Grapes of Wrath Essay: Steinbeck's Use of Universal Archetypes

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Use of Universal Archetypes in The Grapes of Wrath   

 

John Steinbeck sets his novel The Grapes of Wrath during the Depression of the 1930's. Universal archetypes play a significant role in Steinbeck’s story. Steinbeck creates a cast of characters whose archetypes can be easily related to. The Earthmother, haven versus hell, and the evil figure with the ultimately good heart are archetypes described in The Grapes of Wrath to show the bad and good times during a time of hardships.

 

    During a period of arduous and zestful moments, the archetypal Earthmother can be identified in the Joad household. Ma Joad is the citadel in the family. She thinks and cares not for herself but for the
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There are characters, which the migrants in the novel encounter, who take risks to help a person in poverty. At the beginning of the novel, Tom tells the driver of the red truck, "´ But sometimes a guy will be a good guy `" (11). Mae, who is unwilling to give a loaf of bread to the Joads, finds herself selling two pieces of candy for less than their value. The man at the register in the camp were the Joads were picking peaches lent Ma a dime. Ma needed sugar for Tom's request for coffee but was a dime short. The man was not allowed to lend money without a slip. " He looked pleadingly at her.   And then his face lost its fear. He took ten cents from his pocket and rang it up in the cash register." He took a risk of losing his job for Ma. The people that seem unwilling to help out usually have a good heart. They don't want to see the anguish and the pain these migrants have suffered. They want to help, but there is only so much a person can or is willing to do. The man who owned the gas station had lent gas to previous migrants who gave him dolls, furniture, and other utensils. The junk he got in exchange for