An analysis of themes in the grapes of wrath by john steinbeck

Throughout the book, establishments and technological advances are shown to corrupt the humans behind them.

grapes of wrath characters

This also leads to confrontation between the law enforcing agencies as Tom confronts the cop at the Colorado River. Just as all people must come to know their place in the "oversoul" of the human family, so must people recognize that all life, physical and spiritual, is holy.

In presenting such an event, he shows that life is a mixture of both cruel and beautiful things. The arc of the Joad family shows, on one hand, a cohesive unit whose love and support of one another keeps them from abandoning hope. Along with industrialization, the creation of high-powered machines has enabled corporate interests to move laborers off the land and render them irrelevant.

When the men pull into the peach farm and begin to realize how difficult the work will be, Ma still believes that soon the Joads will save enough money to buy a house with some land. The journey of Tom from a selfish young man to a person with the desire to help his community is a journey from selfishness to altruism.

They do this in differing ways. They elect their own managers and police, and they can either pay or work for their rent.

grapes of wrath theme essay

They cannot escape the elements and are barely able to eat. In the Hoovervilles some people lived in boxes and others in cars or tents.

An analysis of themes in the grapes of wrath by john steinbeck

The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream. At every turn, Steinbeck seems intent on showing their dignity and honor; he emphasizes the importance of maintaining self-respect in order to survive spiritually. He also spent time with the radical writer Lincoln Steffens and his wife Ella Winter. At the hands of greedy landowners, people like the Joads lead pitiful and difficult lives. Tom becomes the head of the family once they reach California. Migrating to California meant starting all over again. The attendant, in turn, insults the Joads and hesitates to help them. Only then are people willing to share, because people as a whole are fundamentally greedy. The mass exodus of the families from Oklahoma toward California suffering from hunger and thirst on the way also reflects the collective experience. Yet it is at this moment Chapter 30 that the family manages to rise above hardship to perform an act of unsurpassed kindness and generosity for the starving man, showing that the Joads have not lost their sense of the value of human life.

Putting everything they own into a truck, the Joad family leaves Oklahoma for California. It is because of the difficulties and hardships that they face during the journey.

Grapes of wrath sparknotes

This mentality is evident both in the general narrative chapters and in the chapters that deal specifically with the Joads and their direct acquaintances. Nowhere is this more evident than at the end of the novel. All the same, Muley Graves remains on his land, in spite of regular run-ins with law enforcement. Run forever. And many more migrants in search of the American Dream were headed west, as well. Even as they face immense difficulties in their everyday lives -- work is not easy to find, food is expensive, and they are frequently forced to move from one place to another -- they maintain this positive outlook. When the men pull into the peach farm and begin to realize how difficult the work will be, Ma still believes that soon the Joads will save enough money to buy a house with some land. With displacement comes a shift in gender roles and responsibilities as various tenant families face hardships during migration from Oklahoma to California. The nature of anger is also a central theme in the book. Rather, the Joads and the Okie community receive the cruelest treatment from those most capable of helping them: more fortunate individuals, typically ones who wield institutional power. Putting everything they own into a truck, the Joad family leaves Oklahoma for California. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

The deepest and most moving example of this is the final scene of the book, where Rosasharn breastfeeds a dying man, still willing to help another despite her own losses.

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The Grapes of Wrath Themes