Business And Morals In Literature Essay

1082 words - 4 pages

History is nothing more than a record of people committing or overcoming injustices. As former United States attorney general, Robert Francis Kennedy, explains “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” In The Grapes of Wrath, John Stein beck illustrates the consequences that arise when people forget their obligation to one another.
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel that tells of a families struggling to survive during the 1930 dust bowl in America. The novel focuses on the Joad family’s journey to California in search of work. On their search, they encounter fellow migrant workers who have fallen victim to big business and an uncontrollable capitalist agenda. Steinbeck explains “[the banks] breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat.” (Steinbeck 5) Bank owners, businessmen, and landowners monopolized industry, abandoning majority of America homeless, hungry for food and opportunity. Famine and a weak market tore humble families apart while a handful of men ruthlessly profited from their misery. As the Joad’s journey continues, Steinbeck clarifies the fatal flaw the owners possess “For the quality of owning freezes you forever into “I”, and cuts off forever from the “we”.”(Steinbeck 206) Capitalism itself is not morally wrong. The competitive spirit is an innate quality found in everyone. Without it, our will to survive would be nonexistent. However, there is a clear distinction between ambition and greed. The time when people disregard their moral responsibility to others is the time society has surrendered to gluttony. This white flag entails for more than an economic gap. It represents the dying spirit among the common man. Steinbeck’s novel demonstrates a nation’s need for that spirit. Humanity relies on its existence. Although The Grapes of Wrath tells more of the defeat of the common man, it does not fail to the inevitable truth concerning any injustice. Steinbeck explains “the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." (Steinbeck 324) Once the repressed ban together to form the “we” and conquer the “I”, once moral intuition overrides personal fulfillment, once society decides to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, injustices will begin to perish.
Society losing touch with its responsibility to others is far from fiction. While sitting in the Birmingham...

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