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Biblical Allusions To The Grapes Of Wrath

1888 words - 8 pages

Biblical Allusions to The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902. He studied marine biology at Stanford University and then traveled east on a freighter through the Panama Canal. Steinbeck went to New York to work as a newspaper reporter but soon returned to California and held a variety of jobs while he wrote. Steinbeck published Tortilla Flat in 1935, Of Mice and Men in 1937, and The Red Pony in 1937, which established his reputation as a forceful writer. In 1939 he wrote The Grapes of Wrath, which summoned up the despair and hardship of the early 1930's. John Steinbeck died in 1968. The Grapes of Wrath is a story about one family's hardship during the Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. The Joads were a hard-working family with a strong sense of togetherness and morals; they farmed their land and went about their business without bothering anyone. When the big drought hit it forced them to sell the land they had lived on since before anyone can remember. Their oldest son, Tom, has been in jail the past four years and returns to find his childhood home abandoned. He learns his family has moved in with his Uncle John and decides to travel a short distance to see them. He arrives only to learn they are packing up their belongings and moving to California, someplace where there is a promise of work and food. This sets the Joad family off on a long and arduous journey with one goal: to survive. In this novel Steinbeck set forth with the intention of raising awareness to the general public of the difficulties and injustices these migrants faced during this period in time. It exposed the methods of the California farmer to use the migrants in order to lower their costs and make their profit margin higher. How they starved and cheated the poor, working man, in order to keep him desperate for food and too weak to protest. Above all it showed everyone that these "damn Okies" were all simply men, women, and children, no different from anyone else, just poorer (Frohock 133). They were human beings with feelings and not the uncivilized beasts they were portrayed as at the time. John Steinbeck carefully molded his story The Grapes of Wrath to encompass many themes and ideas. To help enforce his message Steinbeck included several Biblical allusions. John Steinbeck uses Biblical allusions to create the theme that strength to survive comes from faith by using characters and events. Steinbeck creates the theme of the novel by alluding the characters in his story to characters in the Bible. Jim Casy is an allusion to Jesus Christ. They have the same initials and live their lives as examples of their beliefs: Jesus to the world as Casy is to Tom (Rombold 149). Casy even compares himself to Christ when he says, "I got tired like Him, an' I got mixed up like Him, an' I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin' stuff" (105). In the first half of the book Casy is thinking and forming his ideas. He...

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