The Use of Interchapters in The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath, is a narrative about the travel of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California. However, between many of the narrative chapters, Steinbeck inserts interchapters, which interrupt the flow of the narrative to provide the author's commentary. This technique is very effective because the interchapters create an image of the economic and social history that impact the story. They provide a broad picture of what is happening to the mass of migrants traveling to California on Route 66. Without the interchapters, the reader would be given a limited view of how life was for the migrants, and Stienbeck would not have been able to provide very effective commentary.
Steinbeck uses some of the interchapters to set the tone and mood of the novel and to depict the life of the migrants that had to travel down Route 66 in the 1930's. For example, Steinbeck writes chapter seven using a newsreel technique. By using small pieces of spoken conversation, and half-thoughts, Steinbeck is able to create a mood of confusion and chaos. He creates an image of how the migrants were taken advantage of and gives the reader an impression of the hard times many of the migrants had to face.
In addition, chapter five creates a clear image of the devastation that the farmers faced and their hatred for the "monster" bank. This interchapter allows the reader to experience the passion that the farmers have toward the land and the choices they had to make concerning betrayal of their own people. It presents the reader with a broad prospective of what is happening to the tenant farmers before applying it directly to a single family-the Joads. Furthermore, chapter nine provides the reader with a look at the devastation the migrants faced as they were forced to pick over their possessions and give away, sell or burn their lives and their past. This interchapter sets the mood of misery and despair and is one of the most touching because it captures the sympathy of the reader and allows them to realize the tough times the migrants faced and overcame. Had these few pages not been included in the work, the novel would suffer greatly because it would not capture the sympathy of the reader towards the migrants. Steinbeck is able to create the...