John Steinbeck uses symbolism to enrich his writing. Several of these symbols can be found in his book, The Grapes of Wrath. The Joad's, a family from Oklahoma, are in search of a better life. They leave their home in journey to California because of the dust bowl. The symbols in the book are the dust, the turtle, names of people, and the grapes. These symbols give the reader an additional perspective of the book. Dust represents life and death. Dust makes a mess of things and leaves possessions under a mucky film. The farming in Oklahoma becomes difficult because the heavy winds uplift the soil and carry it great distances. Then the farmers are left with no soil to grow their crops. The Joad's livelihood depends on the soil. If the soil is rich, then it will feed hundreds. But if the soil is dry, it destroys crops and causes famine. The dust covers Oklahoma and leaves the Joad family with no other choice, but to move. The Joad's journey to California is as slow as a turtle. Heat in the desert, car problems, and the death of the grandparents make the journey long and painful. A turtle shelters himself by pulling his head, legs, and tail inside his shell. The Joad's gather together as a family to comfort and shelter themselves. A turtle feels safe when it enters his shell and the Joad's feel safe when they gather as a family. There is symbolic significance in the names of characters throughout The Grapes of Wrath. Tom, one of the main characters, is hitchhiking home when he stumbles upon a preacher by the name of Jim Casey. Jim baptized Tom, but now he is no longer preaching because he has found that everything is holy and man needs no preacher. His initials are J.C. which are the same as Jesus Christ. Jim shows similar characteristics to Jesus Christ. He sacrifices himself for Tom. Tom has caused a deputy to loose his suspect and is said to be under arrest, but Casey steps in and takes the blame. "It was me, alright" (p.364). Casey is taken by two... [continues]
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