Theme of Strength Through Unity in The Grapes of Wrath
The traditional human family represents a necessary transition between self and community. In the difficult era of the 1930's, the family's role shifted to guard against a hostile outside world rather than to provide a link with it. With the drought in the Dust Bowl and other tragedies of the Great Depression, many were forced to look beyond the traditional family unit and embrace their kinship with others of similar necessity. In his novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck uses the theme of strength through unity to comment on the relationship between the dissolution of individual families and the unification of the migrant people. The journey of the Joad family west illustrates this as they depart a parched Oklahoma, arrive in a hostile California, and eventually settle in amongst others as unwelcome there as they are.
With the return of Tom to the family in the beginning of the story, the Joad family is once again united, though at the same time we see them to be utterly isolated from other migrants. It is not until the loss of a proverbial "right-arm" of the family (Grandpa) that the family is first unified with others, the Wilsons. As their journey progresses, they lose more members and struggle through increasing hardships, but in each situation the two families act as one and persevere. Grandma follows her husband to the grave, Ivy Wilson's health degrades, Noah leaves the family he knows doesn’t truly love him, their cars continually break down, and their money is fast disappearing. Vehicles, food, and money are all shared, but with one family's loss the entire group benefits.
The Joad family's experiences when they first arrive in California ar...
... middle of paper ...
...n's baby is stillborn, signifying a terrible loss to the Joad family. Soon after, they come upon another family, and Rose of Sharon is able to use the milk meant for her dead child to help a sick, starving old man. What's more, Rose of Sharon used her own milk, something normally only for the family, signifying the absence of a traditional family, and instead a universal family of a common plight.
Throughout the course of the story, roughly half of the Joad family dies or disappears, but by the end of the novel the Joads are in a desperate yet relatively comfortable position. This was because as they gave up their kin, they were welcomed into society as a whole. In this manner John Steinbeck uses the theme Unity leads to Survival to comment on the relationship between the dissolution of individual families and the unification of the migrant people.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In the year of 1939, the Great Depression affected the lives of many located within the United States. This was a severe, and most widespread depression which affected people across the world. For the reason that there was a fall of the stock market, a drought ravaged the agricultural heartland. Those who were dependent on their farmland to provide for their families became imposed by coercion to retreat and re-locate their entire families. This migration was a struggle during this period because the lack of resources and money to survive.... [tags: Grapes of Wrath, movies,]
1070 words (3.1 pages)
- Summer Reading Assignment John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle both express incredible stories of hardships in American life. These two families in the novels may be very different but share attributes to help them overcome harshness in their lives. In The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads continuously work together as a family and even with other families, and that unity strengthens them. Ma Joad plays a huge part in assisting the family’s journey through life, she holds them all together with her courage, leadership, and strength.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath, Family, Mother, Father]
709 words (2 pages)
- Within the well protected archives where great works of literature are stored, there is a small area devoted to cinema great works. Notably, the half-filled space is devoted to only those films through which by the theme 's distinction and treatment excellence appear to be great works of art that are continuously referred and recalled every time great motion pictures categories are mentioned. In this regard, The Grapes of Wrath – a Twentieth Century Fox classic, an adaptation of the widely acclaimed book "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck - possesses one of the few allocated spaces in this category of greatest films of all time, and rightfully so by virtue of the positive reviews the fi... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath, Henry Fonda, Family]
1806 words (5.2 pages)
- “But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings. That there will be a place with no more suffering.” These are lyrics from a song by Jeremy Camp and describe the story of the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Kumalo and his tribe in Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Throughout the novels, the characters are faced with many difficult situations. They rely on their hopes to get them through. Like the lyrics say, they hold on to hope that there will come a time of no more suffering.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath, Henry Fonda, John Steinbeck]
1474 words (4.2 pages)
- A Subtle Metamorphosis in The Grapes of Wrath The spirit of unity emerges as the one unfailing source of strength in John Steinbeck¹s classic The Grapes of Wrath. As the Joad family¹s world steadily crumbles, hope in each other preserves the members¹ sense of pride, of courage, and of determination. A solitary man holds a grim future; with others to love and be loved by, no matter how destitute one is materially, life is rich. This selflessness is not immediate, however; over the course of the book several characters undergo a subtle metamorphosis.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
828 words (2.4 pages)
- The Christian Ideals in The Grapes of Wrath In Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath one of the themes discussed is the idea of Christian goodness exhibited in the Joads and other migrant workers. Those in the book representing this * "[eat] together with glad and sincere hearts." This type of selfless sharing is a Christian concept of good fellowship. Particularly, Ma shows her caring towards others from the beginning and urges others to do the same. Jim Casy, while struggling with the orthodox view of Christianity, still displays a general concern for his fellow man.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Grapes of Wrath4 In John Steinback’s masterpiece novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the novelist uses Ma as the loving, caring, and physical backbone of the family. She is the prime example of the novel’s theme: in order for survival to be successful, people must join together and form a "we" environment as oppose to an "I" environment. Her strength that she instills throughout the novel, her leadership role that she has to help keep the family together, and her love she nourishes to her family shows the readers the true meaning of Ma as Steinback expresses her.... [tags: Essays Papers]
705 words (2 pages)
- John Steinbeck wrote a book, The Grapes of Wrath, which would change forever the way Americans, thought about their social classes and even their own families. The novel was completed in 1938 and then published in 1939. When this novel was released the critics saw it as being very controversial. Some critics called it a master piece, while others called it pornography. Steinbeck's attack of the upper-class and the readers' inability to distinguish the fictitiousness of the book often left his readers disgruntled.... [tags: John Steinbeck]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- John Steinbeck wrote one of the great books titled The Grapes of Wrath and changed part of American history. In the novel, he creates a complex array of ideas, characters, and plot. One of the complex ideas Steinbeck creates comprises of the theme of unity between characters. This unity tests the members of the story to bring out their potential and show there exists strength and survival within the organization. Steinbeck demonstrates the theme of unity by the individual parts -- leaders, laws, and places of organization -- in the microcosm chapter seventeen while reflecting the theme into the Joad family chapters.... [tags: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath]
1382 words (3.9 pages)
- Unity of a Family Explored in The Grapes of Wrath One would say that on a literal level The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is about the Joad family's journey to California during The Dust Bowl. However, it is also about the unity of a family and the concept of birth and death, both literal and abstract. Along with this, the idea of a family unit is explored through these births and deaths. As can be seen in The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads are a very tight-knit family. Yet on their trip to California, they experience many losses and additions to their family.... [tags: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck]
805 words (2.3 pages)
- Language and Appearance in Frankenstein
- Grapes of Wrath Essay: Steinbeck's Communist Manifesto
- Analysis of Woman to Man by Judith Wright
- Fall of Man Depicted in Atwood's Backdrop Addresses Cowboy
- Inevitability of Change Revealed in Cry, the Beloved Country
- Macbeth: History of Scotland from an English Perspective