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The Grapes Of Wrath, By John Steinbeck And What I Expected, By Stephen Spender

1140 words - 5 pages

You see a light flash, and all of a sudden you hear, “Boom”!! The clouds have opened up in a synchronization of flashes and bangs, and it just won’t let up. Logic tells you that one day it will, but what if it doesn’t? What happens if the rain just never stops? These are the questions in life that often put people in a conundrum, the “what if’s.” statements. It is always? assumed that a bad event will turn out okay in the end, but what if it doesn’t? In both The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck and What I Expected, by Stephen Spender, the authors demonstrate that too much reliance on an idealistic world view of “happily ever after” will often mask people from the reality that life gives them, by only illustrating the yin in life instead of without the opposing yang.

In Steinbeck’s novel, he writes of the Joad family’s hardships during the time of the Dust bowl and the Great Depression. After being kicked off their land, forced to migrate to California, and dealt many losses, the Joads had experienced hell throughout their journey. The Joads had been living peacefully but were struggling. Once living undisturbed in the farmlands of Oklahoma, the Joads were kicked off their land by the bank. Subsequently, they had no other choice but to go to California. During this journey, they experience constant loss and ridicule. A family once consisting of 12 had been trimmed down to a measly 7, however, despite this constant loss and hardship, the Joads kept their heads held high. During a time like this, it is very easy to just give up. Steinbeck writes on page 419__ “Well maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one--- an’ then---”. Throughout this book, Casy is pictured as a Jesus-like figure. He is constantly giving advice to the Joads, and this is no different. The Joads must keep their faith and work together as a whole in order to get through these hardships. Although many family members leave or set out on separate journeys, the core of the Joad family is maintained. Ma, Pa, Tom, Al, and Rosasharn keep this family afloat. Perhaps the most influential person in this book would be Ma. Ma maintains stability and peace within the family; she gathers the men and forces them to work, even in times of trouble. However, Ma, like everyone else at some point, begins to doubt whether or not they are going to make it. In response to this, Tom comes and reassures Ma that everything will be okay. Even though each person experienced a time of weakness, there was always someone else there to support them. In school and religion___ we are taught that for every bad, there is a good. The Joads have experienced all of this anguish, and dealt all of this loss, so they should be rewarded in the end, right? This belief that for every yin there is a yang is not always the case. Instead of ending the book with a happy ending where the family found a home and lived happily ever after, Steinbeck chose to end the book...

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