The Grapes of Wrath - Journey of the Joads and Humanity Essay

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The Journey of the Joads and the Journey of Humanity



In Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, he describes the struggle of the small farmer and farmworker. The principal characters define quiet dignity and courage in their struggle to survive and in the caring for their loved ones. Through this novel, Steinbeck displays his respect for all the poor and oppressed of our world.



The journey of the Joads represents Steinbeck's message of respect for the poor and oppressed on three levels. The first is literal: he used the journey and its ever-changing environment to put the Joads through many situations. The second level is general: the journey of the Joads can be seen as the same that forced farmers to become migrants from the
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The 'never say die' efforts of Uncle John to stop the rising flood water is one example of Steinbeck's unremitting struggle theme. The constant effort of the entire Joad family to find work, even though they are poor, oppressed and hungry, show us that Steinbeck wants to show their tremendous courage and dignity. In this way, Steinbeck is able to use the journey structure to describe these fine qualities he sees and respects in the poor.



If we read a little deeper in The Grapes of Wrath, we find the journey of the Joads mirrors that of other Okies and other forced migrations in history. The journey of the Joads has its ups and downs. Migrants are not always received with open arms; they are persecuted and looked upon as not even human. For them the promised land becomes the land of despair. In many ways, the journey of the black Africans to America as slaves is similar to the dust bowl migrations. Both are forced from the land that they love by almost non-human forces. They were taken to the land of riches where they were poor. The slaves were however taken by force but the Okies were seduced by the lure of work and prosperity.



To help understand the third and deepest level of reading, we can apply a mathematical idea, that is the Fractal Idea of Sameness, that things are identical at different levels. For example, if we look at a mountain we see it has…