Jim Casy Essay

1702 words - 7 pages

Oliver George9/20/13A Block, EvrigenisWriting Lab HonorsAssignment: Character EssayA choking haze is in the air/its course begun./A yellow mantle of despair/A cloak around a skeleton (8-11).--"The Dust Storm," by JR SherwinDuring times of adversity and hardship, the true personalities of those that are struggling are often revealed. Suffering can bring out the worst or the best in people, as they fight to survive the "choking haze" that "is in the air." In The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, thousands upon thousands of farmers are forced off of their land and homes by greedy banks, looking to increase their profits off of the farmer's "mantle of despair." With little work left in the Midwest, many of these poverty stricken farmers choose to head out on a grueling journey west to California in what is known as the Dust Bowl Migration. The travelers endure rough conditions, along Route 66, and face oppression as well as abuse from locals once they finally reach California. Jim Casy witnesses the mass starvation of those around him and yet some of his admirable qualities are revealed because of this pressure. The former preacher is more concerned with the greater good of man than with his own well-being, an altruism that very few human beings possess. Throughout the novel, Steinbeck exemplifies the admirable characteristics of a man who is more focused on assisting and leading others than looking out for himself, even in the worst hours of despair.Casy's compassion for others is revealed throughout the novel, as he looks to assist those around him, sacrificing his own interests. Before the novel begins, Casy was a preacher in Oklahoma and was highly respected by those that listened to his sermons. Most preachers request that those that attended their sermons offer money in return. However, Casy never asked for money; he states, "I brang Jesus to your folks for a long time, an' I never took up a collection nor nothin' but a bite to eat" (27). It is of no wonder that he failed to thrive as a preacher, given that he could not financially support himself. (What this says about him as a man???) Oklahoma is farm country; and, therefore, most of the people listening to Casy preach were farmers that did not have much money because they relied off the barren land to support their families. Casy realizes this, and although he is not wealthy himself, he never asks for money from those trying to obtain spiritual guidance from him, a very generous thing to do. In addition, while Casy and the Joads are camping alongside other migrant works, a policeman shows up and gets into an argument with Tom and another man. The two men knock the cop unconscious and know that somebody must take the fall for their actions. Casy realizes that Tom, as well as the other man, both have families that depend on them for support. Thus, he steps in and offers, "Somebody got to take the blame. I got no kids. They'll jus' put me in jail, an' I ain't doin' nothin' but set around"...

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