A Comparison of The Grapes of Wrath and Anthem Essay example

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Comparing The Grapes of Wrath and Anthem


Two great intellectuals of the early twentieth century wrote works of fiction that have become classics; they espoused polar-opposite views, however, of how society best functions. Their battle between communalism, as pictured in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and individualism, as portrayed in Ayn Rand's Anthem, was played out in their novels, and still continues to this day.

Based on Ayn Rand's book Anthem, Rand would definitely believe that there is a greater danger involved in communalism than in individualism. The book offers a vision of a distant retrograde future in which the candle is the newest invention; individualism has been completely suppressed; and one
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Based on John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck believes that individualism is the main cause of most of the problems of the planet. When the Joad family lost their farm due to the money-hungry banks, they packed all of their remaining belongings and journeyed to California in search of work. They soon discover that the only way they are going to survive is by breaking down the family barriers and unite with other migrant workers towards a common goal.

Throughout the book, Steinbeck discredits individualism by highlighting the adverse effects that he sees in it. Steinbeck, draws a specific line through the population - a division of the rich from the poor - and identifies the division as the primary cause for evil and suffering in the world. Much of the adversity experienced by the Joads and the other migrants stem directly from selfishness. Self-interest is what motivates the landowners and capitalists to use a system in which thousands of families sink deep into poverty.

Steinbeck also promotes the idea of collectivism by asserting his belief that, basically, the only way a less-fortunate person will better his or her place in society, and better their chances for survival, is for the entire group to unite and work together. Quickly into the Joads' journey to California, they come across the Wilsons, a family also on their way to California. In very little time, the two families break their biological family units and merge…

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