Grapes of Wrath
1. The protagonist of this story is Tom Joad. Tom must overcome several conflicts when he is paroled from jail and let out into an economically depressed country. Tom's physical conflict throughout the novel is the task of surviving the horrible starving conditions of America's Great Depression. He also has physical conflicts with people who only wish to destroy the hopes of migrant workers such as the police and strikebreakers. Tom's emotional conflict deals with his inability to get good work and take care of his family. Tom had feelings of worthlessness until he decided to run away and attempt to organize the migrant workers against the wealthy California landowners with inspiration from his close friend Jim Casey. Tom becomes a character with much moral integrity, and devotes himself to the lives of his fellow migrant workers. The main conflict is basically shown in a battle of good vs. evil. As the novel progresses it becomes more evident that the migrant workers must band together in order to survive against the wealthy and greedy landowners. Ma Joad said that survival is the ultimate principal and it is also the ultimate conflict of Grapes of Wrath.
2. The plot of Grapes of Wrath follows a simple flowing pattern where every event leads clearly into the next. There are no points in the novel where the reader is taken off track from the main plot of the story. The ending to the novel is neither happy nor unhappy. The Joad family has been largely split apart, however, Tom has decided to take a moral position that could possibly better the lives of many migrant workers. Ma Joad and the rest of the family are forced to leave their newest home because of a horrible rainstorm. But Ma Joad's strength and will to survive has sustained the family through the roughest of times and it is not unlikely that brighter days are ahead of the Joad family.
3. There is one major instance of coincidence in the novel that changes Tom Joad's life and it resolves Tom's position in the story. Tom runs into Jim Casey after Casey is out of prison. Tom finds that Casey believes he can help the migrant workers have a stronger voice by organizing everyone. Unfortunately Jim is killed by the police. However, because of Tom's encounter with Jim he decides to take on Jim's work himself. This event is very improbable considering the number of migrant workers in California.
4. In Grapes, suspense is added throughout the novel as the Joad...