Business and Morals in Literature Essays

Business and Morals in Literature Essays

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History is nothing more than a record of people committing or overcoming injustices. As former United States attorney general, Robert Francis Kennedy, explains “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” In The Grapes of Wrath, John Stein beck illustrates the consequences that arise when people forget their obligation to one another.
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel that tells of a families struggling to survive during the 1930 dust bowl in America. The novel focuses on the Joad family’s journey to California in search of work. On their search, they encounter fellow migrant workers who have fallen victim to big business and an uncontrollable capitalist agenda. Steinbeck explains “[the banks] breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat.” (Steinbeck 5) Bank owners, businessmen, and landowners monopolized industry, abandoning majority of America homeless, hungry for food and opportunity. Famine and a weak market tore humble families apart while a handful of men ruthlessly profited from their misery. As the Joad’s journey continues, Steinbeck clarifies the fatal flaw the owners possess “For the quality of owning freezes you forever into “I”, and cuts off forever from the “we”.”(Steinbeck 206) Capitalism itself is not morally wrong. The competitive spirit is an innate quality found in everyone. Without it, our will to survive would be nonexistent. However, there is a clear distinction between ambition and greed. The time when people disregard their moral responsi...


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...they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it.”(LeGuin) Modern day societies, like Omelas, avoid taking action because it is “reality”. The migrant worker settled for pennies because it was their reality, replacing humans with technology was reality; the principles of business override morals because that was reality.



Works Cited

King, Martin Luther. “A Letter From Birmingham Jail”. Cohen, Samuel S. 50 Essays: a Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. Print.
LeGuin, Ursula K. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas." Harel's Corner. Web. 17 Jan. 2011. .
Plato. “The Allegory of the Cave”. Cohen, Samuel S. 50 Essays: a Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. Print.
Steinbeck, John, and Robert J. DeMott. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 1992. Print.

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