The Use of Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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The Use of Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that in my opinion illustrates the terrible conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930's were forced to live under. This novel in a very descriptive and emotional way tells of one family's migration west to California from Oklahoma (the Joad family) through the great economic depression of the 1930's. The story revolves around the family having to abandon their home and their livelihood. They had to uproot and set out across America to California because tractors were very quickly industrializing their farms, and the bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off
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The dust is symbolic of the erosion of the lives of the people. It's also related to deadness. The land has become a ruined way of life. The farming is gone, and the people are uprooted and forced to leave their homes. The soil, as well as the people, have been drained of life, and have been exploited by big banks and businesses. "The last rain fell on the red and gray country of Oklahoma in early May. The weeds became a dark green to protect themselves from the sun's unyielding rays....The wind grew stronger, uprooting the weakened corn, and the air became so filled with dust that the stars were not visible at night." As the chapter continues, a turtle, which appears and reappears several times early in the novel, can be seen to stand for survival, a driving life force in all of mankind that cannot be beaten by nature or man. The turtle represents a hope that the trip to the west is survivable by the farmer migrants (Joad family). The turtle further represents the migrant's struggles against nature and man by overcoming every obstacle he comes across: the red ant in his path, the truck driver who tries to run over him, and being captured in Tom Joad's jacket. And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and tried to hit the poor thing. The driver of the truck works for a large company. His company tries to stop the migrants from going west. When the driver attempts to hit the turtle, I think it's
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