Rhetorical Analysis- the Grapes of Wrath Essay

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Pages: 4

Rhetorical Analysis- The Grapes of Wrath

“You don’ know what you’re a-doin’,” were Casy’s last words before he died as a martyr. Casy died for his cause, his belief that the elite were not truly aware of how their greed was causing the suffering of the weak and that the weak could only surpass their sorrows if they worked together. Steinbeck uses chapter 25 of Grapes of Wrath to portray this very message. Steinbeck uses an array of rhetorical devices such as symbolism and the use of a instructive tone which gives the reader a sense of being sermonized to portray the greed of the elite and how that fuels the wrath of the weak, while also empowering the weak to join together and warning the elite of the inevitable consequences of
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The grapes used to make this wine rotted due to the landowner’s greed. The workers could have easily been paid to pick those grapes, but instead the crops just lay to waste. The anger and angst that the workers carry could easily be appeased, but isn’t due to the landowner’s miserliness. So, instead, it is “growing heavy for the vintage.” The worker’s wrath is ripening, wrath that can soon be released in a burst of violence. This last line of the chapter serves as a warning to the privileged, warning them of the retribution that will be wreaked against them if they do not see the error of their ways. Steinbeck also uses a metaphor by comparing the elite business class to the produce. The wealthy owners had spent a great amount of money on engineering the perfect product, but their greed ensured that nobody would be able to buy the fruit. The wealthy had engineered their own demise. Just as the fruit started out ripe and healthy, so did the elite and California; but just as the fruit rotted, in the end so did the elite and California. This use of symbolism and metaphor drive Steinbeck’s message home by clearly portraying the disastrous impact of the elite’s wealth.

In essence, Steinbeck’s symbolism, word choice, and organization help craft a passage that clearly depicts Steinbeck’s message. He begins his passage with a positive choice of words to depict spring in California, and shifts the tone of his