Nurre Essay

Submitted By Thanhosan
Words: 1170
Pages: 5

Religious Relief John Steinbeck’s novel, the Grapes of Wrath, is filled with religious prayers, speeches and parallels that do not affect the story but instead flow along with the story and provide relief for the many serious situations during the Joad’s journey. Throughout their arduous journey, the religious speeches do not seem to affect the decisions of the Joad’s family. Jim Casy, throughout the novel, says prayers and speaks about sin but none of what he says significantly changes the beliefs of any of the characters throughout the novel but rather serves as a reassurance for many actions the various Joads family members do. Granma, early in the novel, also radiates happiness when she hears a religious speech or prayer, and although she is not an important character in the novel, she instills a small amount of enthusiasm and happiness despite the sadness within the story. Sairy Wilson, who throughout the novel is a consistent believer in God, tries to bring Casy back to God and although what she says convinces Jim Casy to say a prayer for her, her words do not have a lasting effect in making Jim believe more in God. It appears that religion in the novel serves only as a respite to many of the novels solemn situations that occur to the Joads. Jim Casy makes many religious speeches and prayers throughout the novel for members of the Joads family, and that reassure them that their opinions are right or wrong but do not have a lasting change on the member’s actions. Jim is asked by Uncle John Joad to reassure him that Ma lying with Granma’s dead body was not immoral or wrong in anyway. Although Uncle John hardly speaks throughout the novel, one of the few instances is directed to Jim and he firmly reassures Uncle John that what Ma did was not wrong: “A sin? No, there ain’t no part of it that’s a sin” (Steinbeck 229). Here, Jim assures Uncle John with religion that what Ma did wasn’t a sin and, with the firm reassurance that Ma is still good, gives a small amount of relief to the death of Granma. Jim’s reassurance that Ma has not sinned, however, does not have a lasting effect in Uncle John’s mood and only assures what he already believes about Ma is the right. Casy’s character has many instances where the Joads family asks him for religious advice and although he does not believe in a God himself, he still reassures the family that what they do is right. He does not change the opinions of the members of the family but only further confirms what the Joads already believe. His reassurances also provide relief to the seriousness situation by confirming to the Joads that they are doing what is morally right and are not becoming bad people. Granma early in the novel is a seemingly a happy person that believes in God’s loves and prayers. Although she does not respond to the prayers correctly, by speaking out at the wrong points the prayers said by Jim Casy, her enthusiasm provides relief to the Joad family’s situation of having to move to California: ‘“Pu-raise Gawd!” Granma said […] preacher glanced over at her in surprise. […] So many years she had timed her responses to the pauses […] so many years since she had listened to or wondered at the words used. […] “Hallelujah” (Steinbeck 81). Here, Granma’s overly loud, incorrect responses to the prayer provide comedic relief to the grim situation that she seems to be almost unaware of. Also, although she insists on the prayer, she does not listen to the prayer and instead only answers accordingly which shows that the prayer did not affect her. The prayer by Casy and responses by Granma, do not affect the course of the journey or the opinion of the Joads. Also, the responses that Steinbeck writes are not only for the Joads characters within the novel but also for the reader in order to give some comedic relief to the otherwise grim situation. With the relief given by Granma, Steinbeck adds some happiness to a member of the Joads and reduces the seriousness of the prayer