The Grapes of Wrath
By Chris Small
In the Classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck displays in his writing many different and interconnected themes. The main idea of the novel can be interpreted many different ways through many of the different actions and characters throughout the novel. In the first chapter of the novel, Steinbeck describes the dust bowl and foreshadows the theme:
The men came were silent and they did not move often. And the women
came out of the houses to stand beside their men-to feel whether this
time the men would break.
As a theme, Steinbeck wanted the reader to see that humanity is on a journey, and for good or bad humanity continues to move ahead. Along with journey come changes, another important idea in the novel, which correlates directly with the main theme.
Journey is the main idea in the beginning of the novel when Tom Joad first gets out of prison and is looking for a ride home. Walking home he spots a turtle. Lying on the highway, missed by a car, hit by a truck, the turtle still struggles to continue his own journey towards the southwest. So already in the novel, two journeys are taking place, one a man's journey and the other, nature's journey.
Change is evident as an idea in the novel when Tom is reunited with his childhood preacher. Jim Casy the preacher says: "the sperit ain't in me no more"
He says this to Tom and at the same time the turtle still struggles to escape toms jacket.
Both of these ideas are seen in Chapter 6 when Casy gets the spirit back and decides that he is going to hit the road. Both Tom and Casy head to Uncle John's place where the rest of the Joads are living. This is where they hear of their journey westward where work can be found.
The idea of journey now can be seen in different levels. The first is literal. The fact that the journey that they are on is partly the theme of the work. Second is the general journey that they are on. They are on a...