Grapes of Wrath: Synthesis Essay

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Joseph Campbell once said that “one way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” The role of human in this world is to help make life better for others.

Ideas and actions taken by the characters in The Grapes of Wrath prove the role of humans to help each other is a necessity. Jim Casy is a radical philosopher and a unifier of men, he presumably assumes the role of Jesus Christ in the novel. In the beginning, Casy is always uncertain of how to use his talents as a speaker now not being the preacher of the church. While saying grace for the Joad family, he offers these words, “'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit–the human sperit–the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of.' Now I sat there thinkin' it, an' all of a suddent–I knew it. I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it." (Steinbeck, 81). This idea continues to be seen throughout the story and dictates the Joad family lives on a smaller scale. Humans should always help others when they have something that other people do not possess. This philosophy contemplates through Tom during the novel and his reasoning for continuing where Jim left off in unifying his soul with the greater of mankind. Ma Joad is a strong, determined, and loving woman for her family. Through all the hardships they face over the course of the novel, she is always there to pick everyone back up and keep going. As Pa Joad becomes less effective as a leader and provider, Ma steps in to the role, “Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken.” (Steinbeck, 74). A citadel is a fortress that commands a city, and that is exactly...
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