top-rated free essay

Grapes of Wrath

By ShannonPecora3 Sep 13, 2013 746 Words
The Grapes of Wrath Essay
A symbol is an object, action or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, there are many things that are used for symbolism and some of these things are the animals that are explained throughout the book. During the setting there is a depression where people are getting kicked out of their homes, losing their jobs and having to pick up everything and move to the west in hopes of a better life. However the journey is not what they imagined it to be and some things that help show that are the turtle that symbolizes the journey, the old family cat who symbolizes the change and the Joads dog who symbolizes the toughness.

The turtle comes into play very early in the book when he is described to be struggling to cross a road and then he appears a little later in the book walking down a dirt road where Tom Joad find him. The turtle is nearly run over twice while crossing the road, but this does him deter him and he keeps going unlike many animals would. The second time the turtle appears Tom Joad picks the turtle up, wraps it in his jacket and continues on down the road. The turtle tries in vain to escape his captor and gets away successfully a couple of times before Tom picks him back up. But every time the turtle escapes he continues in the same direction he was going. The turtle is very stubborn and determined in his ways, much like the Joad family and other migrant worker families who persevere even after being kicked off of their farms, cheated by people in positions of power and fall into sickness. They keep going along the road overcoming so many things and even through all the hardships they press on. The turtle overcomes these challenges too and yet he also keeps going right on course much like the Joad family.

Another one of the animals is the old family cat that Tom Joad sees wandering around the abandoned family farm. The cat relates to all the migrant families, including the Joads, because they all have been kicked out of their homes. The cat now must live in the wild and fend for himself with no one to care for him. He has been transformed because of this, from a simple domestic cat to a wild animal. This goes right along with what has happened to the Joads because without a home to live in and without much food or money to buy food they most certainly have to fend for themselves and become a rougher, meaner and tougher person then they were before. It has changed them and it is not certainly completely a good thing.

The final animal that symbolizes part of the novel is the Joads dog. It is not as much his life that symbolizes anything, but his death and the way he died. The Joads were taking their dog with them on their journey west, but the dog tragically died near the beginning of their journey when they briefly stopped to get a drink of water for themselves and for the car. The dog wandered out onto the side of the road and was brutally run over by a speeding car that did not even stop to see what they had hit. All of this symbolizes the gruesome circumstances that lie ahead for the Joads, and the tough, unrelenting life that awaits them. Times are hard, and people are so desperate and angry that they will not hesitate to run over a dog, which clearly shows they would not hesitate to ruin a family's life either.

This literary element of symbolism is very important to the work as a whole because it adds depth to the story and makes it seem more real. Without this literary element the book, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, would not be the same as it is. For starters chapter three would not exist at all, the author probably wouldn’t have had to make the dog die, at least not so horribly, and the Joads cat probably wouldn’t have still been hanging around their old home maybe he would have moved with them or somewhere else. Overall without this literary element, symbolism, and all the other literary elements, books would not be the same.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Grapes of Wrath

    ...Grapes Of Wrath written by John Steinbeck illustrates the hard ships families went through during the Dust Bowl. Families were forced to leave their farms, jobs, and lives to go find work elsewhere. John Steinbeck shows the struggles through the Joad family, he takes the reader on their journey from leaving Oklahoma to arriving in California. Wh...

    Read More
  • Grapes of Wrath

    ...Due to the legacy and influence of John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath has become an inspiration for various artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against the Machine. While Springsteen produced the song, “The Ghost of Tom Joad” in 1995, the Rage Against the Machine covered it in 1998. Both covers of the song emotionally snatched the he...

    Read More
  • The Grapes of Wrath

    ...Cesar Gutierrez Mrs. Delagneau AS1 ELA 29 of November 2012 This Is Our Land To human beings, environment is vital. After spending a number of years in one place, it is very human nature to become attached. This is especially true with farmers. They spend their lives learning the land around them. The land becomes a friend to them, having ...

    Read More
  • Grapes of Wrath

    ...Grapes of Wrath Long Research essay One of the greatest historical fiction novels written, The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck, is not only vividly descriptive, but includes incredibly complex themes, allowing the reader to delve into the meaning endlessly. One of these themes discusses the liberation of women for men in the novel, a ...

    Read More
  • Grapes of Wrath

    ... The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck The book The Grapes of Wrath is focused on the time period of The Great Depression and was published in 1939. The Great Depression was a time of poverty in the United States caused by a decline in farm prices and the crash. During the Great Depressio...

    Read More
  • Grapes of Wrath Essay

    ...How The Grapes of Wrath represents the “American Dream” The United States is a melting pot of all cultures, races, religions and nationalities. People come here from all corners of the globe to live freely and exercise the rights they might not have had in the places they left. For some people these new freedoms are the ultimate goal, ...

    Read More
  • Alienation in the Grapes of Wrath

    ...An effective way writers demonstrate the moral values of a society is by not telling the story from one in the society, but from the point of view of a person alienated from it. This method reveals small things that one in the society would not notice and provides different insights only one from outside the society can notice. Such is the cas...

    Read More
  • Theme Of Family In The Grapes Of Wrath

    ...Writer, John Steinbeck, in his historical fiction novel, The Grapes of Wrath, describes the hardships that the poor migrant farmers faced during the depression as they moved westward, searching for a better life. Steinbeck’s purpose is to inform about the difficulties poor farmers faced during the depression, as well as to entertain the reader...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.