of symbolism, which is one way you can characterize John Steinbecks’ work.

Symbolism can be a person, place, or thing used to portray something beyond itself. The most repeatedly used symbol in “Flight” is the color black. In literature many authors use the color black to represent death. In his short story, “Flight,” Steinbeck has numerous examples of color symbolism. A few examples are the black handle on the long blade, Pepe’s black hair, and the black jerky. Another example may be found when Pepe puts on his fathers black coat, which represents death. When Pepe puts on the coat he is literally covering himself with death. Another fine example is the trail in which Pepe travels.

Steinbeck describes the path as a well-worn black path. By traveling on this path he is in fact taking the road of death. Furthermore Pepe’s appearance also helps foreshadow the ending. Steinbeck describes him as having a black hat that covers his black thatched hair. Pepe is also described as being dark, lean and tall. Another example is Pepe’s shack. The shack is described as weathered and very old. It casts a rather large shadow to the Northeast. The darkness of the shadow symbolizes death in the home. As we can readily see, the authors use of black symbolism in the story tells us that the main character, Pepe, is impending death (pg. 5).

Another form of symbolism that Steinbeck utilizes, which is also in “Flight,” is nature symbolism. Throughout the story he uses nature to symbolize a variety of things. An example of nature symbolism is water, which is used to represent life. Some examples in the short story “Flight” are Pepes’ water bag that he hung over his horses’ shoulder, which began to leak, symbolizing Pepes’ life leaking away. Another example is when Pepe was traveling he started out close to the river and got further and further away as he traveled, symbolizing getting further away from life (pg. 225).

Direction is another symbol Steinbeck uses, which is in “Flight” as well. In “Flight” direction is used to symbolize positive and pejorative effects. North and East are generally “good” directions. Many people feel this came about when the early man saw the sun rise in the East. On the contrary, the directions South and West are generally “bad” directions. Basically this is because the sun sets in the West. The direction up, which is also the way to heaven is generally “good,” while down, the direction of hell, is considered to be “bad. ” An example of this form of symbolism can be found when Pepe is returning home.

Pepe looks at his “weathered little shack” and notices the shadow. The shadow is heading in the direction Northeast. Even though the directions North and east are “good,” the fact that the shadow is there turns them “bad. ” This means that evil is winning over goodness. So, whichever direction Pepe turns to he will fall into evil. Another fine example is when Pepe watches the sun set in the West. The sun, which is the bringer of all life, is moving towards evil. That means it will be dark out and Pepe’s death is soon to come. Steinbeck further uses this symbolism while describing the tops of the trees on the mountain.

The tops of the trees were wind-bitten and dead. This symbolizes that the further Pepe travels up the mountain the closer he is to his inevitable death. As shown above, direction is another very important aspect of symbolism. Direction is just another of the many ways John Steinbeck accomplishes his foreshadowing of the ending of his story (pg. 225). As we can clearly see, John Steinbeck has used many techniques and examples of symbolism to help portray the ending of the short story, “Flight. ” Some of these examples include colors, direction, and nature.

The color black, which is the universal symbol of death, is used to help foreshadow Pepe’s inevitable death. Direction is used frequently in the story to symbolize the direction that Pepe is heading; if he is heading towards good or evil. Nature, especially water, is another form of symbolism that Steinbeck utilizes. Water equals life. Therefore when Pepe moves further and further away from the river, he is actually moving closer to his death. Thus, it is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that Pepe was destined to die right from the beginning of the story.

Another example of symbolism in which is a very common symbolism in his novels is Christian symbolism. Christian symbolism is used a lot in his novel The Grapes of Wrath. The title itself is a Christian allusion, Suggesting the coming of the Lord, revealing that the story exists in Christian context, and indicating that we should expect to find some Christian meaning. The meaning of the final paragraph, were in the barn they come across a boy and a starving old man, too weak to eat the bread his son stole for him, is also clearly an example of Christian symbolism.

It resembles what we receive in memory of him (pg. 89). Allegory, which is more prevalent in the twentieth century, is another way in which Steinbecks’ work can be characterized. Allegory is a work of literature in which people, objects, and events stand for or transcend abstract qualities. With varying degrees of deftness, all of Steinbecks’ major novels juxtapose their biblical sources in an attempt to transcend them. The Pearl and The Grapes of Wrath, which are two of Steinbecks’ major novels, are both allegories. The Pearl is an allegory on the evil of worldly treasures.

The language in The Grapes of Wrath that the characters use is associated with Piedmont culture which is one thing that makes this novel an allegory (pg. 18-19). As you can see John Steinbeck is a great writer. He is great in his use of symbolism and allegory, which gives you a way to characterize his work. If you believe his work should be characterized in any other way you need to check out his novels The Pearl, The Grapes of Wrath, or his short “Flight”. So next time you pick up a book, pick up one of these for a great excitement.

Cannery Row: Short Summary

John Steinbeck is the author of several award winning books. before he became a writer he was a non-conformist, he was discharged from a New York newspaper for writing opinions instead of facts. He was an apprentice hod-carrier, an apprentice painter, a working chemist, caretaker of a Lake Tahoe estate, a surveyor in the Big Sur country, and fruit picker before he began writing. He studied science at Stanford University and This book was written in 1945.

This book is a based on true events. This book took place in Monterey. This book is about a real-life street in Monterey. This street is on of America’s most talked about streets. This is about the events that took place in that The book Cannery Row is about several people who live on Cannery Row. The first lady I will explain is Dora. She has flaming orange hair and always wears green evening dresses. Dora owns a place called the Bear Flag Restaurant. It is a whore house. Dora gives money to the Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Community Chest and Police Department, so she can keep her illegal business open.

She has a soft heart and gives the poor people of Cannery Row a meal or two, if they need it. Next there is an old Chinaman. Some think he is a God and some think he is death and comes to get the dead at night. All the people of Cannery Row are scared of him except a little 10 years old named Andy. Andy was there visiting family and didn’t know all the rumors of him. Andy would watch the old Chinaman come in and out of the water each night. One night he decided to approach the old man. The old Chinaman talked to the little boy for about two hours and then returned to the water.

No one ever heard what they talked about. There was something strange about him, he had one brown eye and one Then there is Mack and the boys. Mack is the main leader of this group. He is a drunk and lives in an old vacant building, he conned from the town grocer. Eddie is an understudy bartender. He fills in at the local bars when needed. Everytime he works he steals alcohol for “the boys”. He lives with Mack. Next is Hazel, who was named after his mother’s sister. He is also a poor drunk. Hazel helps the Doc of the town. He loves to help with the animals.

Guy is next, he is married but he left his wife to live with Mack, because he was tired of being tied down. He is a mechanic. Most of these guys like to sponge off of all the towns people. They are the town drunks and bums. Doc owns and operators the Western Biological Laboratory. He studies all types of animals. He is a big softy and he helps out Mack and the boys a lot. Mack and the boys tend to take advantage of Doc because he has a lot of money. Doc feels sorry for them so he usually helps them out. Sometimes Doc gives the boys jobs to do like collecting animals and he will pay them.

But Doc is very careful that the boys don’t outsmart him. There is a young boy named Frankie. He is only eleven and he was looking for work on Cannery Row, so Doc hired him. His family is very poor, and Frankie wanted to help out. Also he was very slow, so they didn’t want him in the schools. He became very interested in the work Doc did. So Frankie began helping Doc day after day. Soon Doc began loving the child and aloud him to live with him. Lee Chong owns the town grocery store. Mack and the boys are always trying too get free things from him. Mack and the boys borrow his truck when they help Doc. Lee is an old man with a big family.

All the towns people can charge things and he will let them Mack and the boys set out to get frogs for Doc. On the way to get the frogs many things happen along the way. The truck broke down and Guy tried to fix it but he need some parts. So he set out to get some. He never made it back because he was involved in a bar fight and was arrested. He was drunk and went to jail. So the rest of the boys had to The guys killed a chicken and they started a fire to cook it. The owner of the property came out after them. He yelled at them to fix his property and put the fire out or he would call the police. Then little puppies came out. Hazel feel inlove with them. One of the pups were hurt.

Hazel offered to help him. The owner came around and let the guys stay and fed them, while Hazel took care of the little pups. They began to tell the man what they were doing. Mack ended up finding out that the owner had a frog pond, and he offered to pay the boys to take the frogs away. He said the frogs keep him up at night. The guys collected the frogs and helped the man with the pups. When they were ready to go the man offered to give them a puppy and Hazel took one. The men found a lot of frogs for Doc. When they finally made it back to Doc’s place, Doc wasn’t very happy.

The boys were only suppose to be gone over night not a whole week. Doc had a lot of questions for the boys too. Doc still paid them for the frogs and was in shock that they brought back so many. Mac and the boys carried out what they set out to do and that was to give Doc a party. They wanted to do this because Doc had helped them all so much. Mack and the boys went and got the alcohol for Doc’s party from Lee Chong. Lee was very suprised they had money to pay for it. They had a successful party for Doc and he was very suprised and happy. Mack and the boys were very proud of themselves.

John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck is a post World War I piece written with a mixture of humor and sadness about the lives of the residents of Cannery Row, a street in Monterey California. The story opens in a messy grocery store run by a Chinese man named Lee Chong. The one room store is described like so “while not a model of neatness, was a miracle of supply… clothes, food, both fresh and canned, liquor, tobacco, fishing equipment, machinery, boats, cordage, caps, pork chops, slippers, and a silk kimono” and last but certainly not least whiskey, could all be purchased. All of the whiskeys had names like “Old” Tennessee and were at least four months old. Our casts of characters have nicknamed the cheapest whiskey “Old Tennis Shoe”. Lee Chong is a good man who has the respect of the town. He manages to be respected by the entire town, while most of the town was in his financial debt. Debt would rise for many people who shopped at Lee’s, because he would trust consumers “until further trust would be ridiculous”.

From this beginning comes a cast of characters long and detailed, making the book and the street come alive. Turning to the next page was not a chore but a leap into another person’s woes and prospers. We meet men like Horace Abbeville who’s summarized tale is one that begins with debt, which Horace pays off with a shack he owned that housed fishmeal. After Lee Chong agreed to this arrangement, Mr. Abbeville sauntered up the long trails to this shack and shot him self in the head, leaving his wife and children sad and confused. Lee had not pressured Horace for payment he had only suspended Horace’s credit. Lee felt badly about Horace’s suicide and always watched out for Horace’s family.

Lee’s new ownership of Horace’s shack leads us to the introduction of Mack and the boys. Mack twists Lee’s arm to allow them to stay in the fishmeal shack now called the Palace Flophouse and Grill. Mack and the boys are men who very well could go off and do something with themselves. Instead, Mack and the boys would sit around drinking Old Tennis Shoe, getting into trouble whenever possible. They steal, cheat, work as little as possible and drink too much yet somehow they are genuinely likable good guys. Mack and the boys try to throw a party for Doc, a man the town collectively loves. Doc runs the Western Biological Laboratories and is the most responsible resident of Cannery Row.

Mack and the boys know that one frog equals 5 cents at the Doc’ laboratory. By collecting frog and getting paid by the lab the boys will be able to fund their party for Doc. The boys go out and get a lot of frogs get some money and throw a huge party for the Doc. In my favorite couple of chapters the boys get Lee Chong’s beat up old Model T Ford and go out to the ocean and try to score around one thousand frogs.

To go on with the detail of these chapters would make my book report some one hundred pages longer then I intend so I will shorten it up as much as possible. The trip is successful yielding the boys one thousand frogs, however one of the group did end up in jail. The trip also yielded a gallon of the best oak barrel preserved whiskey they have ever laid their lips around, one bitch pointer puppy, one chicken (they hit it with the Model T), one bag of carrots that fell off of a truck, one bag of onions that didn’t, and a solid good time with a man named the captain and his bitch pointer dog and puppies. When they get back to Cannery Row Mack and the boys hustled a frog for food deal with Lee Chong and attempted to throw a party for the Doc.

They had whiskey, not the good stuff because they irresponsibly drank it all the night before the party. They had streamers, steaks and frogs galore. As the party starts and hobos start wandering in and having fun and the steaks start to get eaten and the mayhem begins, Doc is nowhere to be found. Doc returns home after the party is over to find that three hundred dollars in glass has been broken, the record players crystal needle demolished, a few records smashed and all the animals like snakes, and tons of mice are running free out the door to sweet freedom. Mack’s good natured idea of throwing a party for Doc turns out to be another one of Mack’s mistakes and the reason for the Doc to level blows into Mack’s drunken face when he arrives.

We meet others in Cannery Row as well. A conscientious pimp, bouncer, nurse for a brothel called the Bear Flag. Dora the owner of the Bear Flag her “girls”, a term obviously used liberally because some of them are older then Dora. A troubled artist who makes beautiful boats that don’t ever sail and artwork out of peanut shells. We meet a retarded or at least very depressed and eager to please boy named Frankie who loves the Doc. And finally a man who stands or balances on poles for sport and record. Many more people are in this story and there are many more bends in the road for all of them but my simple advice to you is to read Cannery Row. The story is difficult to describe because it is like random snapshots of the many different characters at different stages of their lives. John Steinbeck masterfully captures the lives of the people, animals and places of Cannery Row in less then two hundred pages.

John Steinbeck’s image for this novel is a very complex string of stories. Yet actual character development was nowhere to be found. For instance Lee Chong is the same person from beginning to end. No realizations or Oprah Winfrey soul changes in his life at all. He just simply runs a fine business and lets stories unfold in front of him. The development is not in the people but in the Row itself. Cannery Row is a place where people live and Steinbeck allows us to see how their lives work. Mack and the boys are a very significant part of the book.

We learn about Mack’s life and how it was filled with opportunities like making a success of a marriage or to have accomplished something with his life. Mack managed to let all of these opportunities pass him by. Even the simplest of goals like the party, are a disaster. Yet Mack’s future does not seem to hold much more promise than his past. We see the book in real time and different stories run through it chapter to chapter like a highway. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I loved the rambling of story line as well as the many different characters. Cannery Row came alive with this style of writing. I felt at the end of the book I saw as much as I possibly could see in Cannery Row. To see people who come from all walks of life and all different classes for the most part get along was very refreshing and interesting.

The Pearl of Cannery Row

A pearl is created when a tiny speck of intruding dust enters and irritates an oyster shell. The reaction of the oyster is to make a beautiful pearl out of the particle of dust. Some pearls are perfect and others are imperfect, but all are a unique and wondrous creation of nature. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck imitates nature’s process with Cannery Row as the oyster and Mack as the speck of dust. Steinbeck shows Mack as the irritant which causes Cannery Row to veer from a precarious course and make a change for the better. In the end Mack creates a wonderful “pearl” for Cannery Row the quality of unity and the reader learns that sometimes the best results come from seemingly meaningless occurrences.

Mack is in the least a large source of irritation and at the most worthless to the residents of Cannery Row. Steinbeck introduces him as “… the elder, leader, mentor and to a small extent, the exploiter of a little group of men who had in common no families, no money and no ambitions beyond food, drink and contentment” (9). His effect upon the town, while often anonymous, is clearly sensed: “A hardware store supplied a can of red paint not reluctantly because it never knew about it…” (12).

Mack appears when he needs something and disappears when pay-up time comes around. To Cannery Row, “Mack [and the boys] avoid the trap, walk around the poison, step over the noose while a generation of trapped, poisoned and trussed-up men scream at them and call them no-goods, come-to-bad-ends, blots-on-the-town, thieves, rascals, bums” (15). Because Mack does not fit society’s traditional standards of living, the town also assumes that his character does not measure up either. He isn’t seen for what he really is a man with a sweet soul who simply is not driven by worldly desires instead, people judge him against others and by their own expectations of a man.

Mack lacks ambition but not a good heart. His only intentions are for survival, never for the purpose of inflicting pain or problem on others: “In the world ruled by tigers with ulcers, rutted by strictured bulls, scavenged by blind jackals, Mack [and the boys] dine delicately with the tigers, fondle the frantic heifers, and wrap up the crumbs to feed the sea gulls of Cannery Row” (15). He calmly accepts what his life presents him with, making palaces out of shacks instead of trying to attain a higher position.

Mack’s good-natured side can be seen in his desire to do something nice for the friendly and dependable marine biologist Doc. For Cannery Row, the effect is for Mack to actually develop a goal throwing a party for Doc. As soon as this goal is realized, Mack goes to work. He manipulates everyone, including Doc himself, so his goal can be attained; from Lee Chong, the grocery store owner: “Will you let us take your old truck up to Carmel Valley for frogs for Docfor good old Doc?” (55) to the trusting captain who ends up willingly helping Mack: “You know, I’ve got a pond up by the house that’s so full of frogs, I can’t sleep nights . . . I’d be glad to get rid of them” (83), and back to Lee Chong again. Ironically, Mack could just as easily use his persuasive powers strictly for personal gain, but the thought never enters his mind.

