Free Grapes of Wrath Essays: The Joad's Journey

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The Joad's Journey in The Grapes of Wrath

Throughout history man has made many journeys, both far and wide. Moses’ great march through the Red Sea and Columbus's traversing the Atlantic are examples of only a couple of men’s great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox's run across Canada while fighting cancer is one of these such journeys. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and overcome immense odds, similar to a salmon swimming upstream to full fill it's life line. Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they needed to posses during their travels.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck illustrates the Joad’s endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel. He effectively foreshadows upcoming events by telling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters. He then narrows it down to how it effects the main characters of the novel, which are the Joads. Setting the tone of the novel in the reader’s mind is another function of Steinbeck's intercalary chapters.

In chapter three, Steinbeck immaculately describes the long, tedious journey of a land turtle across a desolate highway. From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many setbacks. Along the way ants, hills, and oak seeds hinder him under his shell. The turtle’s determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck driven by a young man swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle's shell is clipped and he goes flying off the highway, but the turtle does not stop. He struggles back to his belly and keeps driving toward his goal, just as the Joads keep driving toward their goal.

Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many great hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, were the Joads desolated highways. The truck driver represented the Californians, who Buried food and killed livestock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. And their ants and hills were sickness. Even through all of this, the Joads persevered. They were driven by two great motivating powers, poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, "The Garden of Eden.
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