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Book Analysis: Grapes of Wrath

Book Analysis: Grapes of Wrath

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Published by Computer Guru
Analysis and perspective on John Steinbeck's classic "Grapes of Wrath." Covers sociopolical references and literature analysis.
Analysis and perspective on John Steinbeck's classic "Grapes of Wrath." Covers sociopolical references and literature analysis.

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Published by: Computer Guru on Dec 12, 2007
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Al-Qudsi 1Mahmoud Al-QudsiMr. MeyersEnglish 1013 March 2003
The Grapes of Wrath
By: John Steinbeck Throughout history, more than one great event has happened that captured theattention of onlookers, not only the onlookers of that time, but also onlookers thatwere yet to come. Textbooks captured these events, and they were preserved in thehearts of the people. However, some less recognized events that occurred throughoutthe times that were not brought to the attention of most. These depended on theexploits of the pioneers in writing to preserve these occurrences, so that the people of the future would remember.
The Grapes of Wrath
is such a book, in which a less known historic event thathad a great impact on some people and was an important part of history wasdocumented and preserved for the future to see. In
The Grapes of Wrath
, JohnSteinbeck speaks of the ongoing tirade hovering over the never-ending cycle of unemployment, and the quest for stability, independence, and happiness.This book opens at the scene of the aftermath of a typical dust storm. It isapparent that these conditions are not by any means rare or unique, but rathercommon everyday scenes. The sand has settled, the male villagers are reviewing thedamage, and their women and children sit quietly waiting for the men. The chapter ispassive, and speaks of and to no one in particular, but rather to all people as a generalwhole. In the next chapter, the book begins a narrative of the Tom Joad, an ex-convict
 
Al-Qudsi 2searching for his family after a four-year sentence. This narrative also takes place inOklahoma.This alternating pattern between passive historical chapters that involve nodirect action, and those of historical-fiction chapters, continues to alternate throughoutthe book, with the historical chapters extending in length from one to three chapters ata time, and the fictional chapters extending no longer than one chapter at a time.Steinbeck expressed the feelings of the different characters, the central theme,and the timeframe in such a way that the final effect is that of a complete circle.Although the story never really ends and the story appears capable of going onforever, the sense of fulfillment is always present in an unexplainable way.The novel consists of an account of the travels conducted by the Joad family,Tom Jr., Tom Senior, Rosasharn, Ruthie, Winfield, Connie, Granma, Granpa, UncleJohn, and Ma; as well as their close friend Casy, an ex-reverend. The bank had boughtmost of the crops in Oklahoma and Texas, used advanced technology to farm, harvest,sow, and prepare the crops with little effort. Using technology, the banks quicklycreated commercial farms, colossal profits, no thoughts for living creatures and ruininto the lives of the citizens of the Oklahoma territory. The citizens can no longermeet the demands of their customers, and had to sell their farms, and find other meansof living.The mood of the novel is set from the very beginning, the main characters
 esteem is non-existent, and they their stubbornness, reluctance, and incapability to seehope in moving from Oklahoma in order to seek a new start in California. Perhaps themost important part of the setting is the fact that they have no idea where they wish togo, but only know that they
must 
leave. The whole book is set with a saddeningmindset. Obstacles are placed for the Joad family across the path to their dreams.
 
Al-Qudsi 3Another important factor that stands out in the book is the mixture of characters that presents itself in such an unambiguous way; every single one of themhas a precise and unmovable role within the story. Each character also symbolizes acertain important aspect of the human nature. For example, Tom Jr. symbolizes therebellious spirit found in oppressed beings, human or otherwise, while Granpasymbolizes the reluctance of man (or woman) to be moved from lawful property. Theother family members symbolize different important aspects such as hope, youth,sacrifice, innocence, persistence, admiration, and leadership. The most important of these is sacrifice, which is shown through Casy.The most visibly important link that keeps the family connected and stopsthem from easily moving is Tom Joad Jr. He was originally sentenced to four years inprison after killing a man in self-defense. However, after having behaving well inprison, the officials released him on parole after three years. One of the conditions of his parole stated that he must not leave the state of Oklahoma for a year.As the Joad Family was forced to move reluctantly westward, Tom admittedto his parents the conditions of parole, but the circumstances left no alternatives.Thus, the Joad family moved on westward, already hopeless, and against the law. Thislater played a major role in the novel, for as they moved, their sadness
accumulate,and create an enormous burden that the whole family must join to carry it together.However, as all people are bound to do after carrying the weight of the worldupon their shoulders, Ruthie, at the very young age of 12, dropped her load, andbrought an even greater load when she unwittingly told of her brother
s crimes.Although to most people this would be horrible and they would not be able to take itany more, the Joad
s had already suffered, and because they had a definite purpose intheir minds, one from which it was impossible to shake them from, they went on.

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