Grapes Of Wrath Essay

1445 words - 6 pages

The Grapes of Wrath Essay
During the Dustbowl and Great Depression, supplies were scarce and migrants began to work together toward a common goal of attaining a better life. In the 30s, many of the migrants saw Capitalism as corrupt, for they were not given reasons to like Capitalism. When Steinbeck lived in California, he noticed that the migrants were forming groups and camps, correlating with his views on Communism at the time. He saw that the migrants were trying to escape Capitalism. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck uses the symbol in intercalary chapter seventeen and the Joad chapters to show that the migrants attempt to escape Capitalism through the natural human instinct of ...view middle of the document...

When the Joads begin to talk to the people of the camp they learn “the deputies an’ them fellas with the little caps, they burned the camp out by the river” (ch.22; 393). The fence serves as protection for its residents outside the camp. In this case, they are guarded against the corrupt police officers, who represent the realities of Capitalism for the migrants. Here, Steinbeck juxtaposes the illusion of Communism and the realities of Capitalism.
Not only does Steinbeck show Communism as an illusion, he also uses the people in the camps to imply the natural human instinct as Communism. As the migrants pull off the road, “the twenty families became one family, the children [are] the children of all” (ch. 17; 264). Naturally, the families are one, as many people are safer than a few. Human instinct is to protect family, and through the ideas of Communism, the migrants find it possible. Everyone works together for a common benefit, which in this case, is the goal of reaching California. The families “[grow] to be units of the camps” (ch.17; 265), indicating that the families band together, just as in Communism. Within the camps, laws are established such as “the right of the hungry to be fed” (ch.17; 265). Everyone is equal, so everyone in the camp must be fed, just as in Communism where everyone is on equal ground. Instinctively, people will come together to survive. The Joad chapters also show the natural human instinct of Communism. The Joad family meets Ivy Wilson and Sairy Wilson. From then on, the families travel together. Both families feel that working together will be a benefit to both. The Joad family also becomes “a unit” (ch.13; 189). Through the camps and the Joad family, Steinbeck shows that sticking together and realizing the benefits of working as one unit is a natural human instinct. These familial habits also portray the Communistic ideals.
Along with the camps’ implications of the natural human instinct, the camps in the intercalary chapter are also used as an escape of reality for the migrants. At night in the camps, “a guitar [is] unwrapped from a blanket and tuned” (ch.17; 265). The songs take the migrants mind off of the hardships they face. It becomes a way of escaping Capitalism in the outside world. “Every night a world [is] created” (ch.17; 265), allowing the migrants to live in their own “little worlds” (ch.17; 265), free of landowners and big corporations. The camps are a complete escape for any migrant, a place to rest and forget about their daily hardships. As the migrants leave the camp, “the camping place [is] ready for a new world” (ch.17; 273). This world is revealed to another camp of migrants each day and provides new hope for each band of travelers that it hosts. It represents the escape for the migrants who call the place home, even if just for one night. In addition to chapter seventeen, Steinbeck uses the Joad chapters to show that the camps are an escape from the realities of capitalism. The Joads can...

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