Man's relationship to the land undergoes a transformation throughout John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Initially, back in Oklahoma, each family feels a strong attachment to the land because the ancestors of these farmers fought and cleared the Indians out of the land, made it suitable for farming, and worked year after year in the fields so that each generation would be provided for. Passing down the land to successive generations, the farmers come to realize that the land is all that they own. It is their family's source of sustenance. However, the strong bond between man and the land is broken when the bank comes to vacate the tenants during hard times.
The tractors hired by the bank literally tear down the bond between man and the land. Due to the eviction, the farmers are forced to move to California, where work is supposedly in demand. As each family takes off for California, it no longer feels a connection to the lands through which it is traveling. Once it reaches California, it feels no connection to its land. For the first time, it is forced to be dependent on somebody else's generosity in distributing jobs, and most importantly, somebody else's land. Thus, in California, the relationship between man and land is not as strong as it was in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The change in this relationship is due in part to the mercilessness of the bank, and in the end, man loses because its connection to the only significant thing it has ever owned is gone. Once the families travel to California, each family member's soul stays back in Oklahoma, making it difficult to adjust to working on lands that have not been cultivated by their own family for generations.
The land of each generatio...
... middle of paper ...
...job, but instead, little is offered, because of the numbers that they are coming in. Ultimately, one must conclude that no matter how poor a family may be, without land, all is lost in pursuit of a replacement of the heritage that has been destroyed by a superior power.
Works Cited and Consulted:
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.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Books, 1978.
Wallsten, Robert and Steinbeck, Elaine. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. New York: The Viking Press, 1975.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Grapes of Wrath: Bonds With the Land To human beings, environment is vital. After spending a number of years in one place, it is very human to become attached. This is especially true with farmers. They spend their lives learning the land around them. The land becomes a friend to them, having almost human value. In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, author John Steinbeck conveys the connection people have with their land, without which they feel they cannot survive mentally or physically.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
496 words (1.4 pages)
- The bright colors and nice shirts all grab your attention at the store, but how did the cotton, grain, or wheat in the products come to be. In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, mechanization brings capitalism and other unintended consequences, leads to the decision for land owners of whether to run a business using greed or virtue, and separates the working class. Steinbeck starts The Grapes of Wrath by showing the Joad family who had just been removed from their farm. The Joads are one family of a monstrous number of families to be removed from their farms.... [tags: farm, tractors, land owners]
1326 words (3.8 pages)
- The Great Depression and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath Though most Americans are aware of the Great Depression of 1929, which may well be "the most serious problem facing our free enterprise economic system", few know of the many Americans who lost their homes, life savings and jobs. This paper briefly states the causes of the depression and summarizes the vast problems Americans faced during the eleven years of its span. This paper primarily focuses on what life was like for farmers during the time of the Depression, as portrayed in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and tells what the government did to end the Depression.... [tags: John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath]
1699 words (4.9 pages)
- 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)
- The Power of The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck has become one of my favorite writers -- for the love he has for his characters, the loveliness of his language, and the clear-eyed conviction with which he writes. Originally, I failed to see the beauty in Steinbeck's people, though it is plainly there. Perhaps I hadn't seen enough of the world myself, yet. There was a lot I didn't understand about people. What Steinbeck does so well is to show people's struggle for simple human decency in the face of meanness and ignorance.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
1104 words (3.2 pages)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck What does it take for one to achieve the American dream. What kinds of struggles does one need to overcome to achieve their goals in life. In the classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, you can follow the Joad family in the pursuit to their dreams and the difficulties they faced and overcame. The Joad family faced numerous conflicts including; men, society, nature, and him/herself but overcame many to keep pushing them towards their dream; to go to California and find a better life.... [tags: Steinbeck Grapes Wrath]
1007 words (2.9 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)