T

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"The Grapes of Wrath" is one of a trio of novels written about the lives of migrant workers in California during the 1930s as seen through the eyes of John Steinbeck. As the story unfolds in the midst of the Great Depression, the characters are reacting to the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. However, the setting constantly shifts as the highlighted Joad family travel through Route 66 and Central California including Bakersfield, Hooverville, Weedpatch and Tulare. The conversational language is presented in a realistic form although there are many uses of stylistic elements. Two types of dialogue, figurative language like metaphors and similes, hyperbole, motif and personification are all present. Inter-chapters foreshadow personal tragedies of main characters while symbolism adds dimension to an already complex story. Specifically, a theme regarding land permeates the Joads' lives. Land is value. Besides its obvious monetary worth, there is intrinsic value in a man's connection to the land and his worth as a human being. John Steinbeck points to Jeffersonian agrarianism as the motivating force in the human struggle of class conflicts and money in his novel,"The Grapes of Wrath."
The simplicity of the land is rooted in every migrant worker that has discovered its true value. This idea goes along with the theory of Jeffersonian agrarianism: "a way of living that is intricately tied to one's love and respect of land." Tom is drawn back to the land where he knows his family belongs. He does not feel at home until he feels the dust between his toes which helps him to feel reconnected to his roots. "He leaned down and untied the laces, slipped off first one shoe then the other. And he worked his damp fee...

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...milies, can the lone family become whole again to survive upcoming obstacles. Sharing the same love of the land, this understanding fosters their ability to survive any hostility from the priviledged class. John Steinbeck's love for the migrant worker in "The Grapes of Wrath" is not lost on this reader. My grandfather, in the Philippines, was greatly respected because of the land that he owned, not for the monetary value associated with it. For many, the value of a man and his status in the community is reflected by the land that he owns. Steinbeck describes it best in his symbolic reference to a horse versus a tractor. No mechanical power that is found in the tractor can equal the life force of a horse. So, too, nothing can compare to the productiveness that comes from a love of the land. Isolation from the land will only cause unwanted deadness of that life force.

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