Grapes Of Wrath

Grapes of Wrath Explain how the behavior of the Joads
shows Steinbeck’s view of the responsibility of the individual
to society as a whole. Chapter 14 made an interesting point.
At one point in the chapter it was stated that a farmer lost his
farm. As this man’s family picks up their belongings and
heads west they meet up with another family dealing with a
similar situation. Now these two families share a common
bond. A brotherhood is forming. This is the catalyst. No
longer is it one farmer saying he lost his land but two farmers
united saying they lost their land. Much the same
transformation happens to the Joad family – especially to the
characters of Ma, Young Tom, and Rose of Sharon. At the
onset of the novel we see the Joad family struggling just to
keep their immediate family together. They are focused on
just themselves. By the end of this wonderful book we see
the Joad family branching out in many different ways to
embrace all of mankind as one big family. Ma Joad’s main
concern at the beginning of the story is her family. She wants
to keep the unit together and works diligently to achieve this
goal. However, one by one, family members leave the group
for various reasons leading to the slow but sure disintegration
of the Joad clan. The first to go is Noah; then Grandpa and
Grandma die;Connie walks off and leaves Rose of Sharon;
Young Tom leaves because he has gotten into trouble again;
and Al becomes engaged and decides to go with his
fiancee’s family. Ma deals with each loss as best she can. As
the story progresses, we find Ma Joad becoming more and
more concerned with people outside the family unit. She
feels the need to share whatever meager food and
belongings her family has with other families enduring
hardships. She saw the needs of her own family at the
beginning of the story and by the end of the novel, she sees
the needs of her fellow man. Young Tom appears to be
self-centered when he if first introduced. He has just left
prison after serving four years for murder. Tom want to
enjoy life to the fullest and to be with his family. He is very
disturbed to find the family home deserted and almost
destroyed. He by this time has reacquainted himself with Jim
Casey, an ex-preacher. The more Tom listens to Jim and his
views on life, the soul of man, and the fellowship of mankind,
the less he focuses on himself and his needs. He then begins
to focus on the plight and abuse of the homeless farmers. He
starts to realize that in order for the migrant workers to
survive and succeed they must unite. He knows that if they
band together as one, they can demand that their God-given
rights under the constitution be honored. They can begin to
gain respect from their fellow man. After Jim is killed, Tom
takes up the cause of “his” people. He plans to work with
them. Just as Jim taught him, Tom realizes that man is no
good alone and that every man’s soul is just a piece of a
bigger one. Rose of Sharon is totally focused on herself from
the beginning. She is pregnant for the first time and in love
with her husband so her little world is complete. She
constantly bemoans the fact that she needs nutritious food so
her baby will be healthy. She is always concerned that what
she does or what others do to her will hurt her baby in some
way. She is so wrapped up in herself and the baby she is
carrying that she does not realize that her family is falling
apart. She whines and moans her way through most of the
book until her baby is born dead. The death of her child
seems to transform her. At the very end of the novel she
breast feeds a dying man. To me this is symbolic of drinking
from the milk of human kindness. She gives of herself to save
another human being. She too is learning about the
fellowship of man. In conclusion, as the Joad family
seemingly disintegrates, they actually merge in to a larger,
more universal family – the family of man.

Category: Book Reports