The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that in my opinion illustrates the terrible conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930's were forced to live under. This novel in a very descriptive and emotional way tells of one family's migration west to California from Oklahoma (the Joad family) through the great economic depression of the 1930's. The story revolves around the family having to abandon their home and their livelihood. They had to uproot and set out across America to California because tractors were very quickly industrializing their farms, and the bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off their loan. The novel shows how the Joad's deal with moving to California. How they survive the unbelievable cruelty of the land owners that take advantage of them, their poverty, and their willingness to work for almost nothing just to survive.
The Grapes of Wrath opens with a terrible description of nature gone bad. It shows men and women that are unbroken by nature. I think the theme is one of man verses a hostile and cruel environment. Kind of like his body being destroyed, but his spirit hasn't been broken.
In my obviously laymen's opinion, I think the method Steinbeck used to develop the theme of the novel was through the use of symbolism. To illustrate my opinion, take a look at the several uses of symbols in the novel, from the turtle at the beginning, to the rain at the end. As each symbol is presented through the book, they show examples of the good and the bad things that exist within the story.
The opening chapter paints a vivid picture of the situation facing the drought-st...
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...ough the novel, they come together at the end to paint a clear picture of the conditions, treatment and feelings of the people as they make their journey over the country, on their way to the California.
The Grapes of wrath contains many examples of symbolism. The real point that the reader needs to understand is that Steinbeck's use of that symbolism adds greatly to the richness of the story itself. I feel that Steinbeck used symbolism as a vehicle to make his novel much more involving for the reader, and in the final analysis it's the effectiveness of that symbolism that makes the story so dramatic.
Lavoy, Calvin. "Steinbeck"s The Grapes of Wrath:" Essays in Criticism, Steinbeck Essay Series, no. 3 (1993).
Thomas, Susan. "Re-discovering Steinbeck, Edited by Susan Thomas and Robert Crane," vol. 2, no. 1. (1991
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