We see the cultivation of the pearl taking place with the events leading up to the botched first party and with the disaster itself. Mack first stirs up the town in his campaign to acquire money and materials for the party. Everything is smooth until the irritation begins: Mack makes the mistake of saying “just a few sips won’t hurt” too many times: with the captain “Maybe a short one . . . wouldn’t it be easier to pour out some in a pitcher?” (92), in waiting for Doc: “They [Mack and the boys] had a couple more drinks, just to savor the plan” (121) and while decorating: “They [Mack and the boys] had finished the whiskey by now and they really felt in a party mood” (124).

Just as the speck of dust causes a domino effect when the oyster feels the irritation, Mack’s mistake causes a domino effect as well for the party itself and for Cannery Row. The deterioration of the plan starts with the alcohol, and then selfishness takes over when Mack and the boys become quickly addicted to trading frogs for goods at Lee Chong’s: “The poison of greed was already creeping into the innocent and laudable mercantile agreement” (119). This leads to an overabundance of decorations and unbridled merriment at Doc’s party.

Doc, finding himself left to pick up the pieces of the disaster, uncharacteristically loses control and flies into a rage: “Doc hit him [Mack] again, a cold calculating punch in the mouth” (130). While the aftermath directly affects the guilty: “Mack and the boys were under a cloud and they knew it and they knew they deserved it. They had become social outcasts. All their good intentions were forgotten now” (140), the negative repercussions are not limited to them. Around Cannery Row, the effect continues and a time of unhappy restlessness follows Dora must close the Bear Flag for longer than usual, Henri the painter is traumatized by a terrible vision, the Malloys fight, a storm attacks the coast and Darling, the heart and soul of the Palace Flophouse, gets sick. Not until Darling gets well, after Mack and the boys have strived to help her, does the town have the ability to break the depression.

The final touches the beautiful and strong outer shells of the pearl are created when Mack and the boys once again introduce the concept of a party for Doc to the town: “They [Mack and the boys] sat in the Palace Flophouse and they were the stone dropped in the pool, the impulse which sent ripples to all of Cannery Row and beyond …” (166). Mack makes use of the lesson he learned from the earlier fiasco and really concentrates on the party, forgetting about what brief benefits could be attained on the way.

This time around, the entire town gets involved: “Now a gladness began to penetrate into the Row and spread out from there” (157), and immediately feels the positive effects. Everyone benefits from their involvement in the conspiracy: Dora and the girls of the bordello have a project in creating the blanket; the Malloys concentrate on finding gifts for Doc and no longer fight; Lee Chong gets in the spirit by helping with decorations; and Mack and the boys once again have a goal.

The pearl the unity of Cannery Row is revealed with the presentation of the party. For once, the citizens of Cannery Row have worked together towards a common goal and are successful: “You could hear the roar of the party from end to end on Cannery Row” (189). While every night and day thereafter cannot be as unified as the night of the party, Cannery Row has been changed for the better: “Certainly all of Cannery Row and probably all of Monterey felt that a change had come” (156). Strong bonds have been formed and happy memories have been created among the townspeople. A new level of understanding exists work acquaintances and neighbors have become more significant they have become friends.

Mack never intended to be the speck of dust in the oyster. He innocently followed his heart, which is what lead him to be the irritant and the changing factor for Cannery Row. Directly and indirectly, from his actions, the pearl is created. No one could have speculated that Mack, the seemingly invaluable transient, would bring unity and happiness to Cannery Row. Steinbeck clearly shows the reader a parallel: just as nature transforms tiny specks of dust into pearls, insignificant matters and people are cultivated into miracles.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck: Review

John Steinbeck is a writer who experienced the pain of the Second World War and though it is true that many who have read his work have negatively criticized his writing, many have also embraced his work in acceptance and appreciation. Yet, showing his true colours, Steinbeck writes about his childhood in Monterey in a classical book called Cannery Row.

This is perhaps the most humorous of all which he has written, especially since it was written during the war when most people believed authors should have been writing about the hellfire around them. The opening line of Cannery Row sums up his intent of the entire novel in a sentence, the style of his writing deceptively simple. Steinbeck writes with purpose about the loneliness that never leaves and the values of common man, and in his book significant insights about life are presented to the reader.

In the first line of the Cannery Row, Steinbeck spells out what he would be telling in his tale of life, mapping out his artistic terrain. “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” (5) The second and third nouns, “…a stink, a grating noise…” acknowledge the physical attributes of Monterey. When the Monterey plants were in operation, the fumes were so noxious that in 1936 the mayor of Pacific Grove told the city attorney to sue Monterey (5): “…a poem…a nostalgia, a dream.” Susan Shillinglaw, in an introduction to a copy of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, states an interpretation of the meaning of the book, summarized to combine the real and the imagined:

In this first sentence seven nouns flow from art to life to art, just as the rest of that introductory chapter enumerates[1] the locations, activities, and persons of the Row and then subsides into the metaphor that contains them, the tide pool; just as the early chapters lean in to peer closely at inhabitants of the Row and the later ones draw back to capture the shimmering whole in the parties, and in the last chapter, in the art of poetry. (vii- xxvii)

Steinbeck invites “an expansion of the physical events” with his first sentence, the line a key that opens the door to his novel. (Swisher, The Parable of the Pearl 100)

John Steinbeck’s style of writing is illusively simple yet so deeply intricate. Each simile and each metaphor is so vividly weaved with imagery it is difficult to not picture it. A hilarious image of a simile is Steinbeck’s description of Lee Chong as he takes his post behind the cigar counter in his grocery store. “His fat delicate hands rested on the glass, the fingers moving like small restless sausages.” (10) Another simile describes Doc the morning after his second successful party. “Doc awakened very slowly and clumsily like a fat man getting out of a swimming pool.” (184) Being a scientist, specifically a marine biologist, Steinbeck brings out his love for life in Cannery Row with imagery. The descriptive and realistic narrative of Steinbeck’s text appeals to the reader, bringing them out of their world and into Steinbeck’s world. (31):

Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding animals. Crabs rush from frond to frond of the waving algae. Starfish squat over mussels and limpets, attach their million little suckers and then slowly life with incredible power until the prey is broken form the rock. And then the starfish stomach comes out and envelops its food. Orange and black speckled and fluted nudibrancs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers.

Proving his simply complicated writing, Steinbeck includes metaphors like the one at the beginning of his second chapter that summarizes the meaning of his book in metaphorical terms. “The Thing becomes the Word and back to Thing again, but warped and woven into a fantastic pattern. The Word sucks up Cannery Row, digests it and spews it out, and the Row has taken the shimmer of the green world and the sky- reflecting seas.” Cannery Row contains a lengthy metaphorical parable in a charming chapter about a gopher who builds a beautiful home on a perfect site, where there are no cats and no traps and perfect drainage, but where he waits in vain for a mate to appear, and so finally has to leave his paradise and go seek a mate where there are traps and other dangers, for that is what females want.

Edward F. Rickets was a marine biologist and Steinbeck’s closest friend for 18 years until he died in 1948. Steinbeck looked up to him and his work. He was “different from anyone and yet so like that everyone found himself in Ed.” He was a man whose “mind had no horizons. He was interested in everything…never moralized in any way.” (Shillinglaw, vii-xxvii) Ricketts fits the part of Doc in Cannery Row, known by everyone, liked by everyone. As he originally assumed Doc’s place, Steinbeck essentially made Ricketts the narrator of his novel, so that the reader sees as Steinbeck sees as Ricketts sees. Steinbeck makes his home world renown, weaving “strands of Steinbeck’s non- teleological acceptance of what ‘is,’ his ecological vision, and his own memories of a street and the people who made it home. Steinbeck’s art gave this street its form, its identity, and a name that stuck: In 1957 the city of Monterey changed the name of Ocean View Drive to Cannery Row.” (Shillinglaw, Introduction vii-xxvii)

When Steinbeck wrote Cannery Row, he wrote it for the soldiers who asked him to write about something other than the dreary war:

The cannery whistles scream and all over the town men and women scramble into their clothes and come running down to the Row to go work. They come running to clean and cut and pack and cook and can the fish. The canneries rumble and rattle and squeak until the last fish is cleaned and cut and cooked and canned and then the whistles scream again and the dripping, smelly, tire wops and Chinamen and Polasks, men and women straggle out and drop their ways up the hill into the town and Cannery Row becomes itself again-quiet and magical. (Steinbeck, Cannery Row 5-6)

Steinbeck wrote the book to show the world his life. The last year of World War Two was the year Cannery Row was published and was the peak of Monterey’s canning factories when 237,00 tons of sardines were processed. In 1946, the number decreased to 142,000 tons and, in 1947, it dropped to 31,000 tons of processed sardines, an 87 per cent decline in two seasons. All sardine factories eventually closed down, the last one closing in 1973 after canning squid for a number of years. This was a big part of living near the Monterey Bay, but Steinbeck wrote not to tell of the famous canneries or the people who worked in them.

Cannery Row is entirely based on the life of the townspeople after the canneries close and the workers go home for the day. “The ‘hour of pearl,’ he so often reminds us, is a ‘little era of the rest…when time stops and examines itself.’ ” (Shillinglaw, Introduction vii-xxvii) It’s about the life of the city ‘behind the scenes,’ beneath the fame; it’s about what makes it original and distinctive, setting it apart from the world’s busy life. Cannery Row is, using Steinbeck’s metaphor, a tide pool teeming with life after the ocean of commerce recedes. “And each cycle insists that place is defined by the interaction of inhabitants and their environment.” (Shillinglaw, Introduction vii-xxvii)

The reader peers into Steinbeck’s tide pool and finds Mack and the Boys, Doc, Dora Flood, Lee Chong, Henri (the dramatic artist), and most of all finds the interdependence subconsciously overtaking the town. Using the gopher parable in the last chapter, Steinbeck contrasts the books’ acceptance of life that is to what it was or what one wants life to be. Susan Shillinglaw writes in the introduction to a copy of Cannery Row, “Here the writer, like his scientist hero [Doc/Ricketts], scrutinizes what IS, not what might be. Cannery Row is Steinbeck’s purest non- judgmental, ‘non-teleological’ text.” (vii-xxvii) The reader must take the many fragments of Cannery Row and piece them together so to find an artistically bound whole of life.

A key component to Cannery Row that makes known to the reader that it is a reality is the loneliness that hovers over the Row. Cannery Row is the story of a “group of self-determined social outcasts-‘the boys,’ they are called–…inhabiting a deserted house which serves as office and binder of their fellowship.” Mack and the Boys try to throw a surprise party for Doc and his kindness to them but end up destroying Doc’s house while they await his return, pulling a black gloom rumours that have become of the incident over them, the intent of their actions totally disregarded. Charles Walcutt comments in an essay, “Their irresponsible doings are presented farcically and with gusto.” (Swisher, Cannery Row-A Farce 46-47)

Mack and the boys live extremely opposite form Doc, with his ‘classical’ music and his scientific research, yet invariably find themselves simultaneously closer to him than to anyone else they know. Yet Doc balances their irresponsibility with understanding. He digs deeper, always aware of but not looking at the superficial appearance of others, perceptive of the connections of life in Cannery Row. He listens to Mack’s admission of failure and links with Frankie, a shy boy unwanted because of his clumsiness and dirtiness. He is a lonely man with no wife or children, yet he befriends everyone.

Of the forty-five characters addressed in the novel, three, almost four characters have committed suicide. One very apparent incident occurs when the watchman of Dora’s Bear Flag Restaurant tries to join the jubilant group of Mack and the boys, wishing to be noticed, but was rejected and thus self-assured of his loneliness and his uselessness, and killed himself in the Greek cook’s kitchen. Another was the Josh Billings tale was the first contemplated of the Monterey stories that reveals Steinbeck’s sense of rejection in Monterey. Cannery Row was developed since 1939, seriously written in 1944 during World War II, and was completed mostly by Steinbeck’s own loneliness and longing for his new wife while overseas in Europe on assignment as a war correspondent-a journalist reporting news from a war zone.

Jackson Benson, Steinbeck’s biographer, suggested that Cannery Row was Steinbeck’s ‘war novel’, but largely because of the omission of life’s reality. Steinbeck suppresses the war. He writes of his self-loss, his California home, his sustaining friend Ricketts, and of “certainty in a meaningful world.” (Shillinglaw, Introduction vii-xxvii) With all the action-adventure fragments of the lives in Cannery Row, the book is also a sombre one, carrying the energies of Steinbeck’s war experience. Deliberately veiled in meaning is the visionary mode: the Chinaman’s eyes open to a plain of desolation; Henri, the artist who dreamt of agonizing death; and “near the outer barrier between ocean and littoral[2]”, Doc peers queasily at the haunting beauty of a drowned girl. (Steinbeck, Cannery Row 105) Loneliness always finds its way through life, and Cannery Row was no exception.

John Steinbecks Portrayal of Alcoholics

John Steinbeck’s Portrayal of Alcoholics Lila L. Anastas has said of John Steinbeck: “Steinbeck the person wanted … to experience everything and then write about it. He was the versatile author of over thirty full-length books and short story collections, as well as plays, filmscripts, numerous articles, and volumes of letters. He received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1962. In my view, he is one of the top ten American novelists, not just because he was a great storyteller but because he dealt with important concepts and universal themes” (150).

Steinbeck’s reputation as both a person and a writer has een considered on the negative side of perfection. Considered a very private person, not impressed by his own or others acquisition of wealth, he is rumored to have had a His was not a success story that followed the normal pattern for writers of his day and caliber. A few of his books were banned at the time of publication (including Grapes Of Wrath) because of their language and rebellious spirit. His depiction of certain components of society have been met with disbelief and anger.

However, Steinbeck is, without a doubt, one of the greatest writers of American fiction. Like most writers, he uses those he knows and studies, as well as his own personal experiences, to draw on to create realistic and memorable characters. Many writers use archetypes or draw from different aspects of themselves in order to give a character depth and meaning in context. John Steinbeck was known to draw his characters and settings from either mythical, archetypal and, or, personal “Later in life, Steinbeck wrote to a friend: “Long ago, I knew perhaps that mine was not a truly first-rate talent.

I had then two choices only–to throw it over or to use what I had to the best of my ability. I chose the second, and I have tried to keep it clean. ” … Steinbeck based many of the characters on his real-life Salinas neighbors (and embellished things as he saw fit). This did not sit well with the neighbors” (Anastas 153). He also used a lot of his own memories and experiences in his writing. “As a writer and a man, Steinbeck did have strikes against him. He never graduated from college.

He suffered through two failed marriages before finding bliss with his third wife, Elaine. Furthermore, he never achieved critical acclaim after his early work, despite the popularity of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. He suffered from the judgment of critics who believed his work should not be accepted as real art, and that Steinbeck lacked the fictive imagination of Hemingway or Faulkner” (Allison 245). His opinion of himself was rather low and demeaning.

He fit the profile of an alcoholic, even if he wasn’t truly limited by He grew up in Salinas and attended Stanford University. “Steinbeck, however, did not fit in with the Stanford scene and attended classes only sporadically. He preferred working as a hired hand in various ranches in Monterey County or working in a variety of other jobs, including one with the Big Sur highway project and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas. In 1925, Steinbeck left Stanford permanently and went to New York City to seek his fame and fortune as a writer.

He returned to California in a year. These were difficult times for the young writer, as he collected rejection slips and watched his early novels bomb” (Anastas 153). If he was to have had a problem with alcohol, this time in his life certainly reflects the If it is true that he was an alcoholic, it is not seen in his work ethics as they apply to writing – however, it ay be seen in his sporadic and time limited employment as a young man, before his writing career took off.

Where it could be seen in his writing is in the portrayal of some of his characters. The people who populate Steinbeck’s novels are portrayed as real within time and context and so must, surely, be somewhat modeled after people that were known to the author. It cannot be denied that his books almost always had a character that was closer to the darker aspects In Steinbeck’s most famous work, Grapes of Wrath, the character of Uncle John can be compared to the accepted view of Steinbeck.

Uncle John can be regarded as the black sheep of the Joad family. He was an eccentric loner, and a lonely guilt-ridden man. He is a man who has a history of sadness that follows him like a shadow he can no longer see as it lengthens in the view of others. Long ago, his young wife, who was pregnant, had told him one night that she had a stomach-ache, which he ignored to the extent that he suggested she take some medicine. She died that night of a burst appendix.

The pattern of Uncle John’s life alternates between periods of severe abstinence and brief binges, the evil side taking over when he’s drinking and the warm earted man who gives candy to children appearing in his sober moments. In many ways, Uncle John shows signs of a classic case of alcoholism: the cyclic nature of his bingeing and ‘going sober’; the self centered attitude that would not see that his wife was in real and mortal danger; and the self pitying stance that guilt was his by right and could only be assuaged by alcohol.

The fact that Steinbeck gave him his own name could be coincidence, or it could point to the fact that Steinbeck based Uncle John on those The Palace Flophouse Boys in Cannery Row are certainly ortrayed as drifters who care more for their next drink than their next shower and hot meal – although they are given a certain amount of character strength, they are mostly seen as vagabonds and idlers.

