This Describes The Use Of Symbolism And Transcendentalism Through The Book The Grapes Of Wrath. It Gives An Overview Of The Term "Transcendentalism" And How Jim Casy Relates To It.

1327 words - 5 pages

John Steinbeck is an author known worldwide for his compelling stories and novels. One such novel is The Grapes of Wrath. This novel was written to expose the plight of those dispossessed from their lands by the Great Depression. Steinbeck uses several literary elements to help relate the story to the reader. In The Grapes of Wrath, as in his other works, Steinbeck relies on the use of symbolism to strengthen and enhance the plot.By far, the most involved example of symbolism is found in the character of the preacher, Jim Casy. Casy not only is a Christ figure but also embodies the belief of Transcendentalism. These are supported by many examples throughout the story. Some of these examples are easily noticed, others require more thought to be understood. The symbolism found in Jim Casy does a great deal to bring together the events that make up the story.That Casy is a Christ figure can be shown in several ways. One obvious (or perhaps not as obvious as it may seem) similarity between Casy and Christ is that they share the same initials, J.C. It was not merely coincidence that Steinbeck chose the name Jim Casy. Initials, however, are not the only thing that Casy and Christ share. Another similarity is that both men went into the wilderness before coming back to the public life. Christ went into the desert for a period of forty days of intense prayer with the Father before coming into his public life of preaching. Casy follows a slightly different, but on the whole, similar pattern. Casy tells the reader that he had been a preacher, but had become unsure of what holy really means. He spent four years away from society, and after spending some time with the Joad family, has fully developed his religious beliefs and transforms his words into action.These words that Casy preaches toward the end of the story are those of Transcendentalism, a belief begun by several prominent American writers in the 19th Century. The Transcendentalists, including such names as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, believed "in the essential unity of all creation, the innate goodness of man, and the supremacy of insight over logic aand experience for the revelation of the deepest truths" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol 11, 894). Casy, by comparison, says in the story, "All that lives is holy" (Steinbeck 157), tying in the belief of the natural goodness found in man. As his beliefs develop, Casy begins to see that all of creation and humankind is united, and that he must not work for the improvement of the souls of individuals, but for the improvement of the total human condition. Transcendentalism differs greatly from mainstream Christianity, but Steinbeck chose to incorporate this belief into the character of Casy for a very important reason. In the time period when this book was written, the Great Depression, the worship of some distant God was not the first thing on the minds of the millions of people who were starving, barely earning enough to keep alive....

Find Another Essay On This describes the use of symbolism and transcendentalism through the book The Grapes of Wrath. It gives an overview of the term "transcendentalism" and how Jim Casy relates to it.

The Scarlet Letter: Title, this is about the use of symbolism and the political status of women in Puritan New England and how it relates to The Scarlet Letter. It is a critical analysis.

1044 words - 4 pages (62). Hawthorne was once called the "American Shakespeare," by Herman Melville (249).The use of symbolism by Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter can first be seen in the prison. The prison may be linked symbolically to the rigorousenforcement of Puritan laws. Also, Hawthorne refers to Ann Hutchinson, who rebelled against the Puritan beliefs and was imprisoned. Hawthorne describes a rose bush growing outside, and how impossible it was that it should be

Term Paper on Unionism in the Grapes of Wrath

1973 words - 8 pages organized labor. The term "reds" described those who tried to put the idea of unity to the public.In the novel, Steinbeck tries to shows this concept that large business used to justify intervening with possible signs of organized labor. The priest named Jim Casy was accused to be an activist by the private security, "[you] red son-of-a-bitch," (Steinbeck 495). It was an excuse used to stop the movement and a change in the history of Western United

Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

3262 words - 13 pages it, is that "the contrapuntal chapters about the Joad family don't always have the continuous strength to carry them" (Moore, 6). Basically, Dr Moore is saying that if Steinbeck really wanted to use symbolism in this story to explain the trials and tribulations of the migrants, he should have kept the story more realistic and down-to-earth in its approach of the topic. Overall, however, The Grapes of Wrath did appeal to the midwestern migrants

Comparing the Book and Movie Version of The Grapes of Wrath

2088 words - 8 pages The Grapes of Wrath: Comparing Book and Movie       Ford attempted to establish a sense of historical context by inserting two paragraphs of prose on the screen immediately following the opening credits: ' In the central part of the United States of America lies a limited area called 'the Dust Bowl', because of its lack of rains. Here drought and poverty combined to deprive many farmers from their land. This is the story of one

