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Grapes of Wrath Essay: Steinbeck's Themes of Strength and Sacrifice

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Themes of Strength and Sacrifice in The Grapes of Wrath,


In Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Ma Joad and Rose of Sharon graphically portray the themes of strength and sacrifice.  They are universal characters, the people who make up the fabric of society in every nation.  Through them we understand the need for unity and we feel the desperation of the billions of laborers who struggle every day just to survive.

            Throughout the story Ma is a model of the strength of the human spirit.  For example, Steinbeck says of her, "if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone".  She is the foundation upon which the rest of the family stands.  Just as when a single driblet of dye is dropped into a glass of water and disperses throughout, her strength permeates to the rest of the family, infusing them with her mightiness.  Also, when the Wilson’s car breaks down and Pa proposes splitting up just for a short time until the car is repaired she threatens him with a jack handle.  She knows that all they have in the world is each other and without each other to hold on to they have nothing.  There is a saying "one finds comfort in numbers" however in this case "comfort" is replaced with survival.  In addition, near the end of the book, when the boxcars have flooded and it seems all hope has been lost Ma leads the family to higher ground.  Despite the despair she feels she overcomes it to do what must be done to insure that they survive to live another day.  Her strength gives her the power rise above adve...

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...s of people they exploit.  They are in fact lower than those they consider subordinate.

1.      Your thesis statement appears at the beginning of your paper.  Thesis statements generally come at the end of the introductory paragraph. 

2.      Be sure to cite your quotes with the name of the author and the page number on which the exact quote can be found.  “Blah” (Steinbeck 13).

3.      You have good conclusion paragraph.  You combine the strength of the characters and apply it to the world today.

4.      Overall, you have a strong paper, just be sure to support your writing with quotes from the novel.  You have one good quote but a quote to support the paragraph on Rose of Sharon would have strengthened your paper. 


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