Theirs is the occupation of the drunk on the street, the man who chooses to be free within the bounds of his deviance. Danny Taylor, a character in Winter Of Our Discontent, is a man who has been destroyed by failure in his last year at school, and is now left with only the drunk’s sense of danger crowding in. He is a victim in the struggle for success within the American culture; a man who has fallen but is aware of the distance he must re-tread in order to get his life back.

At least one person – Margie – believes him to be a kind and decent person and this gives the reader Whether it is true or not that John Steinbeck had a problem with alcohol, it can be said that he fit some of the patterns of an alcoholic and that he portrayed the alcoholic in one of his novels in a realistic and understanding manner. Not all realism must come from personal experience, however, the patterns in his own life as well as his knowledge to portray the lifestyle and thinking of the alcoholic certainly lends validity to the rumor.

The American Novelist, John Steinbeck

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 denunciatory” 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 Steinbecks 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 details 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 Steinbecks characters are either good or bad. Steinbeck himself said “as with all retold tales that are in peoples hearts 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 Steinbecks portrayal was. With a quick glance at the history of Toms 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 the 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 Steinbecks 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.

Biography of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, a farming community with of about 2500 people. He was the third of four children and the only son of John Ernst and Olive Hamiton Steinbeck. His sisters Beth and Esther were much older than John and he felt closest to Mary, the youngest. He spent his childhood and adolescence in the Salinas Valley, which he later called “the salad bowl of the nation. ” John’s mother, Olive, was the daughter of Irish immigrants. She left her parents’ ranch to become a teacher. John remembered his mother as energetic and full of fun.

He called his father, in contrast, “a singularly silent man. ” Steinbeck’s father, also named John, worked as the treasurer of Monterey County. He had chosen a safe, practical course in life, in order to support his family. John enjoyed literature from an early age on. His mother read him the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the stories of King Arthur. John attended Salinas High School, an experience he generally disliked, but one bright spot in his high school carrer was his ninth grade English teacher, Miss Cupp.

She admired the compositions he wrote and encouraged him to continue with his writing. Throughout high school, John spent most of his free time writing stories in his room. John graduated from HS in 1919 and then went to Stanford University. John wanted to study to be a writer, but his mother wanted him to be something practical, like a lawyer. While attending Stanford University, John Steinbeck decided that a degree was of no use to a writer. Instead, he studied the things that interested him and would help him progress as a writer. He studied literature, history, and classical Greek.

He convinced university officials to let him learn human anatomy alongside the medical students. Dissecting cadavers would help him “know more about people”, he explained. Steinbeck’s creative writing teacher taught him to write stories that were “true. ” She didn’t mean the events in the story had to have actually happened, but instead the story and characters must reflect real human feelings and conflicts. During his college years, Steinbeck worked at a number of different jobs to help pay for his education. He worked at a sugar company and for many different farmers.

He worked along side Mexican, Japanese, and Fililpino men, all the time gathering material for his writings. He would even pay people to hear their stories. By 1925, Steinbeck had decided he had spent enough time in school. Steinbeck traveled by freighter to New York City,as all good writers did. Steinbeck worked as a brick layer in the construction of Madison Square Garden. John worked as a reporter for the New York American. He got fired because he couldn’t or wouldn’t report facts as he found them–only the poetry or pilosophy he saw in them.

New York was a cold, frightening place to him and Steinbeck, deeply discouraged, returned to California. Steinbeck took a job as a caretaker at a vacation home near Lake Tahoe. He was alone most of the time and became indulged in his writings. He finished writing his first novel in 1928. The book, title “Cup of Gold,” was a historical tale of the pirate Henry Morgan. When the owners of the vacation home found that a pine tree had crashed through their roof, he lost his job–but go one the next day in a trout hatchery. One day a woman named Carol Henning toured the hatchery.

Immediately, John was attracted to her. He took her out on a date before she returned to her home in San Francisco. After being fired from his job, Steinbeck promptly moved to San Francisco to be with Carol. “Cup of Gold” was published in 1929. Steinbeck would send his books off to friends to have them type them and correct spelling and punctuation. “Why should I bother? ” Steinbeck asked. “There are millions of people who are good stenographers but there are’t so many thousands who can make as nice sounds as I can. ” For the first time in his life he was able to look ahead with financial comfort.

The following year, John and Carol were married and moved to Monterey, California. Near the Steinbecks home there was a sardine cannery, called Cannery Row. One of the fishermen who worked there became a good friend of Steinbeck’s. Ed Ricketts was interested in biology and like John, saw beauty in all forms of life. Steinbeck and Ricketts went on boating excursions. Steinbeck wrote of these experiences in “The Sea of Cortez. ” His next book, titled “The Pastures of Heaven” was published in 1931. In 1933 Steinbeck’s mother Olive had a massive stroke that left her paralyzed and disoriented.

John and Carol took care of her until she died later that year. Throughout this hard time, Steinbeck continued his writings. He completed “The Long Valley,” “The Red Pony,” and “Tortilla Flat. ” Somehow Steinbeck lost the original manuscript of “The Red Pony” before it made it to the publisher. So he began the tedious task of rewriting the entire novel. He chose his words very carefully and they still lingered in his mind. When he later found the original manuscript and compared it to the new one, the two versions differed by only seven words.

Tortilla Flat” won an award for being the best novel written by a Californian in1935. John became very famous. He disliked his fame and didn’t even want his photograph taken. He wanted any publicity to be about his book, not about himself. “Good writing comes out of an absence of ego,” he believed. If he thought too much about his image, his work might suffer. John’s next book to be published was “In Dubious Battle. ” It told of strikes among Californian farm workers. In 1937, John Steinbeck published “Of Mice and Men,” a story of two migrant farm workers. It was made into a Broadway production and later into a motion picture.

During the next few years Steinbeck began gathering material for one of his greatests novels. For part of his research, John Steinbeck frequently visited camps of migrant workers. He put his heart and soul into “The Grapes of Wrath, ” published in 1939 He wrote of a family from Oklahoma moving to California during the Great Depression. “The Grapes of Wrath” won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1940. It was considered his best work. At this point in his life John was described as “of giant height, with fair hair and fair mustache, and eyes the blue of the Pacific on a sunny day, and a deep, quiet slow voice.

In 1943, John and Carol Steinbeck divorced. John soon married Gwyn Conger, a dancer and actress. While they were living in New York, Gwyn gave birth to their son, Thom and two years later, Steinbecks had another boy, John, whom his father nicknamed Catbird. John became a busy with family life. He got to know the butcher and the neighbors, and before long John felt at home in New York, a city that once scared him. In January of 1945 “Cannery Row” was published. It’s a short novel inspired by Ed Ricketts and his neighbors in Monterey who worked at the fish cannery.

The novel included an essay about John’s best friend titled “About Ed Ricketts. ” In May of 1948 John learned the terrible news that Ed Ricketts had been killed in an automobile accident. When Steinbeck returned from the funeral in California, he received another shock. Gwyn told him that she no longer loved him and wanted a divorce. John Steinbeck felt despair, but found joy in summer visits with his boys. John fell in love when he met Elaine Scott, a stage manager in New York. They were married in 1950 and lived in New York, so John could be close to his sons.

John then began working on his next novel. “East of Eden” was published in 1952. It’s set in the Salinas Valley at the time of World War I. The Steinbecks traveled to Somerset, England in 1959. John produced a modern version of the tales of King Arthur. John Steinbeck’s final novel was “The Winter of Our Discontent. ” It was set in a fictional New York village telling a story of a man who is dissatisfied with his life. None of these later works seem to match the work he did on “Grapes of Wrath. ” One morning in 1962 John and Elaine Steinbeck were eating breakfast and watching the morning news.

They were startled to hear the announcer say, “John Steinbeck has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. ” The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize each year, had elected Steinbeck ober all the other writers in the world. The prize honored not one of his books, but all of them. The Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 on the will of Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist who invented dynamite. In his will Nobel said that the interest from his $9 million estate be used to fund the annual prizes. Perhaps Alfred Nobel set up this prize to compensate for all the destruction that his dynamite was responsible for.

Each year a medallion and cash prize is awarded in different catagories including physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. The Prize is awarded to those who have made valuable contributions to the “good of humanity. ” The Nobel Prize was the greatest honor of John Steinbeck’s life. His acceptance speech concluded with the observation that “St. John the Apostle may well be paraphrased: In the end is the Word, and the Word is Man–the Word is with Man. ” After receiving the Prize, John began having heart problems and he was moved to his home in New York.

John Steinbeck died peacefully on December 20, 1968, with Elaine lying at his side. He was 66 years old. As John Steinbeck experienced life in Ameria he recorded his observation, his enjoyment of life, and his belief in human goodness. Several of his works are now considered classics. His books differ in content and in form, “Of Mice and Men” is similar to a play and “The Sea of Cortez” is a scientific account. But Steinbeck wrote all of his books with a particular goal in mind. As he explained, “My whole work drive as been aimed at making people understand each other. “

East of Eden John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in Californias Salinas Valley in 1902. He grew up there, about 25 miles from the Pacific coast and this was the setting for many of his books. Steinbeck went to Stanford University in San Francisco in 1919 to study literature. He left, however, in 1925 without a degree. After college he moved to New York where he worked as a journalists. His works include Cup of Gold (1929), The Pastures of Heaven (1932), To God Unknown (1933), The Long Valley (1938), The Tortilla Flat (1935), Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939), and The Forgotten Village (1941).

In East of Eden, Steinbeck revolves round the theme of good and evil many times calling upon the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Another book that dealt with a similar theme was Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff is much like Cathy in their ideas of revenge and hatred. Summary The book begins by describing Samuel and his family living in Salinas Valley. Samuel was a very creative man who invented many things. Even though any one of his inventions could have carried him to fortune, he remained a poor farmer because the fact was that even though he was a creative inventor, he was a bad business man.

Sam was known around his area to be wise and people came to im for advice. He had a wife and nine kids. After describing Samuel and his family, Steinbeck jumps to a family living on a farm in Connecticut. The father of the family, Cyrus Trask, was an army veteran. His wife died after his first child whom he named Adam. Cyrus married again and had another son, one year younger than Adam, named Charles. The boys grew up close to each other. On one of Cyrus birthdays, Adam gave his father a stray puppy while Charles gave him an expensive Swiss knife.

Cyrus never used the knife but was always played with the dog. Charles grew very bitter at Adam for this. Adam, at eighteen, was sent into the calvary by his father. 10 years later, Cyrus had died and Adam returned home to live with Charles. After discussing the Trask family, Steinbeck jumps again and moves to the Ames family. The Ames had one daughter who was very beautiful named Cathy. Through her beauty, she learned to manipulate people. Cathy made an elaborate plan to kill her parents and does so one day by locking them in the house while burning to down.

The townspeople believe Cathy to be death also. After burning her parents, Cathy left to work as a prostitute for Mr. Edwards. Mr. Edwards fell in ove with her but eventually found out about her past. He took Cathy to her old town to play a little psychological warfare, same as she had done to him. At Cathys old town he beat her nearly to death but left her on the ground bleeding. Cathy crawled to the Trask house. The police question her about her beating but she claimed remember nothing. Adam fell in love with her and married her, not knowing she was pregnant with Charles child.

Adam and Cathy move to Salinas Valley where they bought a large farm and got a Chinese housekeeper named Lee.. Adam needed to build a well for his farm and was introduced by some of he residents to Samuel Ames. Later, when Cathy was in labor, Samuel was sent for to deliver the baby which turned out to be fraternal twins, both boys. Soon after Cathy was well, she pulled a gun on Adam and shot him in the shoulder. She left to work in a whore house owned by a lady named Fay. After Adam was found wounded by Lee, the police questioned him but he said that he accidentally shot himself.

The police didnt believe him because he was in the Calvary for ten years. Eventually, they figured out through some help by Samuel and other neighbors that it was Cathy who tried to kill him. They found Cathy working n Fays whore house but decide not to tell Adam, who eventually found out anyway. Adam grew very depressed after Cathy left him. He neglected his children who was cared for by Lee. Samuel found out that the children were one year old and still not named so he went to visit Adam to knock some sense into him. At Adams house, Samuel, Lee and Adam begin talking about names and people in the Bible.

They start talking about the Story of Cain and Abel. Adam named his kids Caleb and Aaron. Caleb (who is known as Cal) and Aaron (who changed his name to Aron) grew up taught by Adam that their mother was dead. Cathy, after she went to the whore ouse, changed her name to Kate. Kate killed Fay buy giving her poisoned tea. Fay thought she died through food poisoning and willed everything to Kate. Kate then owned the whore house. Adam and his family (including Lee) moved to an apartment in the city. Adam fell in love with a girl named Abra and became very involved with the church.

Cal found out that his mother was alive and the owner of the whore house and visited her to see if it was true. Adam bought an ice company and lost much of his money in a venture to send cabbage from California to New York. Aron skipped a grade of high school and went to Stanford one year arly. Adam was so proud of him that he bought him a pocket watch. Cal felt sorry for his father who lost his money in the cabbage venture and decided to make it up to him by making money in the bean industry and giving the profit to his father. One thanksgiving, when Aron was visiting from Stanford, Cal presented his gift of $15,000 to his father.

Adam grew upset and rejected the money saying that the pride that Aron gave his was better than the money. Cal wept and took the money to his room where he burned it. Cal was bitter at Aron and decided to get revenge on him by taking Aron to see his mother. Aron was so shocked when he saw his mother working as a prostitute he joined the army telling his family later in a letter. Aron died in the military and Cal felt that he was guilty of murdering him. Adam was so distraught by Arons death that he went into shock and died. But just before he died, Cal asked for his forgiveness.

Adam only mutters “Timshel. ” Plot The plot was excellent. Everything in the story ran out from the nature of the characters. Nothing was too derived but ran smoothly from even to event. For example, Cathy evil nature brought her to killing her parents, attempting to make Mr.. Edwards go mad, attempting to kill Adam, and killing Fay. Adams gullible/innocent nature made him fall in love with the evil Cathy, and kept him from telling the police that it was Cathy that tried to kill him. Arons innocent/holy nature sent him into shock when he found out that his own mother was a prostitute.

There was a lot of conflict and tension, enough to keep me reading. The events are believable in that time period but could also be something that would happen today in Downtown LA. Also, it was very interesting to follow the references of Cain and Abel throughout the story. For example, Adams accepted ift of the puppy and Charles rejected gift of the knife, just like Abels accepted gift and Cains rejected one. The Charles beat his brother like Cain killed his (note the A in Abel and in Adam, and also the C in Charles and in Cain). The same thing happens in the following generation with Arons accepted gift and Cals rejected one.

Then Cal kills Aron (note again the A and the C). The ending was pretty good but I felt that Steinbeck took a shortcut by not really resolving anything but killing most of the main characters. However, his ending with Timshel got me wondering about our own sin and our own evil nature. Also, Cals nature was an interesting point for discussion on the nature or nurture question. Was Cal manipulative because of genes from Cathy? or was he manipulative by growing up jealous of Aron? Characters Steinbecks characters were all fully developed and could have made for an interesting story by themselves.

I felt that I really knew the Trask household including Adam, his kids, Cathy and Lee. I grew opinions of the characters and I saw myself in Lees place. Cathy was a freaky person. She had no conscious and was just a cold blooded killer. I cringed and her every description. Adam was a fool. He was too gullible falling in love with Cathy when everyone else saw that there was something wrong with her. I liked Samuel (more than cause hes me). He was a very nice person and went to help his neighbors. Like Lee said, he sees what is and not what he expects. Lee was another great character.

I thought it was interesting that he spoke like a Chinese immigrant when actually he was born in America and even went to college here. The way he took care of the kids went Adam was depressed was very honest and the way he searched after the true meaning of the story of Cain and Abel was amazing. All of Steinbecks characters brought strong emotions from me. Adam Trask: Son of Cyrus Trask and brother of Charles. He was an army veteran and married Cathy Ames who nearly killed him. Aron Trask: Son of Adam Trask. He was very devoted to the church and had a holiness around him.

Still, he lived in a fantasy world believing everything to be holy, even his mother. His fantasy world was shattered at his discovery of his mother in the whore house. Cal Trask: Son of Adam Trask and brother of Aron Trask. Cal had some of the manipulative nature of his mother but unlike her, he felt guilty went he hurt people, so much o that he asked his father for forgiveness from indirectly killing his brother. Cathy Ames: Freak. Killed both her parents, killed her close friend Fay, attempted to kill Adam her husband, and attempted to kill Mr..

Edwards. He had no sense of good. She had no conscience or guilt… until the end when he went to church just to see her son whom she abandoned many years ago. Samuel Hamilton: All around nice guy. He was the father of nine kids and had a creative mind. He knocked Adam out of his self-pity after Cathy left him. Lee: Adams Chinese housekeeper. This guy brought about most of the humor in the book from the way people treated him. People called him “Chink” or “Ching Chong” and talked to him as if he didn’t speak English when in fact he was fluent in it.

