Great Depression in The Grapes of Wrath

The “Grapes of Wrath” written by John Steinbeck considered to be one of the greatest wealth of American literature.  The value of this book is in its socially-historical nature. Currently, we will try to get part of Steinbeck’s massage by analyzing two of novel’s characters.

The first under review is the hero appeared in the fourth chapter – Jim Casy, former preacher. John Steinbeck describes this character in next way – “His eyeballs were heavy and protruding; the lids stretched to cover them…The nose, beaked and hard, stretched the skin so tightly that the bridge showed white… Fully half of the face was above the eyes. His stiff gray hair was mussed back from his brow as though he had combed it back with his fingers” (Steinbeck, 13).  Talking about the role of this character, it supposed that Jim Casy became the tool to show writer’s original religious ideas. According to A.Gilmore, being influenced by Great Depression era, Steinbeck was in the search of own religion’s understanding (Gilmore). The figure of confused and doubted preacher is the best evidence to this fact. As the story goes we find Jim Casy generated own conception of Holy Spirit. According to this character, mankind is the great soul endowed with incredible potential of virtue and each of us is used to be the essential part of this Holy Spirit. There is the view that appearance of this approach was influenced by great author’s love to humankind and faith in common blessing that people can reach in love to each other. Steinbeck’s belief in human’s inner strength knows no boundaries . As the prof, let’s follow M. Cooper who recognized that appearance of novel was influenced by the series of Steinbeck’s publications called “Their blood is strong” (Cooper) .

Muley Graves is the next character under review. This hero appears as –“ Lean man, rather short. His movements were jerky and quick. His blue jeans were pale at knee and seat, and he wore an old black suit coat, stained and spotted, the sleeves torn loose from the shoulders in back” (Steinbeck, 32). This figure of sixth chapter is extremely dramatic. Being in despair boarded to madness, Muley Graves is the symbol of folks’ tragedy that were forced to leave native lands by companies interested to get “the margin of profit”.  Steadfast faith in own beliefs and principles became the main feature of Muley Graves. At first, strong Grave’s wish to stay alone on dead lands has no sense. However, deep love to motherhood and obstinacy can be the reflection of human’s spirit strength and the will to resist dreadful injustice. From this point of view, Muley Graves is the figure to manifest the nature folk’s slough. That’s why Graves’s memories about his childhood are to the point. Being braked with their connections people lost significant parts and sense of their lives and that was one the greatest tragedies of farmers immigration time. Outlined “margin of the profit” looks like the horrible monster that is ready to crush people, their affections, faith, hopes, connections and life as well. Core values were at the backburner at that time.  The image of Muley Graves was used to manifest social injustice and the depth of inner tragedy for folks that were enforced to leave their homes in change to suspense.

To conclude, each character of “Grapes in Wrath” brings its own unique massage to reader. No doubt that every has its own value to the story. However, the combination of these figures as parts of  story enabled author to design novel that is known as the ode to social justice and human’s inner power today.

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