The Grapes Of Wrath Character Analysis Jim Casy: The Preacher

1168 words - 5 pages

Jim Casy exists as the philosopher, the motivator and the voice of reason in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The ex-preacher is used to express some of the book's major themes, explicitly articulated in his actions. Jim Casy, by fulfilling his predominant role as the novel's guiding moral voice, establishes not only a sense of god, but also one of morality and justice.Jim Casy is an ex-preacher who is unsure of how to use the talents he possessed as a preacher, if not as the leader to a flock of Christians. He is a fluent and persuasive speaker and spiritual healer but no longer appreciates his talents. By the end of the novel he learns to apply them towards organizing the migrant workers. He comes to believe so deeply in his goal of saving the tormented workers that he gives his life for them willingly.The ex-preacher is different from the other characters in that he sees his purpose and what is needed to be done much sooner than the other characters. He sees that in order to overcome their troubles and improve their position, the migrant workers need to mobilize. Casy wants to help the poor and downtrodden because he is one of them himself. He becomes a man full of radical, controversial, 'red' ideas. He becomes a champion of the poor and oppressed and in the end a martyr of his cause.Early in the book, the Casy is persuaded to say grace over breakfast. After hesitating, he eventually offers these words:"I got thinkin' how we was holy when we was one thing, an' mankin' was holy when it was one thing. An' it on'y god unholy when one mis'able little fella got the bit in his teeth an' run off his own way, kickin' an' draggin' an' fightin'. Fella like that bust the holi-ness. But when they're all workin' together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang - that's right, that's holy.This philosophy, stated early in the book, governs the rest of the novel and is a major theme: Mankind is all one; one soul is nothing without the souls of others; one man is nothing without being an active part of mankind. Both Casy, and later Tom, keep this as theirs when mobilizing the migrant work force. Casy will lose his life to this commitment to improving the station of mankind, but his death will not leave his goal unfulfilled. Tom picks up where his mentor left off and begins to unify his soul and the souls of others with the greater soul of mankind.As Tom and his mother part near the end of the book, he passes on some of Casy's wisdom:"Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an' he foun' he didn't have no soul that was his'n. Says he foun' he jus' got a little piece of a great big soul. Says a wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no good unless it was with the rest, an' was whole"-Tom JoadBy realizing his responsibility to mankind and helping future generations of workers, Tom becomes more than just "a little piece of a great big soul", he becomes part...

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