He raised Adams kids practically by himself for the first year. Setting The setting was very realistic. Probably because Steinbeck actually grew up in Salinas valley where much of this book takes place. But like I said before, the setting wasnt very important because much of the things that happened could have happened today in LA. Style I enjoyed Steinbecks style. Difficult words rarely came out and his sentences were always too the point. They were never too long or flowery which made for fast reading. Also, Steinbeck did a good job of bringing out the inner qualities of his characters.

His use of Timshel wasnt very clear but did cause a lot of thought. Theme Steinbecks theme was the most basic, rudimentary theme of all. A theme that was talked about since creation. Good and evil. His use of Cain and Abel and the word Timshel brought about ideas of sin. Cathy in this book could be seen as soaked with evil. No good. But good did seem to penetrate through her cold heart near the end of the book. Is man responsible for his actions or not? This was a question Lee pondered and pondered. He fought for the answer which was Timshel.

The correct translation was not thou must which is a command from God, or thou shalt which would imply that you didnt have to worry about sin, you would eventually conquer it, but it was thou mayest. You are responsible for your action. If you want to be good you can and if you want to be evil you can. Conclusion This small group of characters was a microcosm of the real world. There discussion of Cain and Abel was part of a much larger question, a yearning for the truth. It was a discussion of Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, truth and lie. This group of people represented good, the bad, and the gullible.

John Steinbeck: A Common Man’s Man

“I never wrote two books alike”, once said John Steinbeck (Shaw, 10). That may be true, but I think that he wrote many of his novels and short stories based on many of the same views. He often focused on social problems, like the haves verses the “have nots”, and made the reader want to encourage the underdog. Steinbeck’s back ground and concern for the common man made him one of the best writers for human rights. John Steinbeck was born in Salians, California and spent most of his life there or around Salians, because of that he often modeled his stories and the characters around the land he loved and the experiences he encountered.

He lived in Salians until 1919, when he left for Stanford University, he only enrolled in the courses that pleased him – literature, creative writing and majoring in Marine Biology. He left in 1925, without a degree. Even though he didn’t graduate his books showed the results of his five years spent there. His books display a considerable reading of the Greek and Roman historians, and the medieval and Renaissance fabalists and the biological sciences (Shaw 11). He then moved to New York and tried his hand as a construction worker and as a reporter for the American. Covici , xxxv).

Steinbeck then moved back to California and lived with his wife at Pacific Grove. In 1934, he wrote for the San Franciso News, he was assigned to write several articles about the 3,000 migrants flooded in at Kings County. The plight of the migrant workers motivated him to help and document their struggle. The money he earned from the newspaper allowed him to travel to their home and see why their reason for leaving and traveled to California with them, sharing in with their hardships (Steinbeck, 127).

Because John Steinbeck was able to travel with the Okies, he was able to accurately portray them and their struggles. Each book that he wrote had settings in the places where he has either lived or wanted to live. He presented the land as it was. The characters in his stories experienced floods, drought, and other natural disasters, while in the Salians Valley (Shaw, 5). What Steinbeck wrote was very factual and in depth. He exhibited his awareness of man and his surroundings, in his early books, before people ate, a pig had to be slaughtered, and often that and before they ate, it had to be cooked.

Also when a car broke down, the characters had to find parts, and fixed it themselves (Shaw, 13). Many people consider that John Steinbeck novels are records of social history. His books are the history of plain people and society as a whole, many of his books focused on the Great Depression, Social Prejudice, religion, the whore house, and the automobile (Rundell, 4). He may be considered as a Sentimentalist, because of his concerns for the common man, human values, for warmth and love and understanding.

The social relevance of his writhings reveals him as a reformer (Covici, xxii). In his novel The Pastures of Heaven, Steinbeck brings up the issues of Japanese Americans fitting into social groups, and in East of Eden, he examines the problems of intelligent and educated Chinese- Americans in the California setting. John Steinbeck only once seriously considers the problems of Negroes in Society. Crooks, the stable boy in Of Mice and Men, was an outcast and never destine to fit into the generally white society of ranching.

Not only did Steinbeck recognize the -problems of minorities and racial prejudice, he also mentioned class prejudice. The difference between the haves verses the ‘have nots was brought up in the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, usually the people who had any financial stability hated the Okies, who had none. Owners hated the Okies because they were soft and the Okies were strong, also the store keepers hated them because the Okies had no money to spend in their stores (Bowden, 12). The Grapes of Wrath presents these issues in the form of an epic and sums up the despair of the early 1930’s.

The Joads experience: love, brotherhood, integrity, class fear, power, violence, and suspension, the same as every other migrant. Their conflict was a national epic, instead of a personal one ( George et al. 1013). The parable of the tortoise crossing the road represents the eople of the 1930’s, he is beaten by the sun, knocked around, and struggles, but probably reaches his destination. In his other stories, he also uses characters and symbols to represent the migrants of the 1930’s, and often makes his symbolism obvious.

The story of the gophers in Cannery Row represents that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. When I read Cannery Row the chapter about the gopher came totally out of the blue, I did not think it belonged there, and made no sense, but after doing research about Steinbeck stories, The gopher parable did have its significance, not only in the story but as society s a whole (Bowden, 195). In The Red Pony the contrasting mountain ranges that Jody constantly question through out the book, symbolize hope and fear, youth and age, knowledge and savage mystery (Shaw, 13).

The creation, birth and death of the second pony, is one of Steinbeck’s more obvious symbolism. Some interpret this as a young mans coming to maturity by experiencing the mysteries of procreation, birth, and death, but it does not go that deep because through out the story Steinbeck continually refers to Jody as little racial prejudice, he also mentioned class prejudice. The difference between the haves verses he ‘have nots was boy Jody, maybe implying that Jody never did really mature.

The story was abrubtly ended like many of John Steinbeck’s stories. The Red Pony ends in no particular place and also in Grapes of Wrath the story of the Joads ends when their plight is at its lowest. Steinbeck leads the reader through the lives of his characters In conclusion, John Steinbeck with his concern for man and his environment, and his broad background has made him a respected author, and human rights activist. His books are as relevant to us today as they were sixty years ago, and are also important as documentation of social history.

John Steinbeck Biography

John Steinbeck was born in February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. Salinas was an agricultural valley in California. His father was the county treasurer and his mother was a schoolteacher. This is where his education began from a mother that encouraged him to read. The community was a comfortable environment for him to live in because of the encouragement of independence and initiative. His parents didn’t want him to be a writer. They wanted him to have a true profession as a lawyer. His early interest in reading led him through school, with his main interest in science.

At age 15 e decided to become a writer, influenced by an English teacher, and faintly remembered by schoolmates for spending so much time in his room writing. After graduating from high school, he went to Stanford University in 1920. While he was there for five he contributed to the school paper by writing poems and comics. He took courses in science and writing, but never received a degree. In 1925, when he left Stanford, he became a marine biologist. He moved to New York in 1925 to work as a reporter for a newspaper. Always being a non-conformist, he was fired from the newspaper for writing opinions instead of facts.

This started the many jobs he would be a part of in his lifetime. Some of these jobs include an apprentice carrier, an apprentice printer, a working chemist, caretaker of Lake Tahoe Estate, surveyor in Big Sur County, and a fruit picker. He also worked other more physically labored jobs, such as a rancher, road worker, deck hand, cotton picker, and bricklayer. While involved in these jobs, he made many close friends that he came to admire because of their “cant and hypocrisy” which he applauded and whom all of these people soon were characters in his novels. Many of these experiences were the “helpers” to his many novels.

His fruit picking and Great Depression led him to write The Grapes of Wrath, his best known and most ambitious of his works. Also, he wrote Of Mice and Men, which was formed from his job as a hired hand on the many farms he worked. Many things affected his writing of the time period of which he wrote. Things like the Great Depression, World War 2, and the Vietnam War are the major influences. World War 2 was when he was working for the federal government as a writer, so his works focused on greed and materialism in the beings of modern civilization, Cannery Row and The Wayward Bus are two good examples of this idea.

After World War 2, he wrote mainly of several outcasts. The Grapes of Wrath was an influential piece from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl that existed in California. It is about the migration of farm families, leaving their old towns to become “ghost A bit of inventions came into effect during this time period. Technology was changing the way that Americans lived and worked. The player piano was invented in 1905. Henry Ford Model T in 1908. Everyone has heard of the Titanic right? Well, it sunk in 1912. One of the most important things that has ever happened in history occurred in 1921.

It was the date of the first Miss America Pageant. The Great Depression began in 1928. The great Golden Gate Bridge was also completed in 1937. John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald seemed to divide America up into a new age or era. Fitzgerald seemed to work more with the rich, finding pity and terror in them. Steinbeck took to the growing of California, the Depression, John Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize award for his book The Grapes of Wrath in 1940. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize award in 1962. He was the sixth American to win the Nobel Prize for literature. His novel,

Tortilla Flat, received the California Commonwealth Club’s annual gold medal for the best novel by a California writer. It was adopted for the stage and sold to Hollywood. He focused somewhat on nature, with some “humor,” but seemed to have sympathy for “the oppressed, misfits, and the distressed. ” He wrote about conflicts between his feelings for nature and his sympathy for human beings. To be natural and not respectable, was in his fiction, the controlling force of the universe. He was best known for his basis on the American experience often with sympathetic focus on the poor, eccentric, or the dispossessed.

The Grapes of Wrath, which he wrote in 1939, was his best known and most famous work. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. This book consisted of a family that migrated from the Dust Bowl to California to finally experience death, disease, and starvation. This book, like many of his works, turned out to also be a famous movie. He was married 3 times. He fathered two boys to his second wife. Their names were John and Tom. John Steinbeck died on December 20, 1968 in New York City. I looked to see if he died of some kind of illness, but did not find anything. So I think he must have died of natural causes.

John Steinbeck: A Brief Biography

John Steinbeck lead a life filled with words, from his award winning novels to the hundreds letters he wrote to friends during his career. He was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902, and lived there for the first sixteen years of his life until he graduated from Salinas High School in 1918. He took classes at Stanford, but spent more of his college years working to pay tuition than then he spent in the classroom. 1924 brought his first publication, two short stories in the Standford Spectator, but in 1925 he left his schooling and went to New York for a time.

By 1926, he was back in California and his first book, Cup of Gold, was published the year the of great stock market crash, but had little success. In 1930, he married Carol Henning, and the two lived in Pacific Grove, CA for the next several years. These years were lean; Steinbeck was having trouble selling his work, even with the help of his literary agents, McIntosh and Otis. Often, selling a short story for 50$ or so was the difference between eating or not. In 1937, though, Steinbeck got his first taste of real success.

Now living in Los Gatos, California, he had four novels and a play published in just three years. He burst onto the literary scene with Of Mice and Men, and published the first three parts of The Red Pony the same year. The play of Of Mice and Men went on stage and won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award. The next year, he published The Long Valley and the last part of The Red Pony. His big project for the year, however, was working and researching a great novel, to be published in 1939 under the title The Grapes of Wrath. With this book, Steinbeck insured his future in the literary world.

The book was so controversial that Steinbeck had to worry about attempts on his life or reputation; even now, it (along with Of Mice and Men) often are found on lists of commonly banned books. It was so well thought of that it earned him a Pulitzer Prize. It was so influential that President Franklin D. Roosevlet met with Steinbeck personally after a letter to the President from Steinbeck about the German influence in Mexico. Steinbeck had been in Mexico working on a film, and throughout the rest of his life, motion pictures were a second medium for him.

The film of Of Mice and Men was released in 1939, and the film of The Grapes of Wrath came out the next year. The motion picture of the Grapes of Wrath was named one of the best movies of the past 100 years by the American Picture Association. Screen adaption of his work earned 29 Academy Award nominations and 4 Academy Awards. Steinbeck’s writing was characterized by several major factors. First, he often wrote about the poor, common people and often included social commentary into his works.

There were many layers of meaning in his works, and he used symbolism heavily. He tried to “tell things like they were” and didn’t censor out curse words or base talk for the ladies in the tea rooms. A lot of times when he wrote, he directed the fiction to one specific person, a friend or companion, to give it more focus. He published four more books in the next two years; however, his personal life was plagued with problems. He divorced his wife Carol in 1942 and married Gwyndolyn Conger the next year.

In 1943, he spent time as a war correspondent in Europe for the Herald Tribune, and the year 1944 brought the birth of his first son, Thom. By 1948 when he separated from Gwyndolyn, he would have another son John, two more films, six more books, and a King Haakon Liberty Cross to his name. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1948. 1950 brought him a new book, Burning Bright, and a new wife, Elaine Scott. He also began work on a book he claimed was something he had been practicing for since he started writing.

This book was East of Eden, and was published in 1952, the same year his film Viva Zapata! was released. By 1955, Steinbeck was doing well enough to buy a summer cottage in Long Island in addition to his ranch in California, a far cry from his days as a starving writer. The next few years brought just one book, but several jobs at newspaper writing. Steinbeck was slowing down at this point; instead of publishing two books every year as he had done when he was younger, he was publishing about one book every two years.

However, he had begun research on the King Arthur legends, and spent most of 1959 in England researching them. In 1961, he published what would be his last novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, but his career wasn’t over yet. In 1962, he won the Noble Prize for Literature. 1963 saw him in the U. S. S. R. as part of a cultural exchange trip. In 1966, just two years before his death, he spent five month in Asia as a correspondent for Newsday. John Steinbeck died December 20, 1968, in New York City.

During his life, Steinbeck published 19 novels, 8 nonfiction books, and three collections. He worked on 4 movies and plays. He wrote thousands of letters, some of which were published after his death by his wife in a book called Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. Hundreds of millions of words clacked off his typewriter or flowed from his pencil to his legal pad. Now, thirty years after his death, adults in search of a good read and school children in search of a good grade pull a Steinbeck work off the library shelf, to loose themselves in Steinbeck’s words and letters.

Home is People: The Changing Family Structure in The Grapes of Wrath The bond of a true family is not one of blood, but one of respect and joy in each other’s existence. ” -Richard Bach On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need for belongingness and love ranks only below the need for survival, making it one of our most basic needs (Weiten 267). Many people fill this need for affection by participating in a family unit. However, as the 20th century continues, the emphasis on family in America is decreasing. Divorce rates, single-parent households, and children born out of wedlock are all increasing.

Furthermore, instead of the network of aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and other relatives that was prevalent in early America, Americans today are more distant from their extended family. As sociologist David Elkind said in a 1996 interview with Educational Leadership, “Instead of togetherness, we have a new focus on autonomy. The individual becomes more important than the family” (4). This means that one of the basic needs of humanity, belongingness and love, is very likely going unfilled in many people.

As the traditional nuclear family declines, however, untraditional, non-nuclear families have risen. According to Dr. Mary Pipher: “In the 1990s a family can be a lesbian couple and their children from previous marriages, a fourteen-year-old and her baby in a city apartment, a gay man and his son, two adults recently married and their teenagers from other relationships, a grandmother with twin toddlers of a daughter who died of AIDS, a foster mother and a crack baby, a multigenerational family from an Asian culture, or unrelated people who are together because they love each other (80).

Even the Internet has become a source of family, with lonely people reaching out through news groups and mailing lists to people like them that they would otherwise never meet (Kelly). In Families in Flux, Amy Swerdolow and her co-authors point out that “families differ from society to society, and they have changed over time” (1). Today’s nuclear family with mom, dad, 2. 3 kids, and dog only came into being just after the Industrial Revolution (Swerdolow 15). This leads to the idea that perhaps the desengration of the nuclear family isn’t necessarily a negative things, but more of a retirement of a one way of life in favor of a new one.

Even if this is true, the current period of decline still spurns numerous problems and attempted solutions. The changing family isn’t a new issue. Over twenty years ago, Kurt Vonnegut presented the idea of the artificial family in his book Slapstick. President Wilbur Swain, the central character in the novel, inacts a plan to bring all people in America together by giving them artificial families based on randomly assigned middle names; the program reaps both positive and negative results.

Despite the many science fiction devices used in the book, the story shows Vonnegut’s deep concern for the family unit. After being asked what was happening to America in an interview, Vonnegut responded by saying, “We’re lonesome. We don’t have enough friends and relatives anymore” (qtd. in Reed and Leeds 116) Almost twenty years before Vonnegut started publishing, John Steinbeck began to explore the changes taking place in the family during the Great Depression in The Grapes of Wrath. Though the book has many layers and themes, one of the major one’s is the changing family.

In 1933, six years before publishing the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck wrote a letter to George Albee saying, “[Man] also arranges himself into larger units, which I have called the phalanx” (Life in Letters, 79). He cites religion, the MOB, and various war-time armies as examples of a phalanx, but surely the family unit falls into the category of larger, interconnected groups of people. In the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck explores the need for family and the changing family structure through the lens of a Great Depression era family, the Joads. That the Joad family mutates due to their trials is undoubtable.

