Grapes of Wrath Intercalary Chapters

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  • Topic: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Great Depression
  • Pages : 3 (1141 words )
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  • Published : February 18, 2013
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Dominique Winfield
Mrs. Buell
Course 5
1/22/13
Greed of Capitalists
In The Grapes of Wrath, the author, John Steinbeck utilizes intercalary chapters to portray the calamity and desolation that wandering farmers faced in Oklahoma during the Great Depression. Steinbeck employs chronic symbols, motifs, and specific narrative intervals to connect each intercalary chapter with its neighboring narrative counterparts in order to unify and strengthen the dominant themes of the novel. The intercalary episodes highlight perseverance of the Okies, the greed of capitalists, and the inhumanity of many who belittle the displaced families from Oklahoma. Despite the predicament of the meager farmers, Steinbeck provides his readers with a sense of hope through the respect for survivors and the tough pioneer spirit.

Steinbeck highlights the perseverance of the Okies, in Chapters One and Three, through the turtle’s continuous struggle across the highway and the men’s resilient attitudes following tragedy. The turtle represents all the migrant workers that are evicted from their homes and fall victim to the hostile environment yet continue to persist through their journey, especially the Joads. The turtle in its attempt to make it through life “[boosts] and [drags] his shell along” representing the slow but determined traveling of the workers. In the same way that life becomes more difficult for the Okies, the hills get steeper for the turtle and “more frantic” grow its efforts (15). The Joads’ strong willed determination to make it to California provides a sense of hope that although it will be difficult and some person seeking the enjoyment of mocking one who is worse off than he is, may “[swerve] to hit [them]” their fortitude will result in triumph. In Chapter One the winds come and dust covers the lands demolishing all the crops. The women and children looked to see if the men would “break” knowing that as long as he stood firm “no misfortune was too great to bear.”...
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