The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, a remarkable novel that greatly embodied the entire uprisal of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. The usage of imagery and symbolism help to support his many different themes running through the course of the novel. His use of language assisted in personifying the many trials and tribulations which the Joad family, and the rest of the United States, was feeling at the time. This was a time of great confusion and chaos because no one really knew what the other was going through, they were all just trying to hold their own. To display the many sides of the depression Steinbeck developed the use of intercallorie chapters, and he also manipulated them to posses many other functions; all of these adding to the many images and themes which he was insistent upon getting across to his readers, using a vast collection of techniques.
One of Steinbeck’s favorite uses of language was the use of imagery. He used colors, animals, and people as his main sources of imagery. The most reoccurring images of color were red and grey. He used this to develop the reader into sensing the harshness, and yet the incredible dullness of the scenery, using red as the sun and grey as the land, at times interchanging. “In the grey sky a red sun appeared, a dim red circle that gave a little light, like dusk; and as that day advanced the dusk slipped back toward darkness, and the wind cried and whimpered over the fallen corn”(5). Steinbeck used his color imagery to display the almost separation of the two different worlds between the land, symbolically and literally.“ …the grey country and the dark red country began to disappear under a green cover”(3). His use of red and grey represent the slow wearing away of the land and its people. “The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country, and white in the grey country.” This shows the way the earth was washed out and dimming under the abuse of the cotton farming, which stripped the land. Later in the story, Steinbeck continued his use of simple color imagery, typically describing the sun, dust and light. “…there was a layer of dust in the bed, and the hood was covered in dust, and the headlights were obscured with a red flour. The sun was setting w...
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... Joads were taking to California was similar to the journey that the Jewish people made to the promised land, however California did not hold the opportunity that was promised, and many people left. Jim Casey is often compared to Jesus Christ, leading his 12 deciples to the promised land. For one he did not lead the family-Ma Joad did. He also was not leading them out of a belief in himself of anyother mystical idea. He just joined them for the ride. Another thing is, is that although Jim Casey died for his cause he did not preach anything remotely similar to Jesus Christ, unless that was the point-he was supposed to represent a neo-Jesus, and did not do his pilgrimage the same way. Basically, while their were many symbols along the way for the story to be taken as a allegory, it seems silly that it would be due to the fact that it would take away the powerfulness of the book. Many readers do not want to have to take the journey of the Joad’s and flip it all around and ruin it so that it becomes allegorical to others. It seems better and much more effective to society that The Grapes of Wrath is an allegory to life’s journeys and is a powerful representation of the time period.
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