What the Joads were like originally can only be imagined. By the beginning of the novel, the family has already lost its home and had to move in with Uncle John. However, the worse is yet to come. At John’s, the family is on familiar land, but almost immediately they leave their homeland and begin on the journey west. “Homelessness and exile are among the worst of conditions, alienation and estrangement, the feelings of great despair” (Mack 59). During their exile, the Joads rest temporary in both hospitable and harsh environments, but none of these places is home.

As Muley says in The Grapes of Wrath, “Place where folks live is them folks” (71). By losing their land and leaving behind their home and the past, the Joads are making the first step towards the disappearance of their old family. When Tom returns from his jail sentence, all of his family is living on John’s farm- Ma and Pa, Grampa and Granma, Al and Noah, Ruthie and Winifred. Rose of Sharon has married and brought Connie into the family unit, but marriage was long accepted to be a way of adding people to one’s family.

However, this unity isn’t to last long. Grampa was too connected to the old place and died in spirit the minute they took him off of it (199). His physical body died soon after, and Granma was only a few days behind. In addition to the death of the eldest generation, the Joads also lost family members when Noah and Connie ran off, despite Ma’s addimence for keeping the family together. And finally, at the end of the book, Tom himself leaves to protect the family. The Joads don’t just lose family members, however.

During their travels, they encounter people who gain the status of ‘honorary family,’ something almost unheard of before. The first one of these is Casy, the former preacher, who joins with the family for their journey west, and then sacrifices himself to save Tom from arrest. Later, the family joins with the Wilsons, a couple who are also heading west, after they assist with the burial of Grampa. However, perhaps the most significant bonds that are formed are not formed with the named characters who travel with the Joads, but with the strangers they meet on the way.

The fellow travelers who give the Joads advice and help them find work, the store clerk who took the dime out of his own pocket so Tom could have sugar in his coffee, and the men who helped dig the moat to stop the flood as Rose of Sharon was in labor all showed the Joads a degree of kindness usually reserved for kin, and the Joads returned this when Ma gave the starving children in Hooverville the leftover stew and Rose of Sharon offered her breast to the starving man at the end of the book. In addition to the physical and emotional shift in the family, there is a power shift.

Prior to their exile, the power in the family was held by the males, with Grampa as the symbolic head and Pa and Johnas the actual leaders. Who sit where in the truck and during family meetings reflects that (134-41). Ma doesn’t even speak during the initial meeting about the particulars of going to California. However, at the Weedpatch camp, it is Ma who decides it is time to leave and threatens Pa when he trys to question her. As Pa says, “Time was when a man said what we’d do. Seems like women is tellin’ now” (481). This change in gender roles is another change in the overall structure in the family.

Steinbeck emphasis that Joads are not alone in their changes through the interchapters, where he describes the journey of Everyman. In chapter one, each Everyman has his own house, his own woman, his own children, separate units though all very similar. However, after the fear of the initial flight, a change begins, “from ‘I’ to ‘we'” (206). The families begin to ban together and form their own society and units. “The twenty were one” (265). For the Joads, the main motivator towards this ‘we’ move is Ma, who also helps Casy and Tom to voice the shift.

As Michael G. Barry says in The Steinbeck Question, “Ma Joad deserves respect as the pillar of the family” (110). Right from the beginning, Ma knows what she thinks is important, and knows how to make the rest of the family listen. When the car broke down and there was talk of splitting up, she refused to go and threatened violence if anyone tried to make her leave (230). This wasn’t the only time she used the threat of violence to move the family. When it came time to leave the Weepatch camp, Pa threatened to beat her for being sassy when she told the family it was time to leave.

Ma responded by saying she would beat him right back (481). By the end of the novel, Ma no longer needed violence to assert her will. When the boxcars flooded at the end of the novel, Ma said it was time to move and received no argument at all (614). In addition to motivating the family to move, she motivated them towards the change. In the beginning, family was most important. However, in the final scene it was Ma who instigated the act of Rose of Sharon giving her breast to the starving man, symbolizing the sense of community, even with total strangers.

In addition to moving the rest of the family towards the ‘we,’ Ma also play a part in voicing the shift. At the start of the journey, she says that all they have is the “family unbroke” and she’s going to go “cat-wild…. if my own folks busts up” (231). Then, keeping the family together is the most important thing. However, when it comes time for Tom to leave to remove the risk of associating with him from the family, Ma seems to understand his words about people joining together and lets him go without tears (573).

When Ma was shopping for food and the clerk put his own dime in so that they could afford sugar, she says, “If you’re in trouble or hurt or need- go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help” (514). This trust and interreliance of the poor, or the Joads ‘own kind,’ show the sense of community among the migrant workers. At the end of the novel, she says, “Use’ ta be the fambly was fust. It ain’t so now. It’s anybody. Worse off we get, the more we got to do” (606). With this statement, Ma summarizes the basic shift of the novel- in the time of need, the family grows larger to include anyone who shares the need.

In The Grapes of Wrath, a point is made that “the folks” come first. However, by the end of the novel, the folks aren’t just members of the immediate family; they are people like Casy and the Wilsons, and even total strangers. By the end of the novel, the Joads have realized that the only way to survive is to join together, and have redefined family accordingly (Wyatt 66). Today, the problem of the changing family still exists, but Ma Joad’s “family of man” (Timmerman 141) idea has not come into being. However, modern America has continued John Steinbeck’s search for the answers to this complicated question.

In 1976, Kurt Vonnegut, another American write, though a quite different one than Steinbeck, published a book entitled Slapstick. According to Vonnegut and his main character Swain, the main problem with Americans is that they are lonely and don’t receive enough kindness and courtesy. As it is easier to be nicer to family members than strangers, by giving Americans large artificial families by assigning new middle names, such as “Dandelion-5,” will allow Americans to give and receive more kindness and courtesy, thus totally fulling the basic need for love and acceptance.

These families, once set up, “have directories and newsletters and reunions, and generally act like old-fashioned relatives- sometimes quarreling but more often helping each other out” (Allen 118). Problems come out of this, of course, but for the most part, the wild scheme solves many of the problems of the decinigrated American family. However, randomly assigning every person in the U. S. a new middle name is not a practical idea. On a day by day basis, those seeking the love and acceptance of family have to find other solutions. One answer was inspired by Vonnegut’s book.

Dustin Kelly set up a web page that assigns new middle names, like the ones in Slapstick, to visitors. Once the visitors are part of a family, they are subscribed to an e-mailing list, where they have discussions with their other family members. Members of these artificial families have even helped each other with research papers and finding work (Kelly). Even e-mailing lists that aren’t devoted to creating family often do so by accident. Especially support mailing lists, like those run for people who suffer depression, seem to form tight bonds between subscribers based on their common experience and problems (Morrow).

Close friends can seem like family members at time, too. The connection of common experience and situation, and the necessity of facing both trivial and serious problems together can lead to a feeling of kinship with any person. Of course, there isn’t a real replacement for actual blood family, and an increased intrest in geneology has helped many people to reconnect with their blood relatives (Davis). Families form through common experience, be it the common experience of growing up in the same house, reading the same books, attending the same social events and knowing the same people, or sharing a common suffering.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes Of Wrath explores how that family bond can motivate and assist people in need. Though the family structure changes over time, the need for family remains. Despite the odds, people will find people to help them fulfill that need. As Casy says, “A fella ain’t no good alone” (476). In a 1947 letter to his wife, Steinbeck said, “Home is people. ” As long as there are people, they will join together to form families, home.

Literary Criticism of John Steinbeck’s The Chysanthemums

To fully appreciate literature, we must look at it from every angle possible. There are many ways to criticize a piece of literature. Each way helps a reader to better understand the work in its own different way. I hope to outline and give examples of the many different ways that the short story The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck can be interpreted.

The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

One morning an energetic housewife named Elisa Henry is working busily in her garden, watching in secret interest as her husband sells cattle to another man. When a peddler drives up to her gate, she is intrigued by the peddlers lifestyle. She talks to him and he mentions chrysanthemums, and she eagerly gives him a few chrysanthemums in a bright new pot. She gives him some pots to fix and they talk about his life. When he goes on his way, she feels decidedly more powerful. She cleans and dresses herself for a date with her husband. When they are driving on the road she sees a spot that she knows must be her discarded chrysanthemum gift. She then resigns to being her old self and weeps like an old woman.

Moral/Intellectual Criticism

When using the Moral/Intellectual criticism, the analyst approaches the content and values of the story. The intent of the Moral/Intellectual approach is to find the underlying message and/or lesson that is in the story. The message or lesson that is found in the work can then be applied to either the main character or the reader.

In The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck intends to suggest that women are not equal to men in society. Elisa experiences this when she is not able to participate in male-oriented activities that her husband takes part in. Elisa, the woman, is thus a lesser person because of her gender. It leads me to believe that myself along with all other women may not be suitable for certain kinds of work.

Topical/Historical Criticism

When using the Topical/Historical criticism, the analyst approaches the literature in relation to the time period when the work was either written or when the story took place. The criticism helps to link the social world of the time period to the work. The criticism may also approach the authors history and compare the work to that.

In the 1930s and 1940s, women were oppressed and held under a glass ceiling in both their career goals and home life. The women were not held in the same respect as men were. John Steinbeck lived and wrote the story The Chrysanthemums in this time period. The ailments of women greatly affected the way John Steinbeck wrote this and other stories.

New Critical/Formalist

When using the New Critical/Formalist criticism, the analyst approaches the text, exploring and explaining it. The technical aspect of the work is under scrutiny in this type of criticism, and also how the author succeeds in using whatever is being analyzed.

John Steinbecks development of Elisa in the short story The Chrysanthemums is very clear and concise. In the beginning she is seen as a hard-working housewife, and nothing more. After she meets the peddler she is empowered, and seems more dignified and dominant in her world. However, when she sees her discarded chrysanthemums, she is reduced down to a sobbing, helpless woman. John Steinbeck makes each change in the characters behavior large and direct, allowing for full character development within a few pages.

Structuralist

When using the Stucturalist criticism, the analyst approaches the work and compares the patterns that appear in all other types of work. The characters in the story can be easily identified as either a protagonist or an antagonist. The criticism can be used to look at the character and his activities, and whether or not he was successful in his journeys. The criticism can be used to compare the similarities of the work to other works.

In The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck chooses to make the main character Elisa a passive protagonist who takes life as it is given to her. She makes no real attempt to escape the monotony of her housewife duties. In a similar circumstance, an active protagonist might stand up for herself and be rid of the dullness in her life. However, Elisa does not do so and therefore does not pass her test. She must as a result live out the rest of her life in oppression because of her lack of courage.

Feminist

When using the Feminist criticism, the analyst is trying to show how a woman in the story is dominated by a male or by a male supremacy in general. The work is approached by finding the fault against the woman character or entity and condemning the act of oppression.

As a simple housewife in the story The Chrysanthemums, Elisa Henry is neglected. Her talents remain unnoticed due to her gender. When she meets the peddler, she feels empowered and as though she knows that she can do anything that a man can. When she saw the chrysanthemums that she gave the peddler thrown away to the side of the road, she is broken down and is forced back into her life of tediousness. John Steinbeck draws attention away from her talent with flowers by breaking down her sturdy faade and replacing it with a feeble one.

Psychological/Psychoanalytic

When using the Psychological/Psychoanalytic criticism, the analyst approaches the reason behind the characters actions. This approach finds the motive behind the action by analyzing the characters circumstance and personality.

In the short story The Chrysanthemums, Elisa is subject to being submissive as a part of her lifestyle. When Elisa begins to feel powerful, she is all too easily shot down by seeing her discarded chrysanthemums. Had she truly believed in her mind that she was as capable as any man, such a sight might only enrage her not distress her. Elisas only escape from oppression lies in her mind, if only she believed in her self and her abilities.

Study Guide to The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck

Though most Americans are aware of the Great Depression of 1929, which may well be “the most serious problem facing our free enterprise economic system,”( ) few know of the many Americans who lost their homes, life savings and jobs. This paper briefly states the causes of the depression and summarizes the vast problems Americans faced during the eleven years of its span. This paper primarily focuses on what life was like for farmers during the time of the Depression, as portrayed in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and tells what the government did to end the Depression.

In the 1920’s, after World War 1, danger signals were pparent that a great Depression was coming. A major cause of the Depression was that the pay of workers did not increase at all. Because of this, they couldn’t afford manufactured goods. While the factories were still manufacturing goods, Americans weren’t able to afford them and the factories made no money (Drewry and O’connor 559). Another major cause related to farmers. Farmers weren’t doing to well because they were producing more crops and farm products than could be sold at high prices. Therefore, they made a very small profit.

This insufficient profit wouldn’t allow the farmers to purchase new machinery and ecause of this they couldn’t produce goods quick enough (Drewry and O’connor 559). A new plan was created called the installment plan. This plan was established because many Americans didn’t have enough money to buy goods and services that were needed or wanted. The installment plan stated that people could buy products on credit and make monthly payments. The one major problem with this idea was that people soon found out that they couldn’t afford to make the monthly payment(Drewry and O’connor 559).

In 1929 the stock market crashed. Many Americans purchased stocks because they were certain of the economy. People started selling their stocks at a fast pace; over sixteen million stocks were sold! Numerous stock prices dropped to fraction of their value. Banks lost money from the stock market and from Americans who couldn’t pay back loans. Many factories lost money and went out of business because of this great tragedy (Drewry and O’connor By the 1930’s, thirteen million workers lost their jobs which is 25 percent of all workers. The blacks and unskilled workers were always the first to be fired.

Farmers had no money and weren’t capable of paying their mortgages. Americans traveled throughout the country ooking for a place to work to support themselves and their family (Drewry and O’connor 560-561). John Steinbeck, born in 1902, grew up during the Depression near the fertile Salinas Valley and wrote many books of fiction based on his background and experiences during that time and area of the country. One of his great works would be the Grapes of Wrath In this book, Steinbeck describes the farmers plight during the Great Depression and drought.

When the rains failed to come, the grass began to disappear. As the farmers watched their plants turn brown and the dirt slowly turn to dust they began to fear what was to come. In the ater-cut gullies the earth dusted down in dry little streams. As the sharp sun struck day after day, the leaves of the young corn became less stiff and erect; then it was June and the sun shone more fiercely. The brown lines on the corn leaves widened and moved in on the central ribs. The weeds frayed and edged back toward their roots. The air was thin and the sky more pale; and every day the earth paled. (qtd. Steinbeck 2-3).

The farmers worst fears were realized when their corn and other crops began to die. The dust became so bad they had to cover their mouths with handkerchiefs so they could breath (Steinbeck 3- When the rought hit the Great Plains and the soil turned to dust, many farmers moved to California because they could no longer farm their land(Drewry and O’Connor 561). The drought began to affect other parts of the country. In 1930, Virginia’s belt of fertile land dried up. Ponds, streams, and springs all dried up and the great Mississippi River water level sank lower than ever recorded. Small farmers every-where began to feel the drought.

Their small gardens were ruined and their corn crop was cut almost down to nothing. The hay and grass needed to feed their livestock was no longer available. They now faced a major roblem -how to feed their livestock. The silos were rapidly emptying and the barns in many cases were empty. The farmers were terrified that the government feed loans wouldn’t be available to keep the livestock from dying. In many cases, the Red Cross was making allowances for feed to keep alive livestock (Meltzer 121). The small farmers of fruit trees and vegetable plants depended on others who ran canneries to bottle and can their produce.

The people they depended upon were the same people that hired scientists to experiment on the fruits and vegetables to come up with better tasting and yielding produce. Thus the small farmers ere dependent on these same rich landowners for almost everything. They couldn’t harvest their produce on their own so they sold it to the rich landowners and thus made very little money on their produce (Steinbeck 444-447). The farmers found themselves in debt caused by the purchase of land, tools, animals and other items bought on credit.

This credit was due to the bank and when the farmers found them- selves unable to repay the debts the bank took away everything they had – their land, homes, animals and equipment. When the banks took over, they went in with tractors and destroyed everything on the farms which ncluded their homes and barns. This is best por- trayed in Steinbeck’s description of how the tractors destroyed everything in its way.

“The iron guard bit into the house corner, crumbled the wall, and wrenched the little house from its foundation, crushed like a bug (50). In the little houses the tenant people sifted their belongings and the belongings of their father and of their grandfathers” (Steinbeck 111). This describes how after many generations of farming on their land these people had to gather their property and memories and then try to sell whatever they could. The farmers were so desperate for oney that they had to sell for literally pennies. Steinbeck describes the desperate conversation of a farmer to a persepective buyer “Well, take it-all junk-and give me five dollars.

You’re not buying only junk, you’re buying junked lives” (Steinbeck 112). The desperation for work and money became so bad that they were willing to work for as little as was offered just so they could have some sort of job and make any amount of money. Soon it was a fight for life or death (Steinbeck). In a desperate search for a job farmers moved themselves and their families all over the country. As people wandered he country looking for work they were unable to live in one place. Large numbers of homeless people led to Hoovervilles.

