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Whats In A Name? The Grapes Of Wrath Title Explained.

966 words - 4 pages

American LiteratureMay 8, 2002What's in the Name?One of the most important parts of a book is its title. Some authors like to put a meaning in their title that can only be understood once the book has been read. John Steinbeck, the author of The Grapes of Wrath is no exception.This title can be understood better if both the book and the song "Battle Hymn of the Republic" are read. The title originally came from this song, which was written during the civil war in 1861, by Julia Ward Howe. Julia and her husband became part of the U.S. sanitary commission for the sanitary conditions in the Prisoner of War camps. She visited many Prison camps along with many Union Army camps. While visiting a camp one of the soldiers, who had read some of her poetry, asked her to write a song for the war effort. "Battle Hymn of the Republic" was the song she wrote for the men fighting.Since she was very religious, Julia incorporated her religion in her song. This can be found throughout the entire song, including its title. The word hymn is usually used when talking about a song sung at church. One of her lyrics even says "the Lord". Every time the word "he" is in her song it is capitalized, which usually means God. "As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free"(Howe ) is another lyric in the song that refers to Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus died on the cross so that everyone's sins would be forgiven making them holy and allowed to enter heaven.The lyrics "He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored"(Howe) is where Steinback got the title for his book. Literally a vintage is where wine is made out grapes. The grapes of wrath are refering to the struggles of men. When someone has a goal they want to accomplish, they will try their hardest to accomplish it. If something was to happen to get in the way of someone accomplishing their dream, most people would get angry. In the song, the vintage is where all of that anger, or wrath, is kept.The book The Grapes of Wrath is the story of a family, the Joads, struggling to get to California. Their goal is to reach California and find jobs so they can buy their own house. The book takes place during the depression when jobs were very scarce so noone in the book can find work. Also during this time people in California did not like the people they called "Okies" who were the farmers who moved to California in search of jobs just like the Joad family. The people of California looked down upon the okies and showed it by treating the okies badly....

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