Symbolism Of The Steinbeck 's ' The Grapes Of Wrath '

2259 Words Apr 3rd, 2016 10 Pages
Symbols In The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family experiences many hardships on the journey to and in California, ranging from dying family members to a lack of sufficient food. In the third chapter of the novel, author John Steinbeck introduces a determined turtle who attempts to make its journey across a highway. The turtle is apparently nearly run over multiple times, and is actually hit by a car. This causes the turtle to be flipped on its shell, until it catches its footing and “little by little the shell [pulls] over and [is] flopped upright”(16). The turtle then continues its journey and successfully crosses the highway. Although this chapter may have seemed out of place, as the turtle seems to have nothing to do with the novel, Steinbeck’s use of symbolism is apparent. The turtle itself is supposed to symbolize the Joad family and the struggles they face trying to find a better life. Like the turtle, the family is knocked down many times, and like the turtle the family is still able to find its footing and stay determined. The Joad family’s goal is to make a living in California, and although they will face many challenges, they still have their eyes set on crossing their own personal and hazardous turtle highway. Another form of symbolism takes place later in the novel in chapter thirteen, when the Joad family dog is run over by a car on the highway. In the story, the dog’s mangled corpse is described to be “a blot of blood [with] tangled, burst…
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