Old Testament Connections from Grapes of Wrath

Old Testament Connections from Grapes of Wrath

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John Steinbeck makes many Biblical allusions in his book The Grapes of Wrath. Many of these connections are on a small layer, perhaps applying to only one individual. Jim Casy, the Christ figure, is one example of an allusion from the New Testament. However, the whole book can be seen as a Biblical allusion to the story of the Exodus and the life of Moses. Not only does the story of the fictional Joad family relate to the Exodus, but the story of the Okies and the great migration that took place during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. This compelling story of the migrants can be divided into three parts: the oppression, the exodus, and the Promised Land.
The chronicle of the Exodus begins with the Hebrews being enslaved to the Egyptians. Because of this, God sent ten plagues to Egypt. After the tenth plague, the pharaoh agreed to let the Hebrews become free and their journey across the desert is known as the Exodus. Thus the modern word exodus refers to any mass migration or departure of a large group of people. The excursion of the migrant workers can be described as a modern day exodus (compared to time-period of the Biblical story). Like the Hebrews, the Joad family and the rest of the migrants end up fleeing from their oppressors, which happens to be the banks. The period of time when the Okies use Route 66 as a way to move cross-country is the true exodus of the story, as it is a migration of a people. The migrants reaching California can be compared to the Hebrews finally reaching the Promised Land of Israel.
Not only does the book relate to the movement of the Israelites, but also to the legendary man who lead them: Moses. Christians, Jews, and Muslims consider Moses a great prophet. One reference to Moses comes when Uncle John puts Rose of Sharon’s baby in the river. This is much like the life of Moses, when he is sent down the Nile River as a child.

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