The Grapes Of Wrath By John Steinbeck

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In the two texts A Fine Balance (1995) by Rohinton Minstry and The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck, the idea that adverse experiences impact an individual’s beliefs is explored through the different ways that the composers of both texts convey how living in a hostile environment and loss can change an individual’s personal philosophy. Throughout the two texts it is apparent that a hostile and oppressive society exists and through the use of various techniques, the authors reveal how living within a hostile environment can shape and develop one’s personal beliefs. In the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s characterisation of Tom Joad and the use of the 1930’s Great Depression era and the Dust Bowl as a contextual framework reveals how an individual undergoes a philosophical transformation when they experience the way man can exploit his fellow men in times of hardship and need. Tom begins the novel in possession of a practical kind of self-interest, four years in prison have moulded him into someone who devotes his time and energy to the present moment, “I’m jus’ puttin’ one foot in front of the other. I done it at Mac for four years, jus’ marchin’ in cell an’ out cell an’ in mess an’ out mess” (180), Steinbeck’s use of this idiom depicts the way he embraces a ‘carpe diem’ philosophy toward living as a means of coping. This changes when they journey to California and Tom becomes the reluctant disciple of Jim Casy who instils the principle that one can achieve wholeness
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