Grapes of Wrath Literary Techniques

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John Steinbeck uses many literary techniques in The Grapes of Wrath to help the reader better understand the story. One of these techniques that is of particular importance is his use in writing the intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses these intercalary chapters to foreshadow the events that will occur in the regular chapters that tell the Joad’s story. The extent of description that Steinbeck uses in these chapters allows them to fit very well into the novel. Clearly, the author’s goal is to have the reader picture the harsh situations that the Joad’s, and other families, have to go through. In addition, these intercalary chapters contain a clearer picture as to the situation at hand during the time-period of the Joad’s journey. While the regular chapters are written to tell the specific story of the Joad family and document their journey to California, the intercalary chapters, correspond with the story line of the novel. These intercalary chapters provide clear, yet indirect comments and show general situations, which foreshadow the personal tragedies and struggles of the main characters. These comments and situations help give the reader an understanding of what the characters are facing through their journey by either showing metaphorically their triumphs and struggles or explaining the history of the period that they are living in. Chapter three is one of these intercalary chapters in which Steinbeck foreshadows the struggles ahead for the Joad’s. In this chapter, Steinbeck describes a “concrete highway” (p. 20) on which a land turtle struggles to cross. When the turtle has almost reached his destination, it is suddenly run over by a truck. This collision chips the turtle’s shell, and throws the helpless animal to its back. The turtle then struggles with all of its might to turn back over, where it eventually succeeds and continues on its journey. This chapter represents the continuous struggles and obstacles that the Joad’s will have to cope with...
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