Biblical Allusions And Imagery In Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath



John Steinbeck always makes it a point to know about his subjects
first hand. His stories always have some factual basis behind them.
Otherwise, he does not believe that they will be of any value beyond
artistic impression. Therefore, most of his novels take place in
California, the site of his birth and young life. In preparation for
writing his novels, Steinbeck would often travel with people about whom he
was going to write. The Grapes of Wrath was no exception to his other
works. To prepare for it, he joined migrants in Oklahoma and rode with
them to California. When he got to California, he lived with them, joining
them in their quest for work. By publishing these experiences ...

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a bestseller and receive
countless awards, his book was banned in many schools and libraries.
However, critics never attacked The Grapes of Wrath on the artistic level
and they still consider it a beautifully mastered work of art. More than
any other American novel, it successfully embodies a contemporary social
problem of national scope in an artistically viable expression.1 In The
Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck utilizes Biblical imagery and allusions to
illustrate the struggle of the Joad family as a direct parallel with that
of the Hebrew people.
Steinbeck bolsters the strength of structure and character
development in the book through Biblical allusions and imagery. Peter
Lisca has noted that the novel reflects the three-part division of the Old
Testament exodus account which includes captivity, journey, and the
promised land.2 The Joads' story is a direct parallel with that of the
Hebrews. Just as the Hebrews were captives of the Pharaoh, the Joads' are
captives ...

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just as Ananias did. Both characters are similar in their selfish
desires and they each undergo a moment of grace when they admit to their
sins thus becoming closer to God.
Lewis suggests that Tom Joad is an illuminating example of what
Steinbeck considers to be the picaresque saint.7 Tom also serves as a
Moses-type leader of the people as they journey toward the promised land.
Like Moses, he has killed a man and had been away for a time before
rejoining his people and becoming their leader. Like Moses he has a
younger brother(Aaron-Al) who serves as a medium for the leader. Shortly
before reaching the destination, he hears and rejects the evil reports of
those who have visited ...

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Added: 6/9/2005 03:07:51 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1675
Pages: 7

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