The Christian Ideals in The Grapes of Wrath
In Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath one of the themes discussed is the idea of Christian goodness exhibited in the Joads and other migrant workers. Those in the book representing this * "[eat] together with glad and sincere hearts." This type of selfless sharing is a Christian concept of good fellowship. Particularly, Ma shows her caring towards others from the beginning and urges others to do the same. Jim Casy, while struggling with the orthodox view of Christianity, still displays a general concern for his fellow man. Repeatedly the family and others associated sacrifice comfort for the requirements of others. When people are in need, a sacrifice for their behalf makes society more pleasant to inhabit.
Though the Joads do not have much, Ma feels that it is her duty to take care of others during the journey. In order to bring Jim Casy on the trip, she poses the idea that "[it's not] kin we... it's will we." She acknowledges that what they are about to endeavor is beyond their means already and that the decision to bring Casy along will be made for compassion, not ability. Presenting kindness to one's neighbor regardless of one's situation is a key Christian concept. This type of sacrifice soon becomes a standard in the behavior of Ma. Time and again, Ma gives to the others, forgetting her own needs. For the family, she lies with Grandma after her death so that so family can cross the Californian border. She does not complain or think of herself, but only asks 2 them to leave her alone so that she will be able to stay strong. This causes their small hierarchical family's troubles to be eased. She says: "I'm tar'd" because Ma gives her strength to all of them.
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...underlying standard. He believes that he must *"love [his] neighbor" if their world is ever to improve. Sairy Wilson exhibits this perception of Christian ethics by volunteering to help Ma with the task of burying Grandpa. She discerns that "people needs - to help," that by sacrificing for others, people are not only giving themselves a sense of security and unity, but also are setting an example of how others should live.
The Joads go through most of the book not realizing the reality of what they are doing for other people. This instinctive manner in which certain characters, like Ma and Jim Casy, give to others is a basis for Christian ideals. Eventually, all of the Joads develop this devotion. The only way the people can truly help themselves is "to create beyond the single need."
* from the NIV Student Bible- Acts 2:42-47; Leviticus 19:18
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