The Grapes Of Wrath: Symbolic Characters



Struggling through such things as the depression, the Dust Bowl summers,
and trying to provide for their own families, which included finding somewhere
to travel to where life would be safe. Such is the story of the Joads. The
Joads were the main family in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, a book which
was written in order to show what a family was going through, at this time
period, and how they were trying to better their lives at the same time. It
wouldn't be enough for Steinbeck to simply write this story in very plain terms,
as anyone could have simply logged an account of events and published it.
Critics have argued, however, that Steinbeck was too artificial in his ways ...

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was to appeal to the common Midwesterner at that
time. The best way to go about doing this was to focus on one of the two things
that nearly all migrants had in common, which was religion and hardships.
Steinbeck creates a story about the journey of a family and mirrors it to that
of biblical events. The entire family, in themselves, were like the Israelites.
"They too flee from oppression, wander through the wilderness of hardships,
seeking their own Promised Land" (Shockley, 91). Unfortunately, although the
Israelites were successful, the Joads never really found what they could
consider to be a promised land. They were never lucky enough to really satisfy
their dreams of living a comfortable life. But, they were still able to improve
on their situation.
Another symbolic character that was undoubtedly more religious than
anyone else taking the journey was Jim Casy. He was a preacher that was picked
up along the way by the Joads. Steinbeck manages to squeeze in a lot ...

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Joad, even more
Christian symbolism is seen. Tom Joad is almost a direct fit for the story of
the "prodigal son" from the bible. He is the son that must lead everyone across
in a great journey, while symbolically already wandering from the favor of God
by killing a man in self-defense. Tom must find a way to forget about this
event and continue to keep his goal of getting to California (and his Promised
Land) in sight. He understands that he must stay determined and persevere
because he is an example and a leader to his family and he cannot allow any
internal event to slow him down.
Rose of Sharon, the daughter of the family, also has a very religious
connotation; her religious ...

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Added: 1/14/2008 05:55:49 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 2893
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