Exposition and Argumentation, Section 1
17 April 2012
Biblical References in The Grapes of Wrath
In the book The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck depicts Christianity in many ways. This involves everything from Jim Casy’s similarity to Jesus Christ to the novel’s title, which has biblical overtones. Steinbeck does this to present a new view of Christianity. He believes that instead of using Christianity as a source of guidances and answers, we should use it as an example in the same way Casy exemplifies Jesus Christ. We should be selfless and helpful instead of being stingy and greedy, like the notorious bankers in the novel, who probably consider themselves Christian even though they kick thousands of people like the Joads off their land. The most important and effective way Steinbeck shows Christianity is through Jim Casy. Casy’s actions have an extremely close resemblance to those of Jesus Christ; from the beginning until his death, Casy’s life is nearly a mirror to that of Jesus Christ. First of all, just like Jesus Christ, Jim Casy begins his mission after a period of secession into the wilderness, where he thinks and meditates. He explains to Tom Joad (who symbolizes one of Christ’s disciples ), “ I went off alone, an’ I sat and figured” (Steinbeck 21). Later, when Casy and Tom see each other in the strikers’ tent, Casy mentions he has “been a-goin’ into the wilderness like Jesus to try to find out sumpin” (Steinbeck 381). Also, like Jesus, Casy has rejected an old religion and is in the course of replacing it with a new gospel. Plus, Casy gives himself up as a sacrifice to protect his folks. When Tom is about to be arrested, Casy tells the police that he is the guilty one. “ ‘It was me, all right.... I’ll go ’thout no trouble’” (Steinbeck 267). Casy accepted the punishment for Tom Joad’s actions just like Jesus Christ. “Between his guards, Jim sat proudly, his head up and the stringy muscles of his neck prominent. On his...
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