Grapes of Wrath Movie vs. Book

Topics: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 5 (2039 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Messages can be conveyed to an audience in a number of different ways, whether it is a poem, a written story, or a movie. These different methods have the ability to convey similar messages but one method in particular will tend to be more successful than the others. A common example of this is the argument concerning the comparison of a book and a movie, which is better? Popular books that have been recently made into movies are Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games and fans tend to have a strong opinion of which version they prefer. Specific people have their own reasons for choosing which they favor, but the trend seems to be that books are preferred to the respective movie due to the incorporation of detail and narration within the text that isn’t able to be included in movie dialogue. This is displayed in an obvious manner when looking at the John Ford’s movie made for the classic book The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck. Although both texts follow a similar story line, a stronger rhetorical message is delivered to the audience in the book compared to the movie. Both the book and the movie portray parallel themes, however, specific illustrations in the book both strengthen and sensitize the meaning derived from the text, making it easier for the audience to fully grasp the emotion of the story. These specific illustrations found in the book include the diction used in dialogue, the apparent division between the rich and the poor, the importance of unification as a family, and the benefits of being resilient. While these ideas are touched upon in the movie, they are included in a more passive fashion, taking away from the dominance of the message.

Steinbeck’s version of The Grapes of Wrath was very thorough in creating an experience for the audience that took them through the harsh reality of the Great Depression. When analyzing the rhetorical messages, there were four persuasive ideas that were presented to the reader. The first was achieved by the use of diction in the dialogue between the characters. The dialect that was used throughout the text gave the readers a true sense of the times; the broken English made it clear that the level of education was very low and that the people who were migrating to the West were those of the lower class. An excerpt such as, "No. Go on. Ain't goin'. Gonna res' here. No good goin' back. No good to nobody—jus' a-draggin' my sins like dirty drawers 'mongst nice folks. No. Ain't goin'” (Chapter 20), is a good representation of the dialect used throughout the book. This use of language made it evident that proper English was not a priority for these people. Instead, they used their energy and intellect to find food to eat for that particular day. The message received from this aspect of the book was that this story plot is from a very different time period compared to today and the people involved were clearly focused on simply surviving from day to day rather than being grammatically correct.

The second idea established in the book was one that presented a battle that called on survival of the fittest, not in terms of human versus weather, illness, or bad luck, but against other humans. After the low-class farm workers were forced off of their land by high-class corporation workers, families started to make arrangements to travel across the country to California where jobs could be found. Car salesmen took advantage of the high demand by drastically increasing prices and purposefully putting in bad parts to deter the families later down the road, “If we sold that bargain at that price we'd hardly make a dime. Tell 'em it's jus' sold. Take out that yard battery before you make delivery. Put in that dumb cell” (Chapter 7). This is a prime example of one group of people taking advantage of another group to survive and make money. The migrating families had no choice but to pay outrageous prices for poorly conditioned cars in order to travel to work to feed their...

Cited: Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Viking, 1939. Print.
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