The farmers and their families had to build homes out of anything that they could acquire as Steinbeck describes “The south wall was made of three sheets of rusy corrugated iron, the east a square of moldy carpet tacked between two board, the north wall a strip of roofing paper and a strip of tattered canvas, and the west wall six pieces of gunny sacking”(Steinbeck 310-311). The homes were usually near water source so they could have water to drink from, cook and wash their clothing (Steinbeck 311). To cut down the number of people seeking jobs or needing help, the government decided to try to come up with some sort of relief.

Among other things, they limited immigration, returned hundreds of Mexicans living here,and sought other methods to help the farmers. Hoover’s Federal Farm Board urged farmers to plant less so that prices would go up but there was no encouragement to do so. From 1920 to 1932 farm production did drop 6 percent but prices fell ten times as much-by 63 percent. Farmers watched prices hit new lows-15 cents for corn, 5 cents for cotton and wool, hogs and sugar 3 cents, and beef 2. 5 cents(Meltzer 123). With farm prices so low, most farmers, living under the fear of their mortgages, knew that sooner or later they will lose everything.

In 1932 the farmers declared a holiday on selling. They picketed roads asking people to join the. They gave away free milk to the poor and unemployed rather then let it spoil because they refused to sell it. A thirty-day holiday on farm selling was begun August 8 and extended indefinitely(Meltzer 125). In December 1932, 250 farmers from twenty-six states gathered together for a Farmers National Relief Conference. They announced that they demand relief from creditors who threaten to sweep hem from their homes and land(Meltzer 126).

In May 1933, the Agricultural Ajustment Act was passed. The aim of this act was to raise the farm prices by growing less. The farmers were paid not to use all the land to plant crops. The money came from tax on millers, meat packers, and other food industries. In June of that same year the Farm Credit Act was passed. This act helped farmers get low interest loans. With this act, farmers wouldn’t lose their farms to the banks that held the mortgages. The farmers who lost their farms already would also receive low interest loans(Drewry and O’connor 569).

Elisa Allen, Confused

Like many short stories, John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” deceives most readers by appearing to be a simple short story. “The Chrysanthemums,” which only occupies about eight pages in textbooks, captures the emotional pain of a woman trying to live in the 1930’s. As critic Stanley Renner wrote, “’The Chrysanthemums’” shows “a strong capable woman kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfillment by the prevailing conception of a woman’s role in a world dominated by men” (Renner 306).

Elisa Allen, the only female in “The Chrysanthemums” displays her sexual frustrations throughout the short story by slipping in and out of masculine and feminine characteristics. “The Chrysanthemums” begins by describing Elisa’s surroundings. The fog covers the valley like “a closed pot” (Steinbeck 220), which symbolizes Elisa’s isolation from the world. Because the Allen’s live away from town, Elisa rarely encounters other people besides her husband, Henry Allen.

The work “on Henry Allen’s foothill ranch,” (220) as it is described, is scarce, leaving Elisa to work in her garden. Wearing “a man’s black hat, . clod-hopper shoes,” and “heavy leather gloves,” Elisa’s appearance begins as very masculine (220). This masculine vision of Elisa is the first sign she is sexually frustrated.

Elisa continuously glances at her husband, who is speaking with two men, almost adoringly. When first reading this image, the reader may pass it off as useless information, but after studying Elisa’s character, it is evident Elisa is envious of the “male” meeting. She asks her husband, curiously who the men were, and he answers her as short as possible. Henry avoids speaking about masculine “business” with Elisa for too ong.

For instance, when Henry comments about Elisa’s chrysanthemums, he first uses the word “strong” which implies masculinity. Elisa then speaks about how she would be good at working in the orchards. Henry apparently feels Elisa has spoken too much about masculine subjects because he resorts back to calling the chrysanthemums simply “flowers” (221). This first scene between husband and wife sets the tone of the entire story. Elisa’s gestures and actions change as different words and topics are mentioned to her. She feel’s unimportant and inferior as a woman and strong enough to be a man.

Soon after Henry leaves to finish he work, the tinker is introduced into the story. Here is where Elisa’s sexuality is tested. Elisa’s first reaction to the tinker is similar to that of a man’s, “for she resists giving him work” (Marcus 56). She show strong qualities as she tells the tinker she as no work for him. The tinker begins to weaken Elisa, though, and eventually breaks her strong stance by using her pride and joy – her chrysanthemums. The tinker captures the beauty of the chrysanthemums in a poetic, feminine nature. He describes them as a “quick puff of colored smoke,” which appeals to Elisa’s feminine side.

Suddenly, Elisa begins to unveil her womanliness. She tears off her hat and shakes out her “dark pretty hair” (Steinbeck 224). By being interested in Elisa’s feminine flowers, the tinker makes Elisa comfortable with her sexuality. Allowing her feminine nature to appear, Elisa becomes emotional vulnerable during the “business” transaction involving her chrysanthemums. This is feminine nature because men tend to be unemotional during business related activities (Sweet 213). After the tinker leaves, Elisa finally appears content with her sexuality. As she gets ready for her outing with Henry, Elisa shows complete femininity.

She scrubs her body until her skin turns red, as if she is rinsing away the masculine way about her. Elisa then dries herself off, and studies her body in the mirror. She has become comfortable with being a woman just by receiving attention from a male who is interested in her “life. ” After studying herself, Elisa applies her makeup and puts on her newest under-clothing. Henry then comes home and they leave to go to town. As the Allen’s are on their way to town, Elisa spots a dark speck in the road. She knows this speck is her prize chrysanthemums. As they pass the chrysanthemums lying in the road, Elisa cannot bear to look.

The tinker appears in the road next. For this situation, Elisa has to turn her entire body so she does not have to face the tinker. This is the lowest point for Elisa’s sexuality. She retreats back to her weak, unconfident, feminine nature for the final time. She is not strong enough to face the truth, so instead she avoids the scenario. Elisa attempts to capture her strength again after they pass the tinker, but her attempt fails. She, without warning, brings up the fights to Henry. As she speaks vividly about the fights, Henry crushes her attempt to regain her strength.

I don’t think you’d like it,” Henry says to Elisa (227). After this final unsuccessful attempt to become content with her sexuality, Elisa relaxes “limply in the seat” and cries “weakly” at the truth that she will always be reminded that she is a “weak” woman. Throughout “The Chrysanthemums,” Elisa Allen changes her actions from masculine to feminine and from feminine to masculine. Elisa Allen depicts the life of a woman trying to gain meaning in her boring life during the 1930’s. Her continuous transformation of masculine and feminine characteristics shows how difficult life was for woman in the 1930’s.

Grapes of Wrath: Biblica comparison

Many novels written contain parallels to the Bible. This couldnt be truer in the case John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck alludes to Biblical characters and events with the use of Rose of Sharon, Jim Casy, and also the Joads journey to California. There are other events in the book that parallel the Bible, although the portrayal of Rose of Sharon and Jim Casy are the most obvious. The novel is broken into 3 different parts, the time spent in Oklahoma, the journey on the road, and the time spent in California.

Each section is closely related to the three stages of the Biblical Exodus: the Israelites’ time in bondage when God sent plagues to free them (chapters 1-11), the forty years of wandering in the desert (chapters 12-18), and the arrival in Canaan, the Promised Land (chapters 19-30). The plagues sent by God are paralleled by the drought in Oklahoma, the Egyptian oppressors by the bank officials, and the hostile Canaanites by the Californians (Monkeynotes , The Grapes… ). Rose of Sharon is a character that is most directly related to the Bible.

Her name in found in the Song of Solomon, I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys (Ganticles, 7:7). Most of Rose of Sharons parallels to the Bible take place in the last chapter of the novel. After the birth of her stillborn baby she nourishes a starving man with her milk. This is symbolic of the giving of her body, much like Jesus did at the Last Supper, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you (Luke 22: 20). Also when Uncle John puts Rose of Sharons stillborn child in an apple crate and floats it downstream, Go down and tell em (Steinbeck, 571-72), it alludes to the journey that baby Moses made.

The Joad family is made up of 12 people, including Connie, and Casy as the 13th person in the journey. This can be seen as a reference to Jesus and his 12 disciples. Connie represents Judas, the traitor that turns against Jesus and the rest of his disciples. In chapter 20 Connie expresses his regret of taking the journey to California to Rose of Sharon and eventually leaves, If Id knowed it would be like this I wouldn of came (Steinbeck, 343). Jim Casy has to be one of the most obvious references to the Bible.

His character is meant to parallel Jesus. They both have the same initials, J. C. , and Casy prided himself on finding out what was wrong and right just as Jesus did with preaching the difference between good and evil. In chapter 20 Casy gives himself up and gets arrested to save Tom. This action portrays Casy as a symbol of Christ. While in prison he finds his calling as a voice for the migrant farm workers. He is ultimately crucified for his actions in chapter 26. Casy says to his murders You dont know what youre a-doin! (Steinbeck, 527) which parallels Jesus words when he is being crucified, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do (Luke, 23:34).

Shortly after Casys death Tom decides to take up Casys cause of improving living conditions for the migrant farm workers, Wherever theys a fight so hungry people can eat, Ill be there. Wherever theys a cop beatin up a guy, Ill be there (Steinbeck, 572). This is much like Jesus disciples fulfilling his teachings ever after his death. Many of the themes and ideas of Steinbecks novel The Grapes of Wrath are Biblically inspired. He is able to allude to Biblical characters and events through Rose of Sharon, Jim Casy, and the familys journey to California.

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’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 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. “

John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden

Some of the most aspiring and influential authors show to be American novelists. American novelists brought about a new style of writing, which became very popular. John Steinbeck shows this style of writing in his novel, East of Eden. This makes Steinbeck one of the most significant American novelists in the twentieth century. East of Eden contains many parts, which add detail and interest to the novel. Many of Steinbecks novels and other works remain and continue to be nationally acclaimed. Many elements exist in East of Eden that bring about the meaning and concept of the novel.

The study of John Steinbeck and his book, East of Eden, will help the reader better understand the element of fiction and interpret the meaning of the work. John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. Between 1919 and 1925 Steinbeck was acknowledged as a special student at Stanford University. According to Peter Lisac, Variously employed as a had-carrier, fruit-picker, apprentice printer, laboratory assistant, caretaker, surveyor, reporter, writer, and foreign correspondent let him acquire knowledge in many areas. (1) Even in his youth, Steinbeck developed a love of the natural world and diverse cultures.

Steinbeck produced two children from his second wife, Elaine Scott. The early 1930s became a struggle for Steinbeck, both in his Long 2 attempts to improve his writing and his day-to-day existence. Yet, in the 1940s he turned his main interest from sociology and biology to individual ethics. Steinbeck was honored in 1962 with the Nobel Prize in Literature. He regarded East of Eden as the accumulation of his career. Steinbeck died of heart disease in New York on November 20, 1968. In addition to East of Eden, Steinbeck produced many other novels and several volumes of short fiction in his early career.

Most of Steinbecks novels and stories are set in the Salinas Valley in California where he spent most of his life. Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Grapes of Wrath which makes him best known. According to John Timmerman, Grapes of Wrath studies the problems migrant workers encountered while traveling from Oklahoma to California. (1) Steinbeck wrote eighteen books through his life span. Some of his novels included Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, The Red Pony, and many others. Of Mice and Men gained Steinbeck national recognition.

Saint Katy the Virgin, Nothing So Monstrous, The Long Valley, How Edith McGillcuddy, and The Crapshooter are Steinbecks volumes of short stories. The books main theme of good versus evil gets tangled up with Steinbecks account of his material family, the Hamiltons. Some of the writings about the Hamiltons do not seem to contribute to the story. According to Peter Lisca, The author switches back and forth from the Hamiltons to the fictional Trask family with no apparent purpose. (2) Steinbeck interjects himself into the Long 3 novel using I randomly, which confuses the readers.

Although the author relied on the good versus evil theme, he seems to struggle with the question of free will. Steinbeck does succeed with this theme in the character of Cal, who fights a moral inner battle. East of Eden contains a very basic and well-known theme of good and evil. Steinbecks story is based on the Cain and Abel and the word Timshel. Adam looked up with sick weariness. His lips parted and failed and tried again. Then his lungs filled. He expelled the air and his lips combed the rushing sigh. His whispered word seemed to hang in the air: Timshel!. 602; ch. 55) Cain and Abel being Cal and Aron bring about the theme with their own actions. In the novel, Cathy Ames is shown with having no good only evil.

But she shows some goodness at the end of the novel when she goes to the church to see her abandoned son. People are responsible for their own actions. A person chooses to be good or evil. The theme discuses Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, and truth and lie. The protagonist of the novel is Cal Trask. Cal Trask is the son of Adam Trask and the brother of Aron. Cal holds a manipulative nature to him.

He feels very guilty when he hurts people intentionally or unintentionally. Cal represents Cain in the bible. In the novel, Cal feels bitter towards him brother Aron. From his first memory Cal had craved warmth and affection, just as everyone does. If he had been an only child or if Aron had been a Long 4 different kind of boy, Cal might have achieved his relationship normally or easily. (444; ch. 38) Their father seems to favor Aron throughout the novel. This makes Cal want to seek revenge against his own brother, Aron. The antagonist in the novel, East of Eden is Cathy Ames.

Cathy Ames is full of evilness. She is though of as being a monster. I believe there are monsters born in the world It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life. (96 ch. 9. ) Cathy kills her parents by burning their house down with them inside. She then tries to kill Adam and Mr. Edwards. The reader never knows what she is thinking or about to do; this creating the novels expense. The only normal thing about Cathy appears to be her looks. Since the only love she knows is hatred. Many minor characters exist throughout the novel.

Adam Trask is the father of Cal and Aron Trask. He was an army veteran and used to be married to Cathy Ames. Adam was discharged in 1885 and started to beat his way home. There was no military carriage for him. (47; ch. 6) Aron Trask is Cals brother. He lives in a fantasy world by thinking that everything is holy. Lee is Adams Chinese housekeeper. He practically raised Cal and Aron for their first year. Samuel Hamilton helped out Adam Trask after Cathy left him. The exposition of East of Eden takes place in the Salinas Valley in Northern California. Long 5

It is a long swale between two ranges on mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into the Monterey Bay. (3; ch. 1) The entire novel takes place in the Salinas Valley. The setting was very realistic and detailed. This is because Steinbeck grew up and spent most of his life in the Salinas Valley. Two families are introduced into the story the Hamiltons and the Trasks. The members of the families are introduced and the reader gets an idea the characters life style and personality. The rising action brings about the suspense and curiosity of the novel.

All of Cal and Arons lives they were told and thought that their mother, Cathy was dead. So in the beginning of the novel the subject of their mother is not a major. Cathy had changed her name to Kate and was living a few towns down from the Trasks. Cal found out that his mother was alive and was an owner of a whore house. Then one day he went to encounter her about the whole situation. The climax occurs when Adam Trask loses most of his money in an unsuccessful cabbage business. Cal decides he wants to make it up to him by making money in the bean industry and giving the profit to his father.

On his fathers birthday he surprises him with the $15,000 dollars he made off the bean industry. Aron on the same day tells his father of his engagement. Adam only rejected the money saying that the pride that Aron gave him was better than the money. This makes Cal very bitter with Aron and wanting to seek revenge he takes him to his mother; which he does not know about. Long 6 The falling action takes place right after Aron discovers the existence of his mother. Aron becomes very shocked to find out about his mother and the whorehouse he disappears.

His father receives a letter later saying he joined the army. Aron is killed in the war. Cal feels guilty and blames himself for the death of Cal. Adam was so upset by Arons death that he went into shock and died. On Adams death bed Cal asks him for forgiveness and all he says is Timshel. The novel, East of Eden has a biological approach. A biological approach deals with the author and his life style shown in the novel. Steinbeck shows many of his characteristics of his life in East of Eden. His family and where he lived are seen vividly in the novel.

The Salinas Valley is the setting of the novel and also where Steinbeck grew up. Steinbecks images are depicted throughout the novel, East of Eden. I thought East of Eden was a very good novel. At items it may have been a little hard to follow but other than that it was great. Steinbeck switched from family to family a little too much. The characters were described in detail. This made the reader feel like they knew the characters. The novels plot was excellent. I never excepted what would happen to happen. I would recommend this novel for anyone to read.

John Steinbeck – the Author and his Times

He didn’t know it at the time, but John Steinbeck started getting ready to write The Grapes of Wrath when he was a small boy in California. Much of what he saw and heard while growing up found its way into the novel. On weekends his father took John and his three sisters on long drives out into the broad and beautiful valleys south of Salinas, the town where John was born in 1902. John passed vast orchards, and endless fields green with lettuce and barley. He observed the workers and the run-down shacks in which they lived.

