Essay about The Grapes of Wrath - The True American Spirit

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The True American Spirit of The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath is an excellent portrayal of the common and true Americans. While it is of course a book of deep thought and incredible symbolism, most of all The Grapes of Wrath gives these common American workers a voice and a distinct identity, and doesn't just turn them into a stereotype or cliche.

Steinbeck's book could be regarded as one of the best books from America and perhaps the best on the subject of the Great Depression. It doesn't focus on the stock market crashing or from the upper class perspective at all; instead it shows the effects of it on the common man. And, like all great fictional stories set in historical events,
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The book opens with descriptions of the changing land and how severe droughts and dust storms are taking place. Then we meet a little character named Tom Joad, who is walking along the dusty, sunny highway just after being released from prison. Along the road he comes across an old friend of his, a preacher named Jim Casy who has recently lost faith in his vocation. Jim tags along with Tom for the walk back to the old Joad place, but when they arrive all that is found is the broken down, deserted house, and a rather looney (or just stubborn) old neighbor.

Tom and Jim eventually find his family, who are staying down the road a few miles, with their uncle. After a joyous reunion with Tom, they announce they will be leaving for a California in search of work. And seeing how there's no work around their hometown in Oklahoma because of the dust storms and droughts, they pack up the truck, load it full with Grandpa and Grandma, two young children, the older sister and her husband, the teenaged brother and the uncle, Tom and Jim, and of course old Ma and Pa. They then go on a lengthy epic of a journey traveling from Oklahoma to California coming across strange characters and desperate ones, all of whom (including the Joads) are being led to California as a result of fairly deviant scam.

What the Joads and the other out-of-work families from the mid-west
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