The Character of Tom Joad

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The Character of Tom Joad
In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck delves deep into each character thoroughly. Throughout the book, Steinbeck uses intricate descriptions in order to depict the development and subtleties of each character. Each character has a unique personality that essentially develops into new qualities and attributes. Such development is seen in many characters throughout the book, including Rose of Sharon. She is seen as immature at the start of the book, but by the end, she quickly learns to take the world into account and grows to become less selfish. This is only one of the substantial growths in character can be seen in the characters of this novel. One of the many characters in this novel that greatly portrays this character development is Tom Joad. Tom Joad, as a character, changes severely throughout the book from the selfish person he was, to a figure committed to bettering the future, as well as an improved leader for the family. Several examples of Tom’s changes can be seen throughout the book, as a result from his experiences with Jim Casy, as well as conversations he has with his mother.

Tom Joad shows that he is a selfish person at the very beginning of the book. At the beginning of the novel, Tom is introduced as a former fugitive now on parole. At most, the reader may think that he is the antagonist of the book because of the fact that he had killed a man. Tom is introduced as selfish from the very moment he is described. “‘I’d do what I done-again,” said Joad. “I killed a guy in a fight. We was drunk at a dance. He got a knife in me, an’ I killed him with a shovel that was layin’ there,”’ (25). Tom Joad was not reluctant at all when he was telling his story of how he got into prison. The fact that he does not care that he killed a man, and even offered to do it again shows that he is a selfish person. He did not care for another mans life, and did not bother to look for an alternate solution to the situation he was...
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