Hope and Endurance in The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath in response to the Great Depression. Steinbeck's intentions were to publicize the movements of a fictional family affected by the Dust Bowl that was forced to move from their homestead. Also a purpose of Steinbeck's was to criticize the hard realities of a dichotomized American society.
The Great Depression was brought about through various radical economic practices and greatly affected the common man of America. Although all Americans were faced with the same fiscal disparity, a small minority began to exploit those in distress. Along the trek westward from Oklahoma, the Joad family met a grand multitude of adversity. However, this adversity was counteracted with a significant amount of endurance exhibited by the Joads and by generalized citizens of America.
A magnanimous amount of motivation for the tenant farmers was generally found in the self, in an individualistic manner. As "gentle (winds) followed the rain clouds," furthering the magnitude of the dust storms, the survival of the farmers and their families soon became doubtful. The men would sit in "the doorways of their houses; their hands were busy with sticks and little rocks... (as they) sat still--thinking--figuring." The adversity represented by the weather was hindered by the idea that man could triumph over nature--over the machine--and retain a sense of self-identity.
Another sense of the attempt to retain a moralistic self-identity and persevere through the obstacles present was the reaction had by the tenant farmers when forced to move off their land. Standing in conflict with "the cat,"--the destr...
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..., saying "I'll be ever'where--wherever you look. Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there...an' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build--why, I"ll be there."
The exploitation of "Okies" continued but was haltered by unions and organizations such as those Tom Joad planned to lead. Being faced with several accounts of adversity coming not only from the national and eventually global economic depression, the farmers of America had only one chance to subsist, and that was to maintain a sense of endurance. This sense was evident in several actions of the Joad family during their trek to California and the actions taken by general farmers of America as their "grapes of wrath (began) ...growing heavy for the vintage."
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