What Is The Character Of Jim Casy

859 WordsNov 20, 20174 Pages
J.C. In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Jim Casy holds a significant role in the story of a family battling their way through the Great Depression. Jim Casy is an ex-preacher who unites with Tom Joad, a former worshiper. The reader learns more about Casy as he embarks on the Joads’ journey to California in search of employment. Along the way, one develops an understanding of who Jim Casy is and what his hopes and goals consist of. One may acquire a sense of honesty, goodness, and loyalty from Casy. As an understanding builds from the reader to the character, one may find themselves questioning if Jim Casy shows characteristics of Jesus Christ which can help to provide a clearer explanation of his intentions and behaviors. The Grapes of Wrath illustrates qualities of leadership, hardship, and sacrifice as John Steinbeck uses Jim Casy as a modern-day symbol of Jesus Christ. In the beginning of the story the reader absorbs information about Jim Casy’s past as they get a sense of his physical and personality traits. In chapter four Steinbeck goes into detail illustrating Casy, “It was a long head, bony, tight of skin, and set on a neck as stringy and muscular as a celery stalk. His eyeballs were heavy and protruding; the lids brown and shiny and hairless and his mouth full” (Steinbeck 19). This description is meaningful as it details Jim Casy as an older man with harsh features which contrasts his gentle inner disposition. Steinbeck continues by describing Casy as a religious man who was previously the town’s preacher; he eventually lost his way and became unaffiliated with the church. His beliefs and philosophies transformed from when he first became a preacher which is proven later on in the novel. For example, Casy states, "I ain't preachin' no more much. The sperit ain't in the people much no more; and worse'n that, the sperit ain't in me no more. 'Course now an' again the sperit gets movin' an' I rip out a meetin', or when folks sets out food, I give 'em a grace, but my heart ain't in it. I on'y do it 'cause they expect it” (Steinbeck 20) Casy starts to develop a philosophy that all souls are connected which is similar to the famous American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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