Chapter 19 GOW Rhetorical Analysis
Chapter 19 of the book The Grapes of Wrath presents historical background on the development of land ownership in California, and traces the American settlement of the land taken from the Mexicans. Fundamentally, the chapter explores the conflict between farming solely as a means of profit making and farming as a way of life. Throughout this chapter, Steinbeck uses a wide variety of persuasive techniques including parallelism, diction, and metaphors to convey his attitude about the plight of migrants migrating to California. This chapter is filled with parallelism. The Californians wonder “what if [the okies] won’t scare,” (236) and “what if they stand up” (236) and “shoot back” (236). Here, Steinbeck is pointing out the natives’ fears and hinting about the migrant’s bravery. He also makes a distinct contrast between the recently arrived Okies who believe that they “ain’t foreign” (233) and the Californians. Perceiving themselves as coming from a similar background as the rest of the inhabitants of the Golden State, the Okies insist on similar rights; however, the natives believe that although the Okies “talk the same language” (236) they “ain’t the same” (236). This knowledge that they deserve the same decencies as any other American citizens gives strength and credence to their demands. Steinbeck makes the Okies appear more dangerous to the California natives and hints that they have the power and ambition to seize the land if they come together. Steinbeck uses diction to prove that the Okies are great people, and that they might be unstoppable if they come together. Steinbeck talks about a boy who dies from “black tongue” (239) as a result of “not gettin’ good things to eat” (239). When the Okies learn that the boy’s “folks can’t bury him” (239) since they have to go to the “county stone orchard” (239) to do so, their “hands [go] into” their “pockets and little coins [come] out” Although, the Okies have barely got enough...
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