In the novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck shows a variety of rhetorical strategies and devices in the first fourteen chapters, such as, symbolism, diction and personification to help the reader be more intrigued.
Through out the entire novel symbolism allowed Steinbeck to continue to tell the narrative of Tom Joad on the surface, while underlying, more depth social ideas about the time period. In chapter four, when Tom Joad was walking toward his childhood home to look for his family, "the flourlike dust spurted up in front of his new yellow shoes, and the yellowness was disappearing under gray dust." (Steinbeck 23). On the surface this may seem just like another piece of description about shoes and gray dust, the presence of symbolism is important. Yellow, represents power, energy and hope for a new life. Tom Joad bought these shoes after he is released from prison, the fact that they are clean and new represents the type of life he is searching for. In chapter two, Steinbeck seems as though he is making it a point to describe Tom’s new clothes, especially his new shoes. The truck driver that Tom gets a ride from even comments on his “dusty yellow shoes” saying, “you oughtnt’ to take no walk in new shoes.” (Steinbeck 12). This simply is describing a main character in the novel; the turtle, which is referred to having a, “creamy yellow, clean and smooth.” (Steinbeck 24) under-shell in chapter four. It has a bright yellow underside which symbolizes newness and power, it’s back is “brown-gray, like the dust.” (Steinbeck 24) This goes along with Tom’s shoes, which are yellow, and are also covered with gray dust.
Diction is used very heavily in this novel. Specifically in chapter four, Jim Casy, a former preacher, who used to have strong belief in religion, says that he, “ain’t got the call no more. Got a lot of sinful idears, but they seem kinda sensible,” (Steinbeck 27). The word usage of this makes a comment that would normally seem depressing...
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