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In Dubious Battle John Steinbeck

1303 words - 5 pages

Struggle for Justice John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle vividly describes the inadequate condition of the workers during the Great Depression in a community called, Torgas Valley. Jim Nolan, an intelligent yet an unhappy character chooses to join a communist party. He decides to leave behind his former life. Being alone all this time, Jim wants to have the sense of belongingness. Steinbeck creates a story of a man's journey in search of meaning in his life. Unfortunately, Jim's life leads to an end. He dies without a face, without individuality and without identity. However, it was his death that gave meaning to his life because he became a tragic hero who sacrificed himself for the better of the Party. The journey of Jim starts when he receives a letter from work. The letter calls for people who want to be a part of group that fights for equality concerning the injustice between the landowners and workers. Jim resigns from his work and leaves his room. He meets Harry Nilson, the leader of the group. When Harry asks the reason why Jim wants to join the party, Jim replies, "My whole family has been ruined by the system" (pg 13). From this statement, it is known that Jim has always been on his own. The story of losing each member of his family is a misfortune. While talking to Harry, he tells a tragic story of his father who was a leader of a labor union and later, was killed in a riot: "He always got the hell beat out of him. He used to come home all covered with blood. He'd sit beside the cook stove. We had to let him alone then. Couldn't even speak to him or he'd cry. When my mother washed him later, he'd whine like a dog" (pg14).Witnessing a scene like this as a young child is probably very traumatic for Jim. He strongly believes that his father is almost invincible. Jim adores his father and seeing him with blood hurts him. As a result the story still remains in his memory. Jim's mother also dies while he was in prison for vagrancy. His mother died without any cause. For Jim, his mother wants to die, he says, "I guess she just didn't want to live. I guess she didn't care if she went to hell, either" (pg 14). Hopelessness arises from both Jim and his mother. When Jim learned about the death of his mother, he didn't go to the funeral. It isn't because he doesn't care, it's because of he didn't want to see another tragedy. Losing a father that he adored, and a mother that he loved, is too much of a burden. Jim comes into despair. He becomes dissatisfied and starts to find purpose in his life. The mystery behind the disappearance of Jim's sister still lingers in his mind. Jim doesn't know what happened to her and so is everybody in his neighborhood. Jim says, "She just disappeared one day, just dropped out of sight" (pg 22). At that time, his family became quiet. This demonstrates another sorrowful moment in Jim's life. His life almost appears to be doomed to failure. When Steinbeck...

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