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Marxism In The Grapes Of Wrath Bye John Steinbeck

1157 words - 5 pages

Capitalism was chosen as the best economic system when the founding fathers were trying to determine the future of America. A capitalist is someone who owns a production system and who gains money through misusing the effort of workers. Through capitalist economic relations, socialistic ideas are broken down to bias earnings of an individual. Through creating such divisions as the upper, middle, and lower class, the theory of Marxism analyzes what ways capitalism can be used against the people. In the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck confronts this ideal and reveals what he believes regarding this subject. The Marxist theory of criticism examines the economic and governmental system that Steinbeck uses throughout the novel and reveals that Steinbeck does indeed believe that capitalism is naturally flawed.Steinbeck starts his grand confrontation with capitalism, by creating the feeling that there are two classes with a third stuck somewhere between. In the start of the novel, Tom Joad wants to hitch a ride with a driver who has a "No Riders" sticker on the truck. Tom make the driver become tied and twisted in his emotions and moral feelings when saying, "sometimes a guy'll be a good guy even if some rich bastard makes him carry a sticker...the driver considered the parts of this answer. If he refused now, not only was he not a good guy, but he was forced to carry a sticker, was not allowed to have company" (7). The driver is forced to believe that in order to be a "good guy," he must put aside pride and help out a fellow man. Tom tries to make the driver realize that a man does not need to work for "some rich bastard" to be a decent person. It is also interesting to note that Steinbeck sees that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". He shows that those who have higher authority tend to take advantage of others for their own selfish desires. One character of the intercalary chapters notes that the greed of the upper class dominates society and says, "You go steal a tire and you're a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They call it business" (81). Using "he" can come to represent the strong business owners because its shows the marketing techniques used then. Businessmen would try to take everything away from those who were just trying to make ends meet. By saying that "he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire," means that they only take for their pleasure and their corrupted desires. This motif of the separation of the current society into many classes based on greed shows how deeply ingrained it is and then shows how deeply it affects everyone.Steinbeck delegates blame of the complete and utter misfortunate of the lower class onto the upper class. While looking for a job, Uncle John and Pa start speaking to a group of men about work, and the men respond by saying, "You can't feed your fam'ly on just twenty cents and hour, but you'll take anything. They jes' auction off a job...pretty soon...

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