And he saw, even before he was old enough to wear long pants, that the armhands’ lives differed from his own. Although the Steinbecks weren’t wealthy (John’s father ran a flour mill), they lived in a comfortable Victorian house. John grew up on three square meals a day. He never doubted that he would always have enough of life’s necessities. He even got a pony for his 12th birthday. (The pony became the subject of one of Steinbeck’s earliest successes, his novel The Red Pony. ) But don’t think John was pampered; his family expected him to work. He delivered newspapers and did odd jobs around town.

Family came first in the Steinbeck household. While not everyone saw eye-to-eye all the time, parents and children got along well. His father saw that John had talent and encouraged him to become a writer. His mother at first wanted John to be a banker- a real irony when you consider what Steinbeck says about banks in The Grapes of Wrath- but she changed her mind when John began spending hours in his room scrawling stories and writing articles for the school paper. Later in life, Steinbeck denied that his family served as a model for the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath.

But both families understood well the eaning of family unity. As a boy, John roamed the woods and meadows near his home and explored the caves. He swam in the creeks and water holes and became acquainted with the ways of nature. He developed a feel for the land. Each year the Salinas River flooded and then dried up, and John began to understand the cycles of seasons. He saw that weather was more than just something that might cancel a picnic. He saw that sunshine and clouds and rain and temperature readings were vital to farmers and growers. You can tell that John must have loved the out-of-doors.

Otherwise, how could he have set four novels and several stories in the lush countryside where he spent his youth? During high school (1915-19) he worked as a hand on nearby ranches. There he saw migrant workers, men without futures, breaking their backs all day for paltry wages and at night throwing away their cash in card games and barrooms. Out of this experience came the novel Of Mice and Men. Yet he also developed a profound respect for the inner strength of many of these laborers. They owned little, moved fast, kept few friends, and led barren lives. But they endured.

In spite of adversity, they stood tall and proud. They had self-respect. Their spirits could not be broken. In fact, Steinbeck developed so much admiration for these working “stiffs,” as they called each other, that he took up their style of life. He was nineteen and had spent two unrewarding years at Stanford University. He tried to find work as a deckhand on a Pacific freighter, but ended up instead in the beet and barley fields of the Willoughby Ranch south of Salinas. Then he worked in a beet factory as a bench-chemist. All the while, he gathered material for writing.

After each day’s work he wrote- mostly stories and poems. Six months later he decided to return to the classroom and to study the writer’s craft seriously. Some of his pieces ended up in the college newspaper; others showed up later as sections of The Long Valley, In Dubious Battle, The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden. Steinbeck’s success as a writer coincided with the coming of the Great Depression. As many people around the country lost their wealth, Steinbeck prospered. He started to travel, not only because he could afford it, but because he wanted to collect material for his riting.

The country was heavy with frustration. Everywhere he went he met downtrodden people with stories to be told. In 1937, driving a late-model car, he and his wife Carol traveled Route 66 from Oklahoma to California. He saw the roadside camps, used-car lots, diners, and gas stations that eventually became sites for events in The Grapes of Wrath. Thinking that a good story might be written about the migrants, he spent four weeks with workers in California, working with them in the fields and living in their camps. What started as an idea for a story soon became an issue for

Steinbeck. He wrote in a letter to a friend: I must go over to the interior valleys. There are about five thousand families starving to death over there, not just hungry but actually starving. The government is trying to feed them and get medical attention to them with the fascist groups of utilities and banks and huge growers sabotaging the thing all along the line and yelling for a balanced budget… I’ve tied into the thing from the first and I must get down there and see it and see if I can’t do something to help knock these murderers on the heads…. I’m pretty mad about it.

He wrote an angry article on the inhumane treatment of the migrants. He detailed the wretched conditions of the camps and blamed the California ranch owners for misery among the workers. Meanwhile, he had begun working on The Grapes of Wrath. It pointed fingers at those responsible for keeping people in poverty. It used tough language (in the 1930s four-letter words were uncommon in novels). It was meant to rouse its readers. Steinbeck chose its title from the words of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a song, both religious and patriotic, that stirs the emotions as few songs do.

Steinbeck xpected the book to be a failure. He thought, mistakenly, that many people would hate the book and would most likely hate him, too. He might be branded Communist, a label that could give him trouble for the rest of his life. His publisher urged him to soften the book, to make it more acceptable. Steinbeck refused: “I’ve never changed a word to fit the prejudices of a group and I never will,” he wrote. It was evidently a wise decision. The Grapes of Wrath is considered Steinbeck’s greatest novel. It won the Pulitzer Prize and has been translated into such languages as French, German, and

Japanese. Steinbeck’s frank portrayal of real people excited readers everywhere. Although some libraries and school boards banned the book, it became a bestseller almost instantly and was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1940. The book was rarely attacked on artistic grounds, but some people called it a distortion of the truth, a piece of Communist propaganda. They said it couldn’t be true that almost every migrant was a hero and almost every Californian a villain. Almost no one denied that it was a well-written, soundly structured piece of literature.

John Steinbeck’s Novel, The Grapes of Wrath Review

John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath is one of the most influential books in American History, and is considered to be his best work by many. It tells the story of one family’s hardship during the Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. The Joads were a hard-working family with a strong sense of togetherness and morals; they farmed their land and went about their business without bothering anyone. When the big drought came it forced them to sell the land they had lived on since before anyone can remember. Their oldest son, Tom, has been in jail the past four years and returns to find his childhood home abandoned.

He learns his family has moved in with his uncle John and decides to travel a short distance to see them. He arrives only to learn they are packing up their belongings and moving to California, someplace where there is a promise of work and food. This sets the Joad family off on a long and arduous journey with one goal: to survive. In this novel Steinbeck set forth with the intention of raising awareness to the general public of the difficulties and injustices these migrants faced during this period in time. It exposed the methods of the California farmer to use the migrants in order to lower their costs and make their profit margin higher.

How they starved and cheated the poor, working man, in order to keep him desperate for food and too weak to protest. Above all, it showed everyone that these “damn Okies” were all simply men, women and children, no different from anyone else, just poorer. They were human beings with feelings and not the uncivilized beasts they were portrayed as at the time. Steinbeck portrays the “Okies” in a way no one before him had, and also managed to keep their story true to life. He did this by mainly using dialect, and wrote the “Okie” dialect just as it was spoken, breaking the lines of proper grammar and spelling.

If he was concerned with such things it would have ruined the personality of the characters. His unique writing style to capture the atmosphere of these people and the era is evident in this excerpt from his book: “Duck,” said Muley. The bar of cold white light swung over their heads and crisscrossed the field. The hiding men could not see any movement, but they heard a car door slam and they heard voices. “Scairt to get in the light,” Muley whispered. “Once-twice I’ve took a shot at the headlights.

That keeps Willy careful. He got somebody with ‘im tonight. They heard footsteps on wood, and then from inside the house they saw the glow of a flashlight. “Shall I shoot through the house? ” Muley whispered. “They couldn’t see where it come from. Give ‘em sompin to think about. ” (80) The Grapes of Wrath is two intertwined stories. One of the Joad family and their personal struggles, and the other of the greater effect of the Dust Bowl and depression on the massive amounts of people like the Joads. He trades off each chapter, one chapter telling the story of the Joads and the next talking about the migrants.

He uses the Joads to bring the story home to the reader, defeating the myth about the Okies. That myth being, as put by a service station attendant, “They ain’t human. ” (301) Throughout the novel Steinbeck goes to prove that the Joads are perhaps the most humane people out there. As the story progresses the Joads progress as well, from only being concerned with their own personal welfare and living to being aware of injustice towards everyone like them. This is accompanied by the disintegration of the smaller family unit, which is replaced by the larger world family of the migrant people.

The character that shows this change most dramatically is Tom Joad. When he first is released from prison his only concern is going home, returning to his old lifestyle, catching up on lost time and having some fun. As he learns about the journey west his first priority becomes his family, and he puts them and their welfare before everything else. Finally at the end of the book he decides to take it upon himself to be a voice for all of the “Okies” and fight against the unfairness they all faced on a daily basis.

This change is best put by Ma at the end of the book when she says to Mrs. Wainwright, “Use’ ta be the fambly that was fust. It ain’t so now. It’s anybody. Worse off we get, the more we got to do. ” (606) Throughout the novel, the acts of kindness by poor people are contrasted to the greed and meanness of the rich. One of the ironies of the book 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. ” (335) The irony is that if you need something you have to go to the people who have nothing.

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 Tom and Al receive car parts from a worker at a run down auto shop at a great discount. 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.

In contrast the business class people are shown as ruthless bloodthirsty demons. All they care about is their own personal wealth and to them the poor are simply walking signs reading “take what little money I have, I am poor and desperate”. Chapter seven shows how the car dealers 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.

This pattern is repeated many times throughout the book. Chapter nine shows junk dealers taking advantage of the fact that they knew the farmers had to sell all of their possessions and could pay them dirt-cheap prices for them. They watch the pain and despair in the farmer’s faces as they try to argue for a higher price with a grin, knowing they will take whatever is offered. They simply can’t afford not to, they must sell their things, and they can’t take them west and desperately need the money. “Well, take it-all junk-and give me five dollars. You’re not buying only junk, you’re buying junked lives.

And more- you’ll see- you’re buying bitterness. Buying a plow to plow your own children under, buying the arms and spirits that might have saved you. Five dollars, not four. I can’t haul ‘em back- Well, take ‘em for four. But I warn you, you’re buying what will plow your own children under. And you won’t see. You can’t see. Take ‘em for four. Now, what’ll you give for the team and wagon? Those fine bays, matched they are, matched in color, matched the way they walk, stride to stride. In the stiff pull – straining hams and buttocks, split-second timed together. And in the morning the light on them, bay light.

They look over the fence sniffing for us, and the stiff ears swivel to hear us, and the black forelocks! I’ve got a girl. She likes to braid the manes and forelocks, puts little red bows on them. Likes to do it. Not any more. I could tell you a funny story about that girl and that off bay. Would make you laugh. Off horse is eight, near is ten, but might of been twin colts the way they work together. See? The teeth. Sound all over. Deep lungs. Feet fair and clean. How much? Ten dollars? For both? And the wagon- Oh, Jesus Christ! I’d shoot ‘em for dog feed first. Oh, take ‘em!

Take ‘em quick, mister. You’re buying a little girl plaiting the forelocks, taking off her hair ribbon to make bows, standing back, head cocked, rubbing the soft noses with her cheek. You’re buying years of work, toil in the sun; you’re buying a sorrow that can’t talk. But watch it, mister. There’s a premium goes with this pile of junk and the bay horses – so beautiful – a packet of bitterness to grow in your house and to flower, some day. We could have saved you, but you cut us down, and soon you will be cut down and there’ll be none of us to save you. ” (118)

There is a lot of symbolism throughout The Grapes of Wrath, in the form of events or even in the characters themselves. The first noticeable use of this is in chapter three, with a turtle who is simply trying to get to the end of a road. He slowly plods along in the heat, never stopping in his journey, although he is faced with many obstacles. A car whizzes by, barely nicking him and sending him skidding across the road with his shell overturned. Once the danger is past he emerges from his shell and continues on, only to be picked up by Tom Joad, who carries him for a distance with the intention of giving him to Winfield as a present.

Naturally this is not in the turtle’s plans, but he tolerates it and once set down by Tom, works his way free of the jacket that restrained him and slowly makes his way back towards his goal. This is symbolic of the Joad’s journey to California, with all the hardships they faced. Yet they never faltered on their path, each and every member of the family knew where they wanted to go and didn’t allow minor setbacks to stop them. It has been questioned by some as to whether Jim Casy is meant to symbolize Jesus Christ in this story. I believe that he is, there are many small hints pointing to it, such as his initials (J.

C. ), along with many broader indications. His lifestyle of preaching and leading people in revolt, as well as sacrificing himself for Tom and the Joad family supports this belief well. He also had a follower, or disciple in Tom, who after Casy’s death decides to leave the family to carry on his message. “Tom laughed uneasily, “well maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one- an’ then—“ “Then what, Tom? ” “Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be all 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. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’- I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they knows supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build- why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes. ” (572) The last major point of symbolism in the book is shown in Rosasharn’s baby. The baby comes to symbolize death, but at the same time, life.

It is a stillborn, never once took a breath to live, which was the hardest death for the family to deal with, the one that never lived. At the same time, it is a blessing in disguise. Shortly after this occurs there is a great and steady rain, which the Joads seek shelter from in an abandoned barn. Upon entering they discover a young boy and his father in the corner, the boy informs them that his father is starving to death and cannot keep food down. He is desperate for milk and wonders if they had any money to spare in which to buy some. Upon hearing this Ma and Rosasharn exchange a knowing look.

Ma takes the rest of the family out to a tool shed and leaves Rosasharn with the old man. Rosasharn proceeds to give the man the life-giving milk that he so desperately needs and her baby did not live to put use to. In doing this her baby unknowingly gave its life in return for saving that of another. Steinbeck uses this novel as a warning to large landowners as well as the government during the depression. There was a great injustice being done to these people and it wouldn’t be long before they did something about it. You cannot suppress a large group of society for an extended amount of time without there being an uprising against it.

He states this in chapter nineteen, and for once doesn’t use any sort of symbolism to mask the meanings behind his words. He comes right out and states the events that have led up to this point and says there will be a revolt eventually, the question is simply when. They were hungry, and they were fierce. And they had hoped to find a home, and they found only hatred. Okies—the owners hated them because the owners knew they were soft and the Okies strong, that they were fed and the Okies hungry; and perhaps they had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and armed.

The owners hated them. And in the towns, the storekeepers hated them because they had no money to spend. There is no shorter path to a storekeeper’s contempt, and all his admirations are exactly opposite. The town men, little bankers, hated the Okies because there was nothing to gain from them. They had nothing. And the laboring people hated the Okies because a hungry man must work, if he has to work, the wage payer automatically gives him less for his work; and then no one can get more. (318)

Grapes of Wrath: An Undaunted Journey

Through out history man has made many journeys, far and wide. Moses’s great march through the Red Sea and Columbus’s transversing the Atlantic are only, but a few of mans great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox’s run across Canada while having cancer is one of these such journeys. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and over come emence odds, similar to a salmon swimming up stream to fullfill it’s life line. Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they had to possess during their travels.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck shows the Joads endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel. This effectively forshadows upcoming events by telling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters and then narrowing it down to how it effects the main characters of the novel, the Joads. Setting the tone of the novel in the readers mind is another function of Steinbeck’s intercalary chapters.

In chapter three, Steinbeck emaculatly describes the long tedious ourney of a land turtle across a desolate highway. From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many set backs. All along the way he is hindered by ants, hills, and oak seeds under his shell. The turtles determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck driven by a young man swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle’s shell was clipped and he went flying off the highway, but stop the turtle did not.

He struggled back to his belly and kept driving toward his goal, just as the Joads kept driving toward their goal. Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many reat hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, was the Joads desolate highway. The truck driver represented the Californians, whom Buried food and killed live stock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. And sickness was their ants and hills. But even through all of this the Joads persevered.

They were driven by great motivating powers – poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, “the garden of Eden. ” The Joad’s journey is second to none in terms of adversity and length. The Joads incredible ability to over come all odds and keep going is epitomized in intercalary chapter three. Steinbeck uses his rendition of facts, the “turtle” chapter, to parallel the Joads struggle to reach the promise land. Just as the turtle endured, so did the Joads. Never digressing from their strait and narrow path to California.

Grapes of Wrath: An Undaunted Journey Through out history man has made many journeys, far and wide. Moses’s great march through the Red Sea and Columbus’s transversing the Atlantic are only, but a few of mans great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox’s run across Canada while having cancer is one of these such journeys. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and over come emence odds, similar to a salmon swimming up stream to fullfill it’s life line.

Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they had to possess during their travels. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck shows the Joads endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel. This effectively forshadows upcoming events by elling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters and then narrowing it down to how it effects the main characters of the novel, the Joads.

Setting the tone of the novel in the readers mind is another function of Steinbeck’s intercalary chapters. In chapter three, Steinbeck emaculatly describes the long tedious journey of a land turtle across a desolate highway. From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many set backs. All along the way he is hindered by ants, hills, and oak seeds under his shell. The turtles determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck driven y a young man swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle’s shell was clipped and he went flying off the highway, but stop the turtle did not.

He struggled back to his belly and kept driving toward his goal, just as the Joads kept driving toward their goal. Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many great hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, was the Joads desolate highway. The truck driver represented the Californians, whom Buried food and killed live stock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. And sickness was their ants and hills. But even through all of this the Joads persevered.

They were driven by great motivating powers – poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, “the garden of Eden. ” The Joad’s journey is second to none in terms of adversity and length. The Joads incredible ability to over come all odds and keep going is epitomized in intercalary chapter three. Steinbeck uses his rendition of facts, the “turtle” chapter, to parallel the Joads struggle to reach the promise land. Just as the turtle endured, so did the Joads. Never digressing from their strait and narrow path to California.

