Analysis of four types of conflict in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", man versus man, man versus nature, man versus society, and man versus himself.

1463 Words Jun 27th, 2004 6 Pages
In John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the journey of the Joad family is riddled with conflict. The family experiences all of the four major types of conflicts: man vs. himself, man vs. society, man vs. nature, and man vs. man. In the case of The Grapes of Wrath, "man" represents the Joad family as a single unit. They experience conflict within the family itself, with the society they are coming from as well as the one they are going to, and with nature and the elements. The man vs. man conflict is usually just a more specific example of one of the other areas of conflict.

The most prevalent conflict in the novel is man vs. society. The first example is the Joads being forced off their land in Oklahoma. The corporations are becoming
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The next big loss the family suffers is Noah leaving while the family is staying at the river. "Ma, I got somepin to tell ya. Noah-he went on down the river. He ain't a-goin' on" (294). This solidifies the solid decline of the family state of the Joads. "Family's fallin' apart" (294).

The final place the man vs. himself conflict arises is in the case of the blacklist. Tom's natural instinct is to become a leader, and lead the people to revolt against the way the society is working in the west. When the man Tom meets at the camp tells him that if he does that, he will be blacklisted, in which case he won't be able to get work anywhere, and his family could quite possibly starve. "Well, you jus' open your trap about us folks getting' together, an' you'll see. They take your pitcher an' send it all over. Then you can't get work nowhere. An' if you got kids--" (336). This represents a man vs. himself conflict because Tom has to resist his instincts to start a revolt, and just lay low.

The man vs. man conflict is usually a representations of a different conflict. In The Grapes of Wrath, the people the Joad family has conflicts with are usually some sort of personifications of another area of conflict, for example, society. When the Joads are staying at the hooverville, and Tom and Jim Casy attack the police officer, they aren't attacking him because they have a disagreement with the man himself as much as because that police officer
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