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What similarities can you find between Cormac McCarthys The Road and John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath?

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Introduction

What similarities can you find between Cormac McCarthy's The Road and John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath? The opening of The Road immediately captures the dark mood of the novel. "Nights dark beyond darkness and days more gray each one than what had gone before." This sentence suggests the desolation of the world. Grapes of Wrath similarly starts off with the author describing in vivid detail the setting of the novel. He emphasises the importance of nature and how it can affect the lives of people and force them to become helpless victims. Both authors use compound sentences linked by the coordinating conjunction 'and' to create a deliberately flat style and one reflecting the bleak world the characters find themselves in.

Middle

Both these descriptions seem to be very negative and give the opening of both novels an ominous mood. The weather portrays the situation in both novels. Lots of visual and descriptive imagery is used in both novels. The colour "gray" is used frequently and it is very effective as it reflects a world torn up. Another similarity between the novels is that the landscapes in both novels are laden with dust. Vivid descriptions of nature are also noticeable in both novels. Steinbeck creates very ambiguous imagery in his descriptions of nature. For example he writes "the corn fought the wind with its weakened leaves". The use of pathetic fallacy here seems to suggest that nature has purpose. Another common literary device used by both authors is repetition.

Conclusion

In both novels nature is described to be deprived of life. McCarthy says "birchtrees...stood bone pale" and "twisted stumps, gray and weathered". On the other hand Steinbeck writes "wind cried and whimpered over the fallen corn" and "The weeds frayed and edged back toward their roots". It is clear here that both authors seem to be portraying a world without life and with little significance. To conclude, both authors immediately create a foreboding atmosphere in the opening of their novels by skilfully using visual imagery and as well metaphorical language. Steinbeck goes one step further and adds personification in this writing to create a morbid feeling to his novel. The use of pathetic fallacy also adds to show the bleak and sinister atmosphere. The use of "dust" and "ash" also appear in both novels. Both authors use visual imagery to highlight the extent of the desolation of the wasteland they are describing.

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