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The Leader Of The People By John Steinbeck

Decent Essays
Isolated Generation In the short story “The Leader of the People” John Steinbeck writes about a young boy named Jody, who lives on an isolated ranch with his parents and a hired worker. Jody’s parents are stern with him and give him orders to take care of the ranch, but Jody wants to explore the world and live like a normal child. After Jody finds out his grandfather is visiting, he is happy and wants to hear about the adventurous stories his grandfather tells about the Great Plains. When Grandfather’s tales create a controversy, he tells Jody how the ocean is the end of discovery. In “The Leader of the People” Steinbeck uses the ranch, ocean, and Grandfather to symbolically develop the conflict between past and present. Steinbeck uses the ranch to symbolize isolation from the outside world. Since the ranch is secluded away from other human activity, the family rarely leaves the ridge top. Steinbeck gives characterization to the animals to demonstrate how isolated the ranch is; for example, the cat walks in the direction of the road, but “gallop[s] back again” (1) and does not try to leave. When Jody’s father comes home, the dog “look[s] up the hill toward the cleft in the ridge” (2) and stares at the road. Like the animals, Jody feels isolated because his parents teach him only about responsibilities he has to uphold for the benefit of the ranch. Since Jody is taught to work hard, he does not get the chance to be around other children. Although Jody does not have a lot of
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