Grapes of Wrath: Biblica Comparison

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Many novels written contain parallels to the Bible. This couldn't be truer in the case John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck alludes to Biblical characters and events with the use of Rose of Sharon, Jim Casy, and also the Joad's journey to California. There are other events in the book that parallel the Bible, although the portrayal of Rose of Sharon and Jim Casy are the most obvious.

The novel is broken into 3 different parts, the time spent in Oklahoma, the journey on the road, and the time spent in California. Each section is closely related to the three stages of the Biblical Exodus: the Israelites' time in bondage when God sent plagues to free them (chapters 1-11), the forty years of wandering in the desert (chapters 12-18), and the arrival in Canaan, the Promised Land (chapters 19-30). The plagues sent by God are paralleled by the drought in Oklahoma, the Egyptian oppressors by the bank officials, and the hostile Canaanites by the Californians (Monkeynotes , The Grapes...).

Rose of Sharon is a character that is most directly related to the Bible. Her name in found in the Song of Solomon, "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys" (Ganticles, 7:7). Most of Rose of Sharon's parallels to the Bible take place in the last chapter of the novel. After the birth of her stillborn baby she nourishes a starving man with her milk. This is symbolic of the giving of her body, much like Jesus did at the Last Supper, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you" (Luke 22: 20). Also when Uncle John puts Rose of Sharon's stillborn child in an apple crate and floats it downstream, "Go down and tell ‘em" (Steinbeck, 571-72), it alludes to the journey that baby Moses made.

The Joad family is made up of 12 people, including Connie, and Casy as the 13th person in the journey. This can be seen as a reference to Jesus and his 12 disciples. Connie represents Judas, the traitor that turns against Jesus and the rest of his...
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