The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath establishes an image of an American family struggling and coping with the strain that came along with the Dust Bowl. With a colorful and moral outlook that derives from their roots in Oklahoma, each member of the Joad family makes vital discoveries regarding his or her aspirations, dreams and fortunes; together, the characters demonstrate the wide range of sentiments that originated through America‘s Great Depression. Throughout this experience, John Steinbeck presents a familial system which at first is rooted in patriarchy. However such form of control falls and it is the female members of the Joad family who embark on a significant role amongst difficulties. When the men are unable to adapt and act in a new situation, the woman of the family become the leader and guider emotionally, physically, and mentally. By exploring the dynamics of gender roles in a family, John Steinbeck comments on the potential of females to be agents of change in his timeless novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Residing in a time when women were considered inferior, Ma Joad, the main female protagonist, challenges the domestic role of a housewife as she takes control of her family against overwhelming odds. When Ma Joad is introduced, Steinbeck characterizes her with descriptions of femininity and motherhood. The attention dedicated to Ma Joad’s description is paramount in comparison to the others:
She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of

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