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The Grape Of Wrath Essay Research Paper

The Grape Of Wrath Essay, Research Paper The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of

The Grape Of Wrath Essay, Research Paper

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the

desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of

America during the 1930’s live under. The novel tells of one families

migration west to California through the great economic depression of

the 1930’s. The Joad family had to abandon their home and their

livelihoods. They had to uproot and set adrift because tractors were

rapidly industrializing their farms. The bank took possession of

their land because the owners could not pay off their loan. The novel

shows how the Joad family deals with moving to California. How they

survive the cruelty of the land owners that take advantage of them,

their poverty and willingness to work.

The Grapes of Wrath combines Steinbeck adoration of the land,

his simple hatred of corruption resulting from materialism (money) and

his abiding faith in the common people to overcome the hostile

environment. The novel opens with a retaining picture of nature on

rampage. The novel shows the men and women that are unbroken by

nature. The theme is one of man verses a hostile environment. His

body destroyed but his spirit is not broken. The method used to

develop the theme of the novel is through the use of symbolism. There

are several uses of symbols in the novel from the turtle at the

beginning to the rain at the end. As each symbol is presented

through the novel they show examples of the good and the bad things

that exist within the novel.

The opening chapter paints a vivid picture of the situation

facing the drought-stricken farmers of Oklahoma. Dust is described a

covering everything, smothering the life out of anything that wants to

grow. The dust is symbolic of the erosion of the lives of the people.

The dust is synonymous with “deadness”. The land is ruined ^way of

life (farming) gone, people ^uprooted and forced to leave. Secondly,

the dust stands for ^profiteering banks in the background that squeeze

the life out the land by forcing the people off the land. The soil,

the people (farmers) have been drained of life and are exploited:

The last rain fell on the red and gray country of Oklahoma in early

May. The weeds became a dark green to protect themselves from the

sun’s unyielding rays….The wind grew stronger, uprooting the

weakened corn, and the air became so filled with dust that the stars

were not visible at night. (Chp 1)

As the chapter continues a turtle, which appears and reappears

several times early in the novel, can be seen to stand for survival,

a driving life force in all of mankind that cannot be beaten by nature

or man. The turtle represents a hope that the trip to the west is

survivable by the farmer migrants (Joad family). The turtle further

represents the migrants struggles against nature/man by overcoming

every obstacle he encounters: the red ant in his path, the truck

driver who tries to run over him, being captured in Tom Joad’s jacket:

And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw

the turtle and swerved to hit it. The driver of the truck works for a

large company, who try to stop the migrants from going west, when the

driver attempts to hit the turtle it is another example of the big

powerful guy trying to flatten or kill the little guy. Everything the

turtle encounters trys its best to stop the turtle from making its

westerly journey. Steadily the turtle advances on, ironically to the

southwest, the direction of the mirgration of people. The turtle…

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