Hope and Fear on "The Grapes of Wrath"

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John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Where does the courage come from? Where does the terrible faith come from? John Steinbeck, born in California in 1902 ( -1968, New York), is one of the most important American writers, widely known for his Pulitzer prize-winning novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, a “social” tale about the strugglings of the Joad family to get to California, “the promised land”. Considered to be his masterpiece, this novel is not only the story of a family, but the image of the America of the 30s and 40s, of the sufferings, desires and hopes of the people who, driven by society and the capitalist system, try in vain to fight against this “Monster”. In this essay, using an extract from Chapter 12 of the novel, I am going to show how this idealist writer believed in a better way of society, where community would remain over individualism. He believed that commerce was nothing but cheating, that everybody, with no exceptions, was driven by an external force created by humanity itself, an external force which alienated men, but, however, would never end with their hopes and faith. Steinbeck was a comitted writer to his own beliefs. In all of his writtings his ideals appear with strenght, and “The Grapes of Wrath” is maybe the one in which we can see more clearly and in the crudest way the consecuencies of humanity. In oposition to some naturalists, Steinbeck believed in the strength of the community as the best form of society, in which people leave behind individualism in order to create a community of shared wealth. This idea of communism can be well seen in many of his words. Property, according to Steinbeck, corrupts the individual: freedom, on the contrary, is given by non-possesing. According to him, all possible kinds of commerce are nothing else but cheating: “What do ya think a guy in business is? Like he says, he ain’t in it for his health. That’s what business is. [...] Fella in business got to lie an’ cheat, but he...
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