Praises of Glory to Burning the Book: The Uproar Caused by The Grapes of Wrath

2850 words - 11 pages economically marginal than they had been" (354).The infamous closing of The Grapes of Wrath where Rose of Sharon gives birth to her stillborn baby and then breastfeeds a man that is dying of starvation is perhaps that scene more than all others provokes an assault of horror and contempt. Charges of depravity and degradation, thought to be widespread through the whole novel but allegedly concluding in the final scene, and started frequent book burnings and

Symbolism in Grapes of Wrath

2884 words - 12 pages through his book The Grapes of Wrath. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962 while The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. He managed to explain many events of the current time period through his use symbolism, and obviously, many readers enjoyed it. By using characters, nature and events for forms of symbolism, Steinbeck keeps the reader interested and at the same time conveys his thoughts and beliefs.

John Steinbeck's use of Realism, Characterization, and Dreams in "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men"

2467 words - 10 pages , but this nineteenth century literary style also creates great feelings of empathy toward the characters and their dreams. Steinbeck used realism to convey his points for a purpose, and his main purpose was that he wanted something to be made known to the public. Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath both tell of the hardships people went through and also the harsh conditions of their situations. The characters in both of these novels play and

Herman Melville: Anti-Transcendentalism and Symbolism

2395 words - 10 pages have can affect how they perceive an object. The white whale, never before seen by the crew, is seen as a monster without any tangible evidence. Ahab’s crew is gullible and easily manipulated. It can here be inferred Melville viewed people in much of the same light, since Melville himself endured many hardships through manipulative and harsh sea captains. Additionally, in one of the many letters Melville wrote to his close friend, Nathaniel

The Impossibility of the American Dream Through Steinbeck: Shows that the American Dream is unattainable through John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. 4 pgs long, double spaced.

1081 words - 4 pages than the perfection of the dream. In The Grapes of Wrath, Rose of Sharon gives birth to a stillborn baby. When Ruthie asks her mother where the baby is, Ma replies, "'They ain't no baby. They never was no baby. We was wrong'"(446). The baby symbolizes the hope, happiness, and fresh start associated with the American Dream. Consequently, when the baby dies, all the ideals it suggests die with it, leaving the American Dream blatantly

"Of Mice and Men". The question is how does John Steinbeck tackle social issues in the novel through the use of Crooks. Includes direct quotations from the book.

800 words - 3 pages destroyed hid hope and self-esteem. Crooks tells Lennie that at least he has someone like George. Crooks is jealous that he has never had a true friend and through years or hardships, thinks it impossible to make one. He goes on to tell Lennie that most people have a dream but no one is able to achieve. This further demonstrates the lack of faith and hope in Crooks due to the difficulties he has faced in his life. Moreover, whenever he talks he

Transcendentalism- How Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" Relates to Phillip Berrigan's Beliefs about Individualism

954 words - 4 pages Transcendentalism, a philosophy based on principles that reality is to be discovered by the study of the thought processes, or a philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical. Society has taken this philosophy and has implemented it as part of the daily lives of its people. Transcendentalism makes its connection to society and real life in many ways. The “Resistance to Civil Government” by Thoreau embodies what

Similar Essays

Transcendentalism. This Essay Describes The Relations Of Transcendentalism And How It Relates To People Practicing It Today.

871 words - 3 pages to inspire and affect others today. Ken Ilgunas, a student who attends Duke University, followed Thoreau's ideas to help him pay for college. Also Christopher McCandless, from the famous book and movie Into the Wild was inspired to live a different lifestyle. Henry David Thoreau has made Transcendentalism very famous by taking it into his own hands. He used the idea of "stepping off the beaten path" and started to live in the

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

The Faith Of Jim Casy In "Grapes Of Wrath"

1273 words - 5 pages thousan’ ways, an’ we don’t know which ones to take. An’ if I was to pray, it’d be for the folks that don’t know which way to turn. Grandpa here, he got the easy straight. An’ now cover ‘im up and let ‘im get to his work.”(144) This is what he said that night when Grandpa Joad lay to rest in the Oklahoma earth. This is the thing that motivates Jim Casy to change spiritually. He breaks down emotionally. In the middle of the book when they are

John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath: "Casy And Tom: Two Explorers"

939 words - 4 pages self is developed chiefly through the comparison of two of the novel's main characters, Jim Casy and Tom Joad. When the reader first meets Casy he hasn't been seen by anyone for quite a while; he "went off alone, an' . . . [now he] ain't so sure of a lot of things" (28). Casy had been searching in solitude, in the wilderness as Jesus and Moses did, so that he will not be interrupted. That long time alone though didn't get him any close to