Uncovering The Grapes of Wrath - Major Themes

Religion is the most notable theme of grapes of wrath. Religious symbols crop up every now and then in the novel. It is nothing but these religious symbols that supplies meaning and significance to the entire story. We find Tom encountering a snake on the way toCalifornia. As far as the Goads are concernedCaliforniais a dream place where they expect freedom and prosperity. Californiasymbolically represents ‘Garden of Eden’. The serpent in the Garden of Eden had brought divine judgment upon Adam and Eve. It is the serpent who gave them the forbidden fruit which led to the ultimate banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. SimilarlyCaliforniais forbidden for migrants and outsiders. Okies are not permitted to migrate toCalifornia. The snake that Tom encounters in the road shadows the snake of Garden of Eden. The same story of betrayal follows in the life of Goads,Californiabetrays them.

Theme of Grapes of Wrath – Theme of Grapes of Wrath term papers on John Steinbeck novels

The most dominant theme of The Grapes of Wrath is that of the oversoul. Although the novel never uses this exact word (it is a term used by Ralph Waldo Emerson, though perhaps not precisely in this manner), the concept is clearly present as early as Chapter 4, when Jim Casy speaks of his realization that "all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of." Because all people are connected in this fundamental way, the distinctions between families, which once seemed so important, are radically diminished. Readers will note how Ma Joad-who, it must be pointed out, begins with an understanding that all people must help each other-must fight to hold on to this understanding as the crucible of her experiences tempts her to abandon it. In the Hooverville, for instance, Ma is at first reluctant to share her stew with hungry children who are not her own; in the end, however, she does share it. The novel's final scene offers the fullest image of "the oversoul," in which Rose of Sharon-who for so long before the delivery of her child was concerned only with her own (legitimate) needs-offers the milk her body made for her own stillborn baby to a man dying of hunger. Her cryptic smile suggests that she has come to the same understanding as had Casy: that all folks are "my own folks." Home is being with our "own folks," broadly-and, so the novel argues, most properly- defined as our fellow human beings.

Environmentalism and the Attitude Toward Land Use

Theme of Grapes of Wrath - Theme of Grapes of Wrath research papers on John Steinbeck novels. The Journey Theme of The Grapes of Wrath In the Classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck displays in his writing many different and interconnected themes. The main idea ...

Steinbeck uses the land to ground his characters’ sense of self

The Grapes of Wrath - National Steinbeck Center