Essay On The Grapes Of Wrath

Written by: John Steinbeck Type of Work: novel Genres: historical fiction First Published: 1939 Setting: the Great Depression; Oklahoma Main Characters: Tom Joad; Ma Joad; Jim Casy; Rose of Sharon Joad; Pa Joad Major Thematic Topics: love; strength in unity; re-birth; survival Motifs: disrupted power structures Major Symbols: turtle crossing the road; vacant houses; Ma Joad; the truck The three most important aspects of The Grapes of Wrath: Removing #book# from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title.Are you sure you want to remove #book Confirmation# and any corresponding bookmarks?John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Tom Joad and his family are forced from their farm in the Depression-era Oklahoma Dust Bowl and set out for California along with thousands of others in search of jobs, land, and hope for a brighter future.

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The Grapes of Wrath exists, in large part, to bring to life the farmers’ plight and to depict them as ground-down but noble people.In contrast, Steinbeck looms as an ever-present authorial presence.He lards the narrative with deserts, floods, and dramatic births, setting his characters against a biblical backdrop.Tom Joad is the young everyman, a good person forced to develop a social conscience.Ma Joad is the universal mother, the nurturer who rallies to support her family and sacrifices her own comfort for their sake.He transparently maneuvers his characters so that their actions are symbolic, rather than convincingly human.Because we know so little about the mentalities of the characters, we have a hard time believing that they are acting as real people might. We may long to know whether Tom would have embraced Christianity if Jim Casy weren’t around, and what reservoirs of strength Ma draws on, and what exactly Pa’s befuddled thoughts consist of, and whether Rose of Sharon is ever faking her saintly smile.Steinbeck makes the Joads, his protagonists, stand in for all of the Dust Bowl farmers.While each Joad family member has his own quirks, speech patterns, and characteristics, the Joads are less a group of three-dimensional characters than they are a collection of archetypes.Steinbeck’s grand scale not only evokes strong reactions, but it also paradoxically suppresses them.Many novelists try to erase evidence of their own presence from their fiction, thereby allowing the reader to forget she is encountering a story that has been constructed by a writer and enjoy the illusion that she is reading about real people.


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