“Grapes of Wrath” begins with Tom Joad, recently released from prison, meeting Jim Casey, an ex-preacher who believes that holiness is not to be found within the confines of a church but rather in the shared human experience. They team up together and join his family on their expedition across the country in a rickety truck. The family faces trauma after trauma, foreshadowed by the death of their dog right at the start. Both grandparents quickly pass away, Tom’s younger and pregnant sister ...
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...continue his dream. Both grief and compassion are transformative experiences, and this novel keeps that idea in the readers’ heads throughout every chapter.
The California that the Joads knew was both an environmental and spiritual desert. Man against man, brother against brother, all everything conspired against happiness in favor of bitter reality. The mournful tone brings the prose along like a dirge. However, there is dignity in suffering together, a dignity that the Joads possessed in spades. In simply surviving and doing the best they could, this family was sanctified. In carrying on and recognizing their value, they transformed their own lives and the lives of many of those whose paths they crossed. When facing endless animosity, Tom sought togetherness, to improve a situation. A transformation began inside of him, and he transferred it to his fellow man.
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