The Grapes Of Wrath The Biblical Symbols

1975 words - 8 pages

Biblical symbols are numerous in The Grapes of Wrath. The novel's title, for example, is taken from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" ("Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored").Of great significance within the range of biblical symbols, of course, is that of Christ, represented in the novel not only by Jom Casy, but aslo by Tom Joad, Rose of Sharon, and even Ruthie. Christ came as a leader for masses of people, and as a sacrificial figure whose death would offer man a new beginning and a second chance. Jum Casy is such a figure in the novel. You can't miss his eye-catching initials--J.C. Jesus used many parables, which are brief stories, just as Casy often did throughout the novel. Like christ, Casey has gone away to ponder his faith, or as Casy put it, "Here's me, been a-goin into the wilderniess like Jesus to try to find out somepin'". And like Christ, Casy has discovered within himself a commitment to mankind. He tells tom of the realization he came to: "I figgered about the Holy Sperit and the Jesus road. I figgered, "Why do we got to hand it on God or Jesus? Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit--the human sperit--the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever' body's a part of.' Now I sat there thinkin' it, an' all of a suddent--Iknew it. I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it." He compare himself to Jesus throughout the novel. He tells the entire Joad family: "I benn thinkin'--I benn in the hills, thinkin' almost you might say like Jesus went into the wilderness to think his way out a mess of troubles. Seems like Jesus got all messed up with troubles, and He couldn't figure nothin' out., an' He got to feelin' what the hell good is it all, an' what's the use fightin' an figurin'. Got tired, good an' tired, and His sperit all wore out. Jus' about come to the conclusion, the hell with it. an' so He went off into the wilderness." Even Ma thought there was more to Casy. After he tells the family about the realization he came to, she watches him thinking to herself and understanding him. "She watched him as though he were suddently a spirit, not humas anymore, a voice out of the ground." Twice Casy is described as glowing with light, the second time, just before he is killed, he is said to be "That shiny bastard." Another symbol is that fact that twelve Joads set out with Casy toward an uncertain future, just as twelve disciples followed Christ to the promised land - a new Eden. there are more similarities: The first names of the Joads, two are named Thomas and one John, and Casy's name, James, are the names of the Christ's disciples. The disciples, like the Joads are searching for the promised land. In the Bible, Eden is a beautiful land filled with fruit. It seems that the Joads are going to California (Eden) looking for fruit, or to become fruitful. Grapes seem to be the...

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