Moving From Me to We in The Grapes of Wrath
The play, The Grapes of Wrath, explores how the Joad family adapts to a new reality, how their concern changes from their own family and problems, to other families and their difficulties, until their concern includes all of the migrants and the larger problems of unemployment and prejudice.
The Joad family’s journey to California results in the breakup of their family. The very first cause of the breakup of the individual family was with the loss of their land. The Joad family had lived there for many generations and had very strong ties to the land. Losing their land was equivalent to losing their family history. This is expressed by “She puts them in her pocket, closes the box, stands and with resignation tosses the box on the fire”(Galati 21). It is very evident that ma is reluctant to let her past go. On their journey they lose their first family member, Grampa Joad. This shows that there is a strong connection between a man and his home. Grampa’s great longing for his homeland ultimately resulted in his death.
The shift from individual thinking to wide spread thinking is most directly seen in the actions of Tom Joad. In the beginning of the play Tom is mainly concerned for his own welfare. He wants to make up for all the things that he missed while in prison. Later on in the play he is more concerned with the welfare of the people. Then finally his thinking had shifted to trying to do what is best for all the migrant people by helping them organize into striking. Casy also had foreseen trouble along the way, but the family still pursued west. When Casy states “I’m all worried up. I been watc...
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...any other people in their situation. In the end, Ma realizes that the family doesn’t come first anymore but anybody who just needs help should come first. Everyone had a shift in thinking - sometimes it takes a tragedy to make you see things in a new and different way.
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