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"Grapes Of Wrath" By John Steinbeck, One Of The Greatest American Books Of Our Time, Explained And Dissected.

1447 words - 6 pages

Steinbeck once stated, "The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true." Steinbeck was a writer that used literary tools that created a certain atmospheric illusion that focused on showing the corruption and destruction in the world especially in California during the time period of the 1930's. The most popular book written by him to show these evils was the 1939 novel Grapes of Wrath. The novel was about a family's journey from Oklahoma to California in search of a better way of life. The family revolves around Tom Joad, an ex-convict who got of jail and was on parole. The Joad family was evicted from their farm in Oklahoma because they could not afford to pay their bank loan. As they move across the great western states, they suffer much discrimination. The Joad family believed that once they got to California, they would find jobs and settle down. They did not realize, however, that hundreds of thousands of other families went to California in search of jobs also. When they arrived, the Joads are forced to accept horrible wages and live in terrible conditions (Steinbeck). Steinbeck using specific literary devices exaggerated these turmoil events. These devices heighten the awareness and made the story more enjoyable to the general public in the 1930's and 40's who did not know what happened to the Okies in that time period (Schorer 2). In Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, he uses motifs, symbols, and allusions to get across the agony and sorrow of the people traveling to California during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.An allusion is a literary device that alludes to a past event, which Steinbeck uses constantly to express the point of repression on the Okies. At the end of the story Uncle John did an action that would hopefully show the people of California, what is happening to the Okies. "He held the apple box against his chest. And then he leaned over and set the box in the stream and steadied it with his hand. He said fiercely, 'Go down an' tell 'em. Go down in the street an' rot an' tell 'em that way. Maybe they'll know then.' He guided the box gently out into the current and let it go" (Steinbeck 493). Uncle John's motivated action alludes to the tale of the baby Moses. To save her baby from slavery, Moses' mother sets the infant adrift in a basket. Similarly, Uncle John feels he is freeing the baby from the migrants' miserable condition (Shockley 2). A very important character that alludes to many past events in the novel was Jim Casy, an ex-preacher, "I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit- the human sperit-the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of.' Now I sat there thinkin' it, an' all of a suddent- I knew it. I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it..." (Steinbeck 25). Jim constantly shares his thoughts and philosophies about...

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