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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 486 words

Grapes of Wrath Analysis.

Extracts from this essay...


Eric Aronsohn Period 3 3/23/03 Grapes of Wrath Analysis Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath offers many windows on real life in Midwest America in the 1930s. But it also offers a powerful social commentary, both directly in structure and indirectly in characters. Typical of very many, the Joads are driven off the land by far away banks and set out on a journey to California to find a better life. However the journey tears the family apart. Their dreams of fortune and prosperity are reduced to the simple desire to stay a family.


The truth of the journey contains wounded characters: the despairing Muley Graves, the strange Noah and the obsessed Uncle John, a one-eyed man filled with self-pity, the typical Mae serving in a Highway 66 cafe and the hell-bent vigilantes and deputies. This realism reaches a strange, even melodramatic nadir in the final scene of the novel. Such social realism crafts a point: to illustrate the depth of poverty and exploitation Americans were suffering. To structure the novel as a journey has many advantages. Not only do characters develop but the settings change too; New views are portrayed with every different settings and so can gain a more comprehensive view of the impact of economic forces on the travelers.


The journey gives the reader various principles as sub-plots to complement the main thesis. The theme of puzzlement and despair is shadowed in dialogue; when the fat man near Paden (135) says: "Well I don't know what the country's comin' to", he represents an entire nation of similar fears and thoughts. The Grapes of Wrath dramatizes that fury of the evicted. With strong Biblical overtones, Steinbeck's rather strident and earnest tone projects his rather social philosophy. Steinbeck demonstrates that the path to justice and serenity is rough and never sure; that life is filled with trials and troubles but in the end the wrath of a dislocated people will win God's justice at the time of final judgment, when justice is most important.

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