The Transformation of Tom Joad in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

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In John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Tom Joad is the protagonist. After serving four years in jail for murder, he is finally out on parole. When Tom is first introduced, he is portrayed as a negative character. Tom is stubborn and likes things to go his way. In the beginning of the novel Tom lives his life day by day, the future does concern him. Throughout the novel Tom develops from a man only interested in his own independent personal needs and desires to someone who is devoted to his family, and is willing to sacrifice his own personal comfort for their benefit. By the end of the novel Tom Joad transformed from a negative character into a positive character who cares about the future of his nation and the families that are …show more content…
He only cares about getting his own way at the exact moment only cares about getting his way at that exact moment. Tom Joad lives his life with the “one foot before the other” type of attitude. The future does not concern him in the beginning of the novel. He does not think about the next day until the next day is there. He does this because he does not want to worry himself. He is afraid that if he becomes worried about his future, then he will become obsessed with it and will eventually be driven to insanity. As the novel went on, Tom realized that it was he that held his family together and provided the determination and support to keep going on. He possesses the skills and knowledge to make money on his own, but he decides to stay with his family and help them move along. The Joad family encounters many dilemmas where Tom has to make crucial decisions. Tom starts to realize what is best for his family’s future. At first, Tom only cared about himself and how he would succeed. Pretty soon, he has the same line of thinking as Preacher Jim Casy. “[sic] I’ll be ever’where-wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there” (Steinbeck 537). Tom is talking about how he wants to organize a strike like what Casy did. He believes that if everyone joins together, then the cops can not touch them. He forgot about what is best for