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Through the "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and The Grapes of Wrath, Springsteen and Steinbeck, in their respective works, comment on the state of social distress and despondency existent within their individual societies.

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Introduction

Tim Flynn English 3 Honors Comparative Essay Period 8 Through the "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and The Grapes of Wrath, Springsteen and Steinbeck, in their respective works, comment on the state of social distress and despondency existent within their individual societies. Through making parallels with the depression related issues of the 1930's addressed by Steinbeck and those of the early 1990's recession, Springsteen connects the people and social quandaries of both time periods to remark on the necessity of man's spirit. To this end, through investigating each work's characterization of human resolve and unification, employment of Tom Joad and Jim Casy to embody man's spirit, and similar social atmosphere, the connection between the thematic force of the novel and Springsteen's subsequent writing is made evident. Throughout his lyrics, Springsteen consistently parallels ideas presented by Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath in order to exhibit past American spirit in social struggles and the need for such resolve to engender change in his own time. Springsteen achieves this rhythmically through keeping the refrain in a constant ABAB rhyme scheme and other stanzas in an AABB rhyme scheme; this provides a consistency and repetition in the speaker's message to the reader, and links his own dilemma in "Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad" (R), or man's spirit, to the overall plight of the people made evident the non-refrain stanzas. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, both works use the characters of Tom Joad and Jim Casy as vehicles for expressing the spirit the destitute need to attain in dealing with their troubles. Through juxtaposing images of the impoverished with those of his own introspection, the speaker (who is himself needy) makes evident the importance of what the characters of Tom Joad and Casy embody and how that representation is needed in society. Throughout the work, the speaker gives various descriptions of the downtrodden American " Shelter line stretchin' 'round the corner" (5), "Families sleepin' in their cars in the Southwest, No home no job no peace no rest" (7-8), "Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock, Bathing in the city aqueduct" (15-16). These descriptions, inter-cut with the refrain of "Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad" (R), "Waitin' on the ghost of Tom Joad" (R) quite clearly show the speaker's desire for a change in condition and will. Moreover, when scrutinizing the diction that references Tom Joad as a "ghost" the absence of his spirit from humanity is made apparent; a spirit both Springsteen and Steinbeck find paramount in ending the plight of the destitute. Springsteen furthers this point in referencing Tom's saying "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy, Wherever a hungry newborn cries, Where there's a fight 'gainst blood and hatred in the ...read more.

Conclusion

The president's promising that " the prospect of a new world order" would utilize "the principles of justice and fair play [to] protect the weak against the strong..." is denoted with sarcasm by Springsteen lyrics saying " Shelter line stretchin' 'round the corner, Welcome to the new world order"(5-6). Springsteen utilizes a dire description of the disposed in 1990's America (as well as 1930's) through saying "No home no job no rest" (8) in order to exemplify their strife and the need for change. Steinbeck's describing the "Three hundred thousand, hungry and miserable; if they should ever know themselves, the land will be theirs..."(325) typifies the idea Springsteen is trying to get across; that if the disposed of his time attain a renewed will, they can engender change and end their strife. Both the "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and The Grapes of Wrath exhibit commentary on the social conditions of their time and the need for change among the people. Though the afore mentioned works have been written in vastly different eras, they comment on very similar social climates. Through creating parallels in the characterization of humanity, using Tom Joad and Jim Casy to embody that characterization and recognizing social similarities between the two time periods, Springsteen generates a work that calls for the return of the human spirit to a despondent society in the same vein Steinbeck does in The Grapes of Wrath. ...read more.

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