Grapes of Wrath: Awakening of Tom Joad Essay

630 Words Dec 17th, 1999 3 Pages
Grapes of Wrath: Awakening Of Tom Joad

Grapes of Wraith by John Steinbeck portrayed the awakening of a man's
conscience dealing with his troubling trials throughout the novel. The character
that goes through this monumental change is Tom Joad, son of two tenant farmers
from Oklahoma. Tom's conscience was changed from a loner who cared nothing about
the people to a hardy leader of them. He first looked after his family on their
trip that evolved into including the impoverished migrant farmers in California.

At the beginning of the novel Tom Joad has just been paroled after
spending four years in a state prison. He stops at a roadside cafe looking for a
ride when he sees a truck with a "No Riders" sticker on it. Tom's conversation
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Tom's final awakening comes when he meets Jim Casy for the final time
outside a work camp in the midst of a strike. There Jim Casy tells Tom that the
only way the worker's can obtain law and order as well as, fair wages, is to
unite all the migrant workers together and fight against the larger controlling
companies. The statement is driven home when he witnesses Jim Casy's passive
resistance in response to the threatened violence by the cops. As the police
advance on Jim Casy he yells towards them, " Listen, you fellas don' know what
you're doin'. You're helpin' to starve kids." moments before his head is
brutally crushed by a pick handle. Enraged by the actions unfolded before him
Tom grabs a pick handle and clubs one of the officers to death before hastily
fleeing from the scene.
This event finally made possible the awakening of Tom Joad. He
recognized that if a common man were to ever get a fair chance to live their
life, they would be forced to do so under a united cause. Tom's awakening came
slowly as he struggled to understand the toils of needing, not only to care for
his family but organize the migrant workers into a force where they can achieve
fair rights. During the final chapters of the novel Tom recognizes the
importance of Jim Casy's work to unify the people bringing about a final
awakening of his…