John Steinbeck's epic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, chronicles the struggles of the Joads as they join the thousands of fellow "Okies" in a mass migration westward. The Joads reluctantly leave behind their Oklahoma farm in search of work and food in California. While Steinbeck writes profoundly and emotionally about the political problems of the Great Depression, his characters also show evidence of a deep concern with spirituality. When they feel hopeless and are uncertain about their immediate future, their concentration on religion dwindles. On the other hand, when they leave their home, the Joads regain spiritual faith; they have something to live for: California. Once they arrive and find only more difficulties, they lose their sense that better things are ahead of them and gravitate back towards thinking politically. However, they finally return to the source of their original faith--religion-- at their most desperate time.
One of the first characters Steinbeck introduces (after Tom Joad) is the former preacher Jim Casy, who questions his own faith in his initial conversation with Tom: "Ain't got the call [to preach] no more. Got a lot of sinful idears-but they seem kinda sensibleThe sperit's strong in me, on'y it ain't the sameHere I got the sperit sometimes an' nothin' to preach about. I got the call to lead the people, an' no place to lead 'em" (Steinbeck 20-21). His skepticism precludes him from preaching. He still recognizes the importance of his religion, but he is no longer sure of its role in the times of hopelessness. Casy could not preach when neither he nor those to whom he preached had a purpose. When guided by a goal, though, he pro...
... middle of paper ...
...gles with their own faith in the midst of hunger, poverty, homelessness and loss of family are enlightening, and can inspire people who are not in that terrible situation to reconsider themselves.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
Conder, John J. "Steinbeck and Nature's Self: The Grapes of Wrath." John Steinbeck, Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. 125-140.
French, Warren. John Steinbeck. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1975.
Levant, Howard. "The Fully Matured Art: The Grapes of Wrath." John Steinbeck, Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. 35-62.
Lojek, Helen. "Jim Casy: Politico of the New Jerusalem." Steinbeck Quarterly, Winter-Spring 1982. 30-37.
The New American Bible, Gospel of John. 23:34. New York: The Catholic Press, 1976.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Power of Religion in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck's epic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, chronicles the struggles of the Joads as they join the thousands of fellow "Okies" in a mass migration westward. The Joads reluctantly leave behind their Oklahoma farm in search of work and food in California. While Steinbeck writes profoundly and emotionally about the political problems of the Great Depression, his characters also show evidence of a deep concern with spirituality. When they feel hopeless and are uncertain about their immediate future, their concentration on religion dwindles.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
2419 words (6.9 pages)
- ... Immediately the waitress Mae being a stereotype and thinking he was trying to trick her said that the bread was for making sandwiches only. In response the man says that he needs the bread to feed his children because it’s a long road ahead of them to California. The waitress then tells him that if they sell bread their going run out to make sandwiches. The man then tells her that he’s hungry but needs to make a dime do all of his family. This gets Mae to change her reaction and change her mind because she’s starting to feel more and more sympathy for the man.... [tags: great depression, behavior]
651 words (1.9 pages)
- John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath Throughout his book, the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck employs the principles of Foucault’s theory that power exists as a result of consent. This is particularly the case in the relations between the Joad family. Chapter ten includes specific scenes in which the family members’ assumed positions of power are focused on and explained. When Jim Casy asks if he can accompany the Joads on their migratory trip to California, Ma looks to Tom to speak, “because he [is] a man”.... [tags: John Steinbeck Grapes Wrath Essays]
512 words (1.5 pages)
- John Steinbeck wrote a book, The Grapes of Wrath, which would change forever the way Americans, thought about their social classes and even their own families. The novel was completed in 1938 and then published in 1939. When this novel was released the critics saw it as being very controversial. Some critics called it a master piece, while others called it pornography. Steinbeck's attack of the upper-class and the readers' inability to distinguish the fictitiousness of the book often left his readers disgruntled.... [tags: John Steinbeck]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- A clear concept in John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath was the way families were run. At the beginning of the twentieth century, men led the family. They made the decisions and they made the money for the family while the women worked behind the scenes and kept everything going. What the men did not realize, or did not want to recognize, was that the women were the ones who were really in control. Though they did not take credit for it, they were the ones who bought and cooked the food the men ate, bore and reared the children the men helped create, and did everything they could to make a better life for themselves and their families.... [tags: John Steinbeck, Grapes Of Wrath,]
1054 words (3 pages)
- Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck In the twenty-fifth chapter of his novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck presents the reader with a series of vivid images, accompanied by a series of powerful indictments. Steinbeck effectively uses both the potent imagery and clear statements of what he perceives as fact to convey his message. This short chapter offers a succinct portrayal of one of the major themes of the larger work. Namely, the potential bounty of nature corrupted and left to rot by a profit-driven system, a system that ultimately fails.... [tags: Grapes Wrath John Steinbeck Papers]
2623 words (7.5 pages)
- The Powerful Images of The Grapes of Wrath In the Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck has achieved an interesting effect by breaking the narrative at intervals with short, impressionistic passages recorded as though by a motion picture camera moving quickly from one scene to another and from one focus to another. The novel is a powerful indictment of our capitalistic economy and a sharp criticism of the southwestern farmer for his imprudence in the care of his land. The outstanding feature of the Grapes of Wrath is its photographically detailed, if occasionally sentimentalized description of the American farmers of the Dust Bowl in the midthirties of the twentieth century.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
999 words (2.9 pages)
- Steinbeck's Faulty Logic in The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath chronicles the destruction and chaos of the lives of the dust bowl victims and their families. The classic novel works on two levels. On the one hand, it is the story of a family, how it reacts, and how it is unsettled by a serious problem threatening to overwhelm it. On the other hand, the story is an appeal to political leaders that when the common working-class is put upon too harshly, they will revolt. In this aspect it is a social study which argues for a utopia-like society where the powerful owners of the means of production will be replaced by a more communal and egalitarian community l... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
1058 words (3 pages)
- Ma Joad in the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck In the 1930s, America’s Great Plains experienced a disastrous drought causing thousands of people to migrate west. As their land was devastated by the Dust Bowl, deprived farmers were left with few options but to leave. The Grapes of Wrath depicts the journey of the Joads, an Oklahoma based family which decides to move to California in search of better conditions.... [tags: Grapes Wrath Steinbeck]
1030 words (2.9 pages)
- The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, is a novel depicting life during the Dust Bowl, while The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller is a semi-fiction version of the Salem Witch Trials. Despite these vast differences they both share three main character dependant themes. The sorrow of regret, the destruction of one’s religion, and the greed of some at the expense of many. The sadness that emits from sorrow is one of the main occurrences in these novels. The Crucible is a story about a false accusation of civilians committing witchcraft which ends up creating massive hysteria due to the trials having a misled judge.... [tags: Comparative, John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller]
1522 words (4.3 pages)