Emersonian Over-Soul In The Grapes Of Wrath Essay, Research Paper
The Grapes of Wrath, written by literary genius John Steinbeck, is about an Oklahoman family named Joad that is forced off it s farm and must travel west in search of work and food. The story takes place during the depression of the nineteen thirties and 250,000 more migrants join the Joads on route sixty-six. The travelers are treated inhumanly and encounter many hardships. From these hardships an unspoken unity was formed. The poor gave gifts to each other despite having very little for themselves, they stood up for each other, and they all became one family. Those actions and more represent the Emersonian Over-Soul. The Emersonian Over-Soul is a Transcendentalist belief derived by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Over-Soul is a oneness between man, nature, and God. The Grapes of Wrath is rich with examples of the Emersonian Over-Soul. Jim Casy, the government camp, and Tom Joad are three examples of the oversoul depicted in the novel. The first mention of an over-soul is by Jim Casy. Casy is an ex-preacher who has, as he says it, lost his calling. When Tom Joad first meets Casy they talk and Casy explains a thought of his. He says, I figured about the Holy Sperit and the Jesus Road. I figgered, Why do we got to hang it 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. (24). This shows the belief that all humans are part of one soul, not individual souls. During grace at Uncle John s house Casy says, I ain t sayin I m like Christ But I got tired like him, an I got mixed up like him, an I went into the wilderness like him, without no campin stuff There was the hills, an there was me, an we wasn t separate no more. We was one thing. An that one thing was holy. (88) This quote mirrors Emerson s thought that man can become one with nature, if man was to discard technology. Jim Casy sacrificed himself for his beliefs by being killed while heading a strike at Hooper Ranch to better the lives of his people. Even though Jim Casy dies, his thoughts live on through Tom Joad. Tom is the protagonist and changes his personal views as the story unravels. In the beginning, he thought only of himself. But during the course of the novel he becomes a central figure in the family and starts to care more about them, and then at the end, Tom inherits Casy s ideas. When he is in the cave with his mother he mentions Casy and says, I been thinkin what he said, an I can remember-all of it. Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an he foun he didn have no soul that was his n. Says he foun he jus got a little piece of a great big soul Funny how I remember. Didn think I was even listenin . But I know now a fella ain t no good alone. (462) This shows that he now believes in the one…
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