The Presence Of Darkness In The Grapes Of Wrath

1288 words - 5 pages

The Presence of Darkness in The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, is perhaps one of the greatest pieces of American literature ever written. In his tale of a family from Oklahoma whom must leave their land, due to the hardships of American economy, Steinbeck demonstrates his skill in writing. Steinbeck uses a southern dialogue, language all people can understand, and he uses archetypes to help develop his story. In literature, an archetype can be defined as configurations of the author's unconsciousness, a reoccurring image or motif, and finally archetypes represent configurations in the reader's unconscious. In The Grapes of Wrath, an archetype that Steinbeck often illustrates is that of darkness. Darkness is an archetype that meets all of the standards previously listed. In The Grapes of Wrath, the presence of darkness is represented by descriptions of the characters; the character's feeling of security during the night, and finally the presence of darkness are seen through death. Throughout the novel, the presence of darkness is represented by the descriptions of the characters. From the early get go of the novel we see Steinbeck illustrate his character, Tom Joad, through darkness. "His eyes were very dark brown and there was a hint of brown pigment in his eyeballs." Through the description of Tom, a person can tell that he is a cold person. He is plain, and not that noticeable. Without reading to far into the novel, a perceptive person can deduce from the facts that Tom is an ex-con. Though Steinbeck uses the darkness to describe Tom's personality as cold, and dark, he also uses the darkness to describe Tom's situation differently. "His gray cap was so new that the visor was still stiff and the button still on"¦His suit was cheap and gray, so new that there were creases in the trousers." The author uses darkness as way to find the light. What this means is that he brings everything in the story from darkness. If anything good, anything new will happen for this man dressed in gray he will have to come out from dark. Perhaps Steinbeck's illustration of darkness through character description is best seen through the unforgettable character Muley Graves. Muley has a small but significant role in the story. He is the one whom first tells the reader what has been happening. It almost seems as if Muley and darkness are two parallel running characters. His name alone represents darkness. Muley Graves. Muley is an appropriate name because he is stubborn and wont leave his land. His last name, however, is what runs parallel to darkness. Graves obviously representing death shows how his situation is dark. When we meet Muley it is at night. It is pitch black outside, and Muley is living in hiding. His appearance is dark as well. He is unshaved, dirty, and is going crazy. Through the many character descriptions, Steinbeck illustrates darkness, through his character descriptions. Darkness...

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