Grapes of Wrath Essay: Steinbeck's Use of Interchapters

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The Use of Interchapters in The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath, is a narrative about the travel of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California. However, between many of the narrative chapters, Steinbeck inserts interchapters, which interrupt the flow of the narrative to provide the author's commentary. This technique is very effective because the interchapters create an image of the economic and social history that impact the story. They provide a broad picture of what is happening to the mass of migrants traveling to California on Route 66. Without the interchapters, the reader would be given a limited view of how life was for the migrants, and Stienbeck would not have been able to provide very effective
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This interchapter sets the mood of misery and despair and is one of the most touching because it captures the sympathy of the reader and allows them to realize the tough times the migrants faced and overcame. Had these few pages not been included in the work, the novel would suffer greatly because it would not capture the sympathy of the reader towards the migrants. Steinbeck is able to create the mood and tone of the novel in these interchapters which is very important in getting the reader's interest and allowing the reader to understand what life was truly like for the migrant families.

The interchapters provide Steinbeck with the opportunity to insert his own subjective commentary and help to interpret the novel for the reader. For example, chapter three of the novel is an extended metaphor that demonstrates endurance and perseverance; qualities that are demonstrated by the Joads, as well as other migrants, throughout the novel. Steinbeck highly admired the migrants because they endured much suffering but never gave up. He uses this interchapter to depict the struggles of the Joads, as well as other migrants, and to commend their praiseworthy determination and persistence. In addition, in chapter twelve Steinbeck challenges the idea that America is a free country when the migrants are told that they are not allowed to enter California unless they can afford to buy real…