The Grapes of Wrath and ma Joad Essay

Submitted By OscarAquino1
Words: 1121
Pages: 5

Oscar Aquino-Moreno
08/04/13
The Grape’s of Wrath

Josh Steinback’s The Grape’s of Wrath is a novel that exhibits the plight of millions Americans whose lives have been destroyed by great disasters such as the Dust Bowl and the Great depression. Steinback brought to light a very grief time in America’s national history and aroused the nation’s comprehension of the subject. This novel evokes the morals and themes of old American farmers such as hard work, determination, and both emotional and physical strength. There is much to grasp in this novel. Steinback uses many biblical references to highlight how religion worked during these times. Religion plays a big part in the story. Steinback introduces endearing characters that must face many arduous obstacles to achieve their dreams. Many of the characters slowly go through dramatic changes due to the many onerous difficulties they encounter throughout their journey. The characters that went through the most climatic and emotional transformation in the novel are Tom Joad, the protagonist, Jim Casey, a former preacher, and Ma Joad, the protagonist’s mother. Steinback exhibits the feelings and the outlook many actual Americans faced during this dark time in history through his characters in a monumental and comprehensible way. Tom Joad is first introduced as an ex-convict whose time in prison has changed him into being a person who is only concerned with the present day. He does not care nor worry about the future, for to him, it is something that is out of reach and cannot be fully grasped or understood. He fears that if he were to worry about such things, emotions such as anger, insanity, and fear would overtake him. Tom is meant for much more than his carpe diem philosophy however. As the story progressing, he goes through a very strong change in character. During the course of his grueling journey with his family, he starts to take Jim Casy’s teachings much more seriously. He sees how badly his family and many others are treated by people with greater power and wealth. He finally sees for his own eyes just how cruel man can be. When Tom witnesses the injustice death of Jim Casy, he proceeds to take action and kills the officer who caused the death of his faithful friend. This opens Tom’s eyes to see that he cannot hope to change anything if he focuses solely on his own family. He then abandons the plantation he and his family were residing and working in and sets out to make a change. Steinback uses his character Jim Casy to articulate the biblical relevance his novel has and to express the main themes. He is first introduced as lecherous man who has renounced preaching ways. Though he has stopped being a preacher, he still spreads his beliefs and becomes the Joads’ spiritual guide on their journey. His main belief was that souls of all mankind are just a part of one large, collective soul. This philosophy of his leads him to California where he helps fight for justice and equality for his fellow migrant workers. This mission of his leads him to his death, making him a martyr. Jim Casy in a lot of ways represents Jesus Christ. They both died for their beliefs, they both developed their own message, and they both loved bringing people together with their philosophy. Casy is a humble and quiet man. He observes the world around him and takes it all in, assessing how things work and how things make up a daily life. He becomes a kind of teacher to Tom. He teaches him new morals and philosophies. Both men want to stop the injustice that’s going on all across the nation. Casy begins to become a very large inspiration to Tom and when he dies, Tom takes his place and goes forth to try and make a change. Ma Joad is the mother and also the glue of the Joad family. She keeps calm and keeps herself together even throughout the most difficult times. When the reader is first introduced to her, she seems like the normal, American wife. She cleans, cooks, takes care of the…