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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fund 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 ...

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Added: 3/21/2006 09:38:42 PM
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