Steinbeck's political views are quite evident within The Grapes of Wrath. The subject of much controversy, The Grapes of Wrath serves as a social protest and commentary. Steinbeck's views as expressed through the novel tie directly into the Marxist ideals on communism.
Perhaps the first thing Steinbeck does in The Grapes of Wrath is establish the status quo. He sets up the farmers and the banks as the two main opposing forces. "Lord and serf... in a word, oppressor and oppressed" (Marx, 1) Immediately Steinbeck sets up the very same situation Marx establishes in The Communist Manifesto complete with proletarian (farmers) and bourgeois (bankers) classes.
The Joads and the other farmers clearly represent Marx's proletariat. The entire struggle they face is that of finding work or dying on the most basic of levels. Still, they fall victim to the conditions of the Great Depression, resulting in their continued inability to procure such a job. The migrants appear strongly as " the proletariat, the modern working class... who live only so long as they find work .. who must sell themselves piecemeal ... and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition to all the fluctuations of the market" (Marx, 4). Steinbeck and Marx find an obvious agreement over the situation and classification of the Okies, the proletarian workers.
One must also consider the role of the capitalist bankers and upper-class owners in the novel. The banks serve several purposes. First in the novel, they force the rural farmers off of their lands. Being the natural proletariat, they must take to the road in order to find a job. The upper class, as well, distribut...
... middle of paper ...
...hing for a reform of the current system. Bear in mind however, that there is no way to reform a system and let it be run by a "monster." Steinbeck's complaints about capitalism stem from its very basis and allow for no reform short of revolution. The old ways have died, violence is building, and as Marx would agree, revolution is imminent. The bourgeoisie and proletariat exist exactly as Marx states, and all the conditions are shaping up for a proletarian uprising. The revolution draws nigh as Steinbeck's characters learn the principles and values on which Marx bases communism. The Marxist revolution in The Grapes of Wrath is at hand, especially as working men unite.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Communist Manifesto opens with the famous words "The history of all hitherto societies has been the history of class struggles.” In section 1, "Bourgeois and Proletarians," Marx delineates his vision of history, focusing on the development and eventual destruction of the bourgeoisie, the middle class. Before the bourgeoisie rose to prominence, society was organized according to a feudal order run by aristocratic landowners and corporate guilds. With the discovery of America and the subsequent expansion of economic markets, a new class arose, a manufacturing class, which took control of international and domestic trade by producing goods more efficiently than the closed gu... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
748 words (2.1 pages)
- Karl Marx And The Communist Manifesto Because the first printing of the Communist Manifesto was limited and the circulation restricted, the Manifesto did not have much impact on society after it was written in 1848. This meant that there were not many people who had access to the document. It wasn’t until 1871, when the Paris Commune occurred, that the Communist Manifesto began to have a huge impact on the working class all over the world.[i] The Paris Commune, which was the insurrection of Paris against the French government, resurrected the idea of communism that had been banished for good just a few years after the Manifesto’s publishing.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
885 words (2.5 pages)
- The Decline of Aristocracy in The Communist Manifesto The decline of aristocracy in The Communist Manifesto began with Karl Marx’s statement, “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”1 Marx recognized the ideals of the social rank, which has influenced every society throughout history. The two social classes described by Marx were the Bourgeoisie, or the upper class, and the Proletariats, or the lower class. Before the Bourgeoisie came to social power, landowners and corporate organizations ran the society.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx Karl Marx (1818-1883) has been established (post-mortem of course, like almost all greats, it seems) as one of the most influential thinkers and writers of modern times. The Communist Manifesto published in 1848, lays down his theories on socialism. This manifesto was used to establish Communist Russia. Although that "experiment" failed, there are still points in his work that I find relevant in today's society. One of Marx's arguments is that the society created by the bourgeois is so powerful and out of control that it can no longer be controlled.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
514 words (1.5 pages)
- Society at the Time of the Communist Manifesto Much was going on in society at the time the Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Society was undergoing many changes and issues, and many events took place as a result of this. To many people in England it seemed that the middle class was taking control—and Marx and Engels agreed in the Communist Manifesto. They stated, “The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Europe Essays]
1355 words (3.9 pages)
- During the late 1840’s the idea of Communism had risen among the European powers. Communism is the idea of “the movement that aims to overthrow the capitalist order by revolutionary means and to establish a classless society in which all goods will be socially owned.” During this era the idea of a movement advancing towards the highest form of social organization and togetherness rose within the European countries. “It [communism] settles the question of men and nature, existence and essence, freedom and necessity, individual and collectiveness.” The Communist Manifesto reflects an attempt to explain the goals of Communism, as well as the theory underlying the communist movement.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
1180 words (3.4 pages)
- Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels formulates the basic concepts of Communism. Faith and reason can be used to explain parts of this document. The Communist Manifesto has definite views dealing with faith, and along with this, religion. In the Manifesto, Marx states that religion is not needed in Communism because a society under Communism is classless. Marx uses reason to explain what will happen to society due to the materialism of the Industrial Revolution.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
1258 words (3.6 pages)
- Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto Faith and Reason Communism can seem very desirable. “It argued a world without war, in which the meek and the disadvantaged would share without distinction, the anticipated material and spiritual abundance generated by advanced.”(Gregor 19) This seems as though it would be the ideal form of government but in reality it is far from that. I will tell you about three of the most powerful communist countries of the twentieth century. The countries that I am talking about are the Soviet Union, or Russia as it is called today, the Peoples Republic of China, and Cuba.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
1355 words (3.9 pages)
- The Communist Manifesto The Communist Manifesto is too long to be a concise declaration of principles and too short to be a book. It is comprised of about 17,000 words including various introductions by Friedrich Engels. It is arranged, basically, in four sections. The first section introduces the Marxian idea of history as a class struggle. It juxtaposes the conditions and development of various strata of society, "freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf...in a word, oppressor and oppressed." It hypothesizes how the development of each of these in history gave rise to the next step in an inevitable historical process culminating ultimately in the rise of one work... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
1002 words (2.9 pages)
- Manifesto of the Communist Party Political Ideologies The basic thought running through the manifesto is that all history has been a history of class struggles between the exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at different stages of social evolution. (Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism). This struggle, however, is believed to have reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer liberate itself from the bourgeoisie.... [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]
947 words (2.7 pages)