Setting in The Grapes of Wrath

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Brydie Jones
b block English
summer reading paragraphs

Setting in The Grapes of Wrath
Some ask why is the setting of the book so important? Well would Lord of the Rings be so dramatic if it were set in Atlanta? Or would Gone With The Wind have the same story line if it were not set during the Civil war? The setting is equally important in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath which is set first in Oklahoma, then to route 66, and finally in California during the 1930s. The exact location is Sallisaw, Oklahoma, to be exact, which is mainly a corn farming city but, because of the Dust bowl, the town now grows corn. I find Oklahoma to be an important setting in the book for many reasons because it holds a lot of symbolic features in it. In the beginning of the story, Tom Joad, the protagonist, has just been released from jail and is returning home to his family. While riding in a truck with a truck driver Tom finds a cricket and he , "crushed it's hard skull-like head with his fingers, and he let it into the wide stream out the window"(Steinbeck 12). I think this represents how the big farm owners don't care about their workers who labor for them and how easy it is to dispose of one worker with just a flick of the wrist. After Tom is dropped off at his family's house, he comes across a turtle that, in the previous chapter, had just been run over by a truck. The turtle represents the Joad family. The turtle just keeps trying to cross the road but is hindered by a continuing onslaught of cars and is finally stopped by Tom. The Joad family is even more determined than this turtle when they move out West and, like the turtle's hard shell, use each other for support and protection. The beginning of the book also talks a lot about the color gold and yellow, possibly representing wealth and prosperity before the Dust Bowl, and then after the terrible dust storm, the colors red and gray are used to describe the blood and pain put into the land and how it was all...
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