Evaluation Of The Characters In Director John Ford’s Grapes Of Wrath

1302 words - 6 pages

John Ford’s dramatic film The Grapes of Wrath was released on March 15, 1940. This film was based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. This film follows the Joad family on their long trip to California. It watches as they lose their home and are left with no choice but to pack their necessities and set off. Though they had no idea where they were going, they had no choice but to keep on, hoping that somewhere along the line someone would have mercy on them and they would find some form of work. Though the list of influential characters presented within the film is a rather short one, each character plays at least a small part in the eventual outcome of the text, so having to select just one as the most critical proves to be shockingly difficult. However, upon further scrutiny it begins to become clear that one character holds a steady level of importance throughout the duration of the text. Ma Joad is the only character presented with a large amount of importance that remains consistent from the very beginning to the final moments of the film.
Ma Joad emerges as the backbone of the film rather early on, paving the way for all of the significant events and decisions made within the text. Initially, there is a suggestion that Pa Joad was the leader and the provider of the family, and in the beginning, he was often looked toward as being the most significant member of the Joad family. In fact, Pa Joad was the one that plans the family’s trip to California and ultimately assures that they get where they are going. However, as the family begins to realize that they will not be able to rely on the men to provide for the family, they began to seek refuge in Ma, due to her shocking capacity to keep the family together, even in the face of the worst situations. Ma shows repeatedly that she is by far the strongest member of the Joad family, never letting her resolve crack. There is even one instance within the film where Ma is required to suffer privately. She is the only individual that knows that Grandma has died, and rather than doing what any normal individual would do, and freaking out, she chooses to hold down her silent resolve, to do what she knows she has to do in order to keep her family safe and ensure that they get to where they need to be. Though this isn’t the only instance of her silence. She repeatedly proves herself to be the main supporter of the family due to the fact that she chose to act for the family’s good, and not burden them further with the concerns that plagued her mind. Though Ma kept to herself, she did not at all support seclusion. She was in fact the film’s strongest supporter of togetherness and the idea of family.
Ma Joad was the catalyst in a series of incredibly important decisions throughout the course of the text that ultimately resulted in the Joad Family’s success. Ma Joad remains the most significant character, not because she made all of the important decisions, but because she was the...

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