Essay about John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle

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John Steinbeck's "In Dubious Battle"

Summary

	This story opens with the main character named Jim Nolan leaving behind his former life and going to meet Harry Nilson, a leader of the "Party." Jim had a father killed in a riot, a mother who died, and a sister that was missing. He wants to join the "Party" because he wants to do something that will give his life meaning. He is accepted, and is introduced to other members of the party. The next day, Jim accompanies Mac McLeod to Torgas Valley to help workers organize a strike against the orchard owners in the valley. They meet a restaurant car owner named Al, who gives them food for free. Jim and Mac get off the train and meet a group of people. They help a
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He has a very big temper and is stubborn in a way.

Theme Paragraph

	Leadership is a prevailing force in life, because one’s ability to guide and direct a group determines the outcome of that group’s actions. Those who lead the strikers in the novel In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck manifest the idea that some leaders use violence and the thirst for revenge to augment the spirit of their group. Violence is one tool of which the leaders of the strikers use to give vitality to their group. The leaders feel that the intense nature of violence is what provokes the group most out of the aspects of violence. Mac comments, "Some things I do know, though. A smell of blood seems to steam ‘em up. Let ‘em kill somethin’, even a cat, an’ they’ll want to go right on killin’. If there’s a fight, an’ our guys get first blood, they’ll put up a hell of a battle." The leaders feel the intensity as London, Mac and Jim discuss, "I cold-cocked Burke… I seen you pointin’, an’ I know what to do with ‘em. A little blood set the guys off." (p. 331) The violence exacted by London brings the strikers to the level at which they are willing to go into battle. Because violence is such an effective device, leaders like Mac look at moments of violence as desirable opportunities. Some leaders also use the desire for revenge to gain exuberance from their group. This desire for revenge stems from the desire to look out for those who are victims of power. Mac explains,
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