The Character of Tom Joad Essay

1700 Words Sep 29th, 2010 7 Pages
The Character of Tom Joad
In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck delves deep into each character thoroughly. Throughout the book, Steinbeck uses intricate descriptions in order to depict the development and subtleties of each character. Each character has a unique personality that essentially develops into new qualities and attributes. Such development is seen in many characters throughout the book, including Rose of Sharon. She is seen as immature at the start of the book, but by the end, she quickly learns to take the world into account and grows to become less selfish. This is only one of the substantial growths in character can be seen in the characters of this novel. One of the many characters in this novel that greatly
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As the novel progresses, Tom transforms from this selfish nature to become a caring person. Several examples of this transformation are seen throughout various chapters. When the Joads are traveling west to California with the Wilson’s, Tom offers to help them when their car breaks down. “Tom said nervously, ‘Look Al. I done my time, an’ now it’s done… Let’s jus’ try an’ get a con-rod an’ the hell with the res’ of it.’” Tom is showing a little more care for other people’s problems, however, he still has a selfish side because he still does not regret killing a man. He knew he had to pay for it by going to prison, but he still believes he did nothing wrong by taking a man’s life. By offering to help out with the Wilson’s’ car, he is on his way to becoming a less selfish person. As the book draws to a close, Tom stumbles upon Jim Casy again, who is murdered in front of his own eyes. As a result, he is thrown into a silent rage and kills another man which causes him to hide in the forest. He realizes that he is a danger to his family, so he sacrifices his safety in order for his family to be safe. ‘“Ya can’t do that, Ma. I tell you I’m jus’ a danger to ya,”’ (391). There is a clear transition from Tom acting selfish at the beginning of the book to him acting completely selfless at the end. This selflessness also contributed to him being a figure committed to bettering the
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