The Grapes of Wrath: an Analysis of Rosasharn

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The Grapes of Wrath: An Analysis of Rose of Sharon

Some people grow up naturally, stage by stage. Other people stay immature longer and are forced to grow up rapidly because of the situations that come upon them. In John Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl epic The Grapes of Wrath, the figure perfectly representing this is Rose of Sharon. At the beginning of the novel, Rose of Sharon (or Rosasharn as she is called by the rest of the Joad family) is the eldest daughter of the Joad family, and is dreamy and self centered, blissfully unaware of anything other than her own happiness and contentment. She is expecting a child with Connie Rivers, who announces big plans to study electronics at night in hopes of giving his family a better life than that of farm work. Like the thousands of other farmers in Oklahoma and the surrounding states, the Joad family is hit hard when the Dust Bowl comes, drying out their land and making it impossible for them to make a living with their crops. Attracted by the brochures sent out all over the United States promising many jobs in California, the Joads set out in their truck with Rosasharn and Connie. Rosasharn goes to California dreaming of a better life with Connie and for their baby. The reader discovers that her pregnancy has an effect on her as "she is all secrets now she is pregnant, secrets and little silences that seemed to have meanings. She is pleased with herself, and she complains about things that don't really matter" (Steinbeck 52). She dreams of living comfortably in California with her husband, going to see movies on the weekends, and buying pretty clothes for her baby. She worries constantly about her baby's health and relies on her mother for information. While the family encounters obstacle after obstacle, Rose of Sharon can't seem to shake her self-centered perspective of the world. After the family settles into a Hooverville in California, Connie derides Rosasharn’s hopeless dreams of home and family and storms...
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