Compare And Contrast Steinbeck's Novel "The Grapes Of Wrath" With The Exodus Story.

1265 words - 5 pages

The Bible is one of the most common allusive references used in both early and modern literature. Stories like the Creation, Adam and Eve, Joseph and his coat, and even the birth of Christ; all are used to help the reader make comparisons between the known and the unknown. The book The Grapes of Wrath is no exception when it comes to using Biblical allusions. One main story that stands out, however, is the great Exodus story. Many different aspects of the two stories coincide with one another. There are five main ones that can be found throughout the story: a child's float down a river, slavery, the reason for leaving, the length of the journey, and the destination.The origin of Moses is probably one of the most well known stories from the Old Testament, besides that of Adam and Eve. Moses was born a poor Hebrew slave, but shortly after his birth Pharaoh orders all male Hebrew children under the age of two to be killed. His mother puts him in a basket and floats him down a river. There Pharaoh's sister finds him, and she takes him in as her own son. It is from this point that Moses can eventually free the children of Israel.When Uncle John sends the stillborn baby down the river, he too is sending it off to a "better place." For many people, especially Christians, death is not the end of life. Uncle John sends Rose of Sharon's child away from the flooding, down a river, to a better place. He also wants the baby to be a silent witness to the suffering of the laborers. Just like Moses was able to free the slaves by telling Pharaoh to let them go, the baby's rotting corpse can tell the world the wrongs that were done to the "slaves" of California. Uncle John tells the baby to be a witness when he says, "'Go down an' tell 'em. Go down in the street an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way to talk.'" Uncle John lets out his bitterness at not being able to change the circumstances. He wants a witness to the world about the slavery that existed in California.Slavery is the main thing that both the Hebrews and the "Okies" have in common. The Hebrews were a religious people, full of strength and hope. The Hebrews had been forced into servitude the fearful Egyptians, who worried that they (the Hebrews) would grow so numerous that they would replace the "pure" Egyptians. They put them to work, making them choose between servitude and death. It was a couple hundred years before Moses came to free them. They worked because they had no other choice. They were slaves to the exact definition.Another form of slavery is what the Joads encountered in their desire to travel to the Promised Land. At first they were slaves to their land. They worked and worked and worked, barely making enough to feed and clothe themselves. If they left the land, they wouldn't be able to support themselves because the land was all they knew. They devoted all of their time and energy to make enough. When they finally entered California they found another type of bondage. In this...

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