Parallel Events in the Grapes of Wrath

1258 Words Dec 1st, 2003 6 Pages
this was for a practice ap essay

The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, has many parallel or recurring events throughout the novel, five of the major repeated themes would include the references to the Bible and Jesus Christ, the continuous praising of socialism, the changes that Ma goes through on the trip, and the changing definition of 'family' on the trip to and in California.

Beginning in chapter four, where Tom first meets Jim Casy, there starts a trend of religious references; the first major reference is Jim Casy singing 'Jesus is my Baby'. Jim is a retired preacher, who doesn't believe in the religion that he has been preaching all his life. Jim is a character who resembles Jesus Christ, a person who chooses to go on
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One of the most significant recurring events in The Grapes of Wrath is the change that Ma goes though. At the beginning of the novel, Ma is described based on her appearance, while Pa is described on his character. Ma was a typical woman in this time period; she never interrupted when the men of the house were having a conversation. In the family meeting, she started to speak her mind, but then got quite so Pa could talk, because he was a man. By the middle of the novel, after things started going wrong on the road, Ma begins to take control of situations, telling Pa and the other men what will happen and how the plan is set up. Near the end of the novel, after Pa has given up hope for the family, Ma takes command of all situations, for instance, when Agnes's parents come to the family to talk about Al, they speak to Ma, not Pa.

Ma's character change is an important part of the novel, because while the men in the novel tend to see life in short little spurts, the women see life as a never-ending circle, and they understand life must go on, no matter what. The sudden change in Ma's nature shows early signs of the soon to be womens suffrage.

The last big recurring theme in this book is the changing idea of what family is. While back in Oklahoma, Ma spoke about her family, and she included her aunts, uncles, cousins,

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