The Grapes of Wrath During the Great Depression

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 s through the use of symbolism. There are sevestronger, 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 ncounters: 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 n, 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 truckow 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 eave 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 ecome 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 People and the Depression in the Book The Grapes of Wrath

The people and the Depression In the book The grapes of Wrath, the Joads undergo the hit of the depression, they have to leave their farm. They go to California for jobs, but find there are few jobs, and it Pays little, or at least less then what they were told. The government tried to start programs to house and employ people like the Joads. Since the people who already lived in the cities in which these developments were put didn’t want them there anyway, they tried to start a riot and have the police Arrest them.

Although in the movie the plan was foiled, it could have worked in many other places, or the towns folk could have just created a lynch mob, and eventually the people living in the development would leave. I believe that the economic situation of the country has a great effect on the fall, or succession of people like the Joads, but I don’t believe government programs will effect them at all. For example, the great depression was a major economical event, and it greatly effected more then just people like the Joads, but programs like the public works administration, which employed people for government construction projects.

Another program, the Works Progress Administration, later called the Works Projects Administration was created to develop relief programs, and to keep a person’s skills. From 1935-1943, it employed 8 million people, and spent 11 billion dollars. But in 1939, there were still 9. 5 million still unemployed. Another program was the Civilian Conservation Corps. Unemployed, unmarried young men were enlisted to work on conservation and resource-development projects such as soil conservation, flood control, and protection of forests and wildlife.

These men we! Provided with food, lodging, and other necessities, and were given a small monthly salary. Another program was the CWA, the civil works administration. It employed more then 4 million workers to build and repair roads, and Teach in schools, were just a couple of the jobs. Some of these programs would work temporarily, but eventually there would be no more work to do, or the government would run out of funds. All these programs were hated by some, and loved by others, and some just didn’t care.

The businessmen that were lucky enough not to lose everything and the other employees working in the cities who still had jobs during the depression didn’t like these new programs. In the movie, The Grapes of Wrath, The towns people didn’t like the government-funded version of a “Hooverville”. The townspeople, along with the police tired to start a fight during a dance, so the police could come in, arrest some of the people living there, and say that this new development wasn’t safe for the town, and it would have to be rid of.

Fortunately for them they were able to discover their little plan, and spoiled the plan. But this showed how much the people in the towns hated these new developments like the Hoovervilles. Also, I can’t recall what town! It was in, but when the Joads approached one town border, the men there said there was no work, and that they would have to turn around, I believe they even had the police there. This showed how much the people already living in these towns and cities fear the coming farmers and others that had lost their jobs, for the townspeople wanted to keep their jobs.

I think it would have been smarter for the government to buy the farms that people like the Joads were being kicked off, that way they could still work there, and because they only got paid in food and shelter, the extra food that they made that used to go to their employer would go to the government which could either be sold for less, or given out in rations to the poor, and homeless. I believe that Roosevelt had too much power, he was making too many programs that didn’t work. He was throwing money here, and money there to programs designed to employ people, yet there were still millions of people still employed.

I believe if he had less power, his plans would have been looked over more carefully, and the programs could have been substantially better. I believe that the programs created by the government had little affect, and that the money could have been spent more wisely, and better programs could have been created, but I do think that the economy has a major impact on the fall, or survival of a family, like the Joads. This shows that communism was already happening in the United States of America even though they tried to ban this book.

Grapes of wrath The people and the Depression In the book The grapes of Wrath, the Joads undergo the hit of the depression, they have to leave their farm. They go to California for jobs, but find there are few jobs, and it Pays little, or at least less then what they were told. The government tried to start programs to house and employ people like the Joads. Since the people who already lived in the cities in which these developments were put didn’t want them there anyway, they tried to start a riot and have the police Arrest them.

Although in the movie the plan was foiled, it could have worked in many other places, or the towns folk could have just created a lynch mob, and eventually the people living in the development would leave. I believe that the economic situation of the country has a great effect on the fall, or succession of people like the Joads, but I don’t believe government programs will effect them at all. For example, the great depression was a major economical event, and it greatly effected more then just people like the Joads, but programs like the public works administration, which employed people for government construction projects.

Another program, the Works Progress Administration, later called the Works Projects Administration was created to develop relief programs, and to keep a person’s skills. From 1935-1943, it employed 8 million people, and spent 11 billion dollars. But in 1939, there were still 9. 5 million still unemployed. Another program was the Civilian Conservation Corps. Unemployed, unmarried young men were enlisted to work on conservation and resource-development projects such as soil conservation, flood control, and protection of forests and wildlife.

These men we! Provided with food, lodging, and other necessities, and were given a small monthly salary. Another program was the CWA, the civil works administration. It employed more then 4 million workers to build and repair roads, and Teach in schools, were just a couple of the jobs. Some of these programs would work temporarily, but eventually there would be no more work to do, or the government would run out of funds. All these programs were hated by some, and loved by others, and some just didn’t care.

The businessmen that were lucky enough not to lose everything and the other employees working in the cities who still had jobs during the depression didn’t like these new programs. In the movie, The Grapes of Wrath, The towns people didn’t like the government-funded version of a “Hooverville”. The townspeople, along with the police tired to start a fight during a dance, so the police could come in, arrest some of the people living there, and say that this new development wasn’t safe for the town, and it would have to be rid of.

Fortunately for them they were able to discover their little plan, and spoiled the plan. But this showed how much the people in the towns hated these new developments like the Hoovervilles. Also, I can’t recall what town! It was in, but when the Joads approached one town border, the men there said there was no work, and that they would have to turn around, I believe they even had the police there. This showed how much the people already living in these towns and cities fear the coming farmers and others that had lost their jobs, for the townspeople wanted to keep their jobs.

I think it would have been smarter for the government to buy the farms that people like the Joads were being kicked off, that way they could still work there, and because they only got paid in food and shelter, the extra food that they made that used to go to their employer would go to the government which could either be sold for less, or given out in rations to the poor, and homeless. I believe that Roosevelt had too much power, he was making too many programs that didn’t work. He was throwing money here, and money there to programs designed to employ people, yet there were still millions of people still employed.

I believe if he had less power, his plans would have been looked over more carefully, and the programs could have been substantially better. I believe that the programs created by the government had little affect, and that the money could have been spent more wisely, and better programs could have been created, but I do think that the economy has a major impact on the fall, or survival of a family, like the Joads. This shows that communism was already happening in the United States of America even though they tried to ban this book.

John Steinbeck Biography

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas California, shortly after the end of the Civil War. His mother was a schoolteacher in the public school system in Salinas. Steinbeck grew up in the fertile California where he found the materials for most of his novels, and short stories. Steinbeck demonstrated a great imagination, which was kindled by writing at a very early age partly due to his mother, the schoolteacher, whom read to him at a very early at the many great works of literature.

During his teen years, Steinbeck played various sports in high school, worked numerous part time, dead end jobs, and wondered around the fertile valley. The lessons, and observations he made while wandering provided much of the material for his later works. Steinbeck entered Stanford University in 1920, and even though he attended the school until 1925, he never graduated. Lacking the desire to acquire a formal degree from the Stanford University, Steinbeck wandered to New York to pursue a writing career. While working on his writing, and while receiving an endless supply of rejection slips, Steinbeck worked odd jobs.

The New York American newspaper was where Steinbeck held a job, writing various articles, for some time before the newspaper went bankrupt. The failure of the newspaper and endless supply of rejection letter forced Steinbeck to return to California, broken but still hopeful. Steinbeck’s first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, two months before the horrific stock market crash, causing the novel to nearly unnoticed with barely fifteen hundred copies selling. 1930 was a very important year for Steinbeck in two areas. First he married Carol Henning and the newlyweds settled in Pacific Grove, which he often wrote of.

There, Steinbeck met Ed Ricketts whose friendship strongly influenced Steinbeck’s works. During the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties Steinbeck knew many people who were considered to be the cross section of society, and shared many of the problems of the times with them. His father like many men, helped is family through the depression with a small house and twenty-five dollars a week. Throughout the depression era Steinbeck wrote of people struggling to make ends meet around the California, Mexico region. One of Steinbeck works, Tortilla Flat, marked a turning point in Steinbeck’s literary career.

The collection of stories brought Steinbeck the California Commonwealth Club’s Gold Medal for best novel by a California author. Steinbeck continued to writing, relying upon extensive research and his personal observation of the human condition for his stories. The Grapes of Wrath was a major publishing event of 1939. It was estimated that over half a million copies of the original printing were sold in addition to several American editions; there have been numerous foreign editions and translations. The novel was later made into an important social protest film.

The Grapes of Wrath brought about many awards for Steinbeck including the Pulitzer Prize and American Booksellers Award. The end of the depression was met with World War in which Steinbeck worked as a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of Steinbeck’s dispatches were later collected and made into Once There was a War. After the war Steinbeck focused only on novels, travels, film scripts, and editorials. John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 “…for his realistic as well as imaginative writing, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception. John Steinbeck’s enlightening acceptance speech is as follows: “Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. Form the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species…the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit – for gallantry id defeat, for courage, compassion and love.

In the endless war against weakness and despair there are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature” Throughout his life John Steinbeck remained a private person who shunned publicity. He dies December 20, 1968, in New York City and is survived by his third wife, Elaine Steinbeck and one son, Thomas. John Steinbeck’s ashes were placed in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Salinas.

John Steinbeck: Grapes Of Wrath Symbolism of the Turtle

John Steinbeck uses symbolism to enrich his writing. Several of these symbols can be found in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. The Joad’s, a family from Oklahoma, are in search of a better life. They leave their home in journey to California because of the dust bowl. The symbols in the book are the dust, the turtle, names of people, and the grapes. These symbols give the reader an additional perspective of the book. Dust represents life and death. Dust makes a mess of things and leaves possessions under a mucky film. The farming in Oklahoma becomes difficult because the heavy winds uplift the soil and carry it great distances.

Then the farmers are left with no soil to grow their crops. The Joad’s livelihood depends on the soil. If the soil is rich, then it will feed hundreds. But if the soil is dry, it destroys crops and causes famine. The dust covers Oklahoma and leaves the Joad family with no other choice, but to move. The Joad’s journey to California is as slow as a turtle. Heat in the desert, car problems, and the death of the grandparents make the journey long and painful. A turtle shelters himself by pulling his head, legs, and tail inside his shell. The Joad’s gather together as a family to comfort and shelter themselves.

A turtle feels safe when it enters his shell and the Joad’s feel safe when they gather as a family. There is symbolic significance in the names of characters throughout The Grapes of Wrath. Tom, one of the main characters, is hitchhiking home when he stumbles upon a preacher by the name of Jim Casey. Jim baptized Tom, but now he is no longer preaching because he has found that everything is holy and man needs no preacher. His initials are J. C. which are the same as Jesus Christ. Jim shows similar characteristics to Jesus Christ. He sacrifices himself for Tom.

Tom has caused a deputy to loose his suspect and is said to be under arrest, but Casey steps in and takes the blame. “It was me, alright” (p. 364). Casey is taken by two deputies, but appears to be proud because he knows he has done the right thing. “Between his guards Casey sat proudly, his head up and the stringy muscles of his neck prominent” (p. 364). He gives up his freedom so the Joad’s can accomplish their dreams as a family. Tom then meets Muley Graves, an old neighbor. Muley shows animal like characteristics and acts like a mule. Just like a mule, Muley is stubborn.

He refuses to leave his land after he has already lost it. “I’ll be aroun’ till hell freezes over. There ain’t nobody can run a guy name of Graves outa this country. An’ they ain’t done it, neither” (p. 62). Muley’s last name symbolizes death. The fact that he is to die on his land. Everyone is tractored off the land, but him. As the Joad’s are forced to move off their land, they decide to move west, to California. After traveling all night they finally reach the mountains on the other side of the desert. Everyone gets out of the truck to gawk at the beautiful fields.

But not everyone sees the same thing. Tom claims that Ruthie and Winfield, his younger siblings, are the ones that see the true beauty. “Who’s really seein’ it is Ruthie an’ Winfiel'” (p. 313). Winfield is young and his name hints to the reader that he might “win the fields” from the rich farmers down the line. He is capable of working the land and may be the first farmer of the Joad family. While Ruthie, she is ruthless. She is very cruel and finds it hard to share. She was nibbling on some cracker jacks and some kids came and asked for some crackers, but Ruthie, she wouldn’t share.

So Ruthie got mad an’ chased em, an’ she fit one, an’ then she fit another, an’ then one big girl got up an’ licked her” (p. 563). Although she appears to be strong in reality she is weak . Grapes are the fruit of the vine; something sweet. But in actuality for the Joad’s they are a disappointment. The Joad’s talk about them as being this wonderful fruit that will bring them a better life. They will pick the grapes and earn money. But as they stare at the open fields they realize that it is all just a dream. There are no grapes. They continuously think of the grapes as an escape from their depression.

The grapes would be so fruitful that they would be able to bathe in the sweetness, but in their case it turns out completely different. Discussing the symbols of the dust, the turtle, the names, and the grapes makes the reader aware of another aspect of the story. The reader is able to realize just how well Steinbeck is able to bring his stories to life. As a reader you learn to appreciate his style of writing. Once you read his books you realize that he is not only a author, but an artist too. John Steinbeck uses symbolism to enrich his writing.

Several of these symbols can be found in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. The Joad’s, a family from Oklahoma, are in search of a better life. They leave their home in journey to California because of the dust bowl. The symbols in the book are the dust, the turtle, names of people, and the grapes. These symbols give the reader an additional perspective of the book. Dust represents life and death. Dust makes a mess of things and leaves possessions under a mucky film. The farming in Oklahoma becomes difficult because the heavy winds uplift the soil and carry it great distances.

Then the farmers are left with no soil to grow their crops. The Joad’s livelihood depends on the soil. If the soil is rich, then it will feed hundreds. But if the soil is dry, it destroys crops and causes famine. The dust covers Oklahoma and leaves the Joad family with no other choice, but to move. The Joad’s journey to California is as slow as a turtle. Heat in the desert, car problems, and the death of the grandparents make the journey long and painful. A turtle shelters himself by pulling his head, legs, and tail inside his shell. The Joad’s gather together as a family to comfort and shelter themselves.

A turtle feels safe when it enters his shell and the Joad’s feel safe when they gather as a family. There is symbolic significance in the names of characters throughout The Grapes of Wrath. Tom, one of the main characters, is hitchhiking home when he stumbles upon a preacher by the name of Jim Casey. Jim baptized Tom, but now he is no longer preaching because he has found that everything is holy and man needs no preacher. His initials are J. C. which are the same as Jesus Christ. Jim shows similar characteristics to Jesus Christ. He sacrifices himself for Tom.

Tom has caused a deputy to loose his suspect and is said to be under arrest, but Casey steps in and takes the blame. “It was me, alright” (p. 364). Casey is taken by two deputies, but appears to be proud because he knows he has done the right thing. “Between his guards Casey sat proudly, his head up and the stringy muscles of his neck prominent” (p. 364). He gives up his freedom so the Joad’s can accomplish their dreams as a family. Tom then meets Muley Graves, an old neighbor. Muley shows animal like characteristics and acts like a mule. Just like a mule, Muley is stubborn.

He refuses to leave his land after he has already lost it. “I’ll be aroun’ till hell freezes over. There ain’t nobody can run a guy name of Graves outa this country. An’ they ain’t done it, neither” (p. 62). Muley’s last name symbolizes death. The fact that he is to die on his land. Everyone is tractored off the land, but him. As the Joad’s are forced to move off their land, they decide to move west, to California. After traveling all night they finally reach the mountains on the other side of the desert. Everyone gets out of the truck to gawk at the beautiful fields.

But not everyone sees the same thing. Tom claims that Ruthie and Winfield, his younger siblings, are the ones that see the true beauty. “Who’s really seein’ it is Ruthie an’ Winfiel'” (p. 313). Winfield is young and his name hints to the reader that he might “win the fields” from the rich farmers down the line. He is capable of working the land and may be the first farmer of the Joad family. While Ruthie, she is ruthless. She is very cruel and finds it hard to share. She was nibbling on some cracker jacks and some kids came and asked for some crackers, but Ruthie, she wouldn’t share.

So Ruthie got mad an’ chased em, an’ she fit one, an’ then she fit another, an’ then one big girl got up an’ licked her” (p. 563). Although she appears to be strong in reality she is weak . Grapes are the fruit of the vine; something sweet. But in actuality for the Joad’s they are a disappointment. The Joad’s talk about them as being this wonderful fruit that will bring them a better life. They will pick the grapes and earn money. But as they stare at the open fields they realize that it is all just a dream. There are no grapes.

They continuously think of the grapes as an escape from their depression. The grapes would be so fruitful that they would be able to bathe in the sweetness, but in their case it turns out completely different. Discussing the symbols of the dust, the turtle, the names, and the grapes makes the reader aware of another aspect of the story. The reader is able to realize just how well Steinbeck is able to bring his stories to life. As a reader you learn to appreciate his style of writing. Once you read his books you realize that he is not only a author, but an artist too.