Grapes of Wrath- the Importance of Grandpa

Topics: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Dust Bowl Pages: 2 (832 words) Published: April 3, 2007
"How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it" (88). Do you know what it's like to move and only have room for one bag to pack? And you didn't even know if you were guaranteed a shelter or food? In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, an migrant Oklahoma family, the Joads, sell their farm and travel west in search of a new life away from the tragedies of the Dust Bowl. A minor character, Grampa, plays a vital role with his childlike energy, common quixotism, and connection to his land and his family.

Grampa is anxious to settle in California, because he sees his future as overflowing in wealth and "grapes." Convinced that California is going to be picture-perfect, he can't seem to get his mind off the grapes that are "just a-hangin' over inta the road" (93). While Ma is "‘scared somepin ain't so nice about it'" (91), he does not let her contradicting feelings change his views. Many family members share this idea on the California lifestyle; Pa even mentions that there is sure to be "‘plenty work, an' ever'thing nice an'green'" (109). Grampa isn't the only one caught in the moment- Rose of Sharon gets desirous when Connie decides that they'll "‘git [their] own car'"(130). Rose of Sharon proudly boasts to Ma about Connie's plans to "‘study at home'" and "‘maybe later have his own store'" (164). His enthusiasm spreads others into also dreaming unrealistically. While everything sounds perfect to think about, reality sets in when they find that there's "‘too many folks lookin' for work right there now'" and they would have to live in " ‘dirty ol'camps an' hardly get enough to eat'" (92). The Joads are restlessly dreaming about their soon to be prosperity, as if Grandpa stirred excitement into them, leading to unrealistic ideas. Grampa demonstrates the strong connection between a man and his homeland, a major theme in the book. He gives himself a thrill just imagining himself picking a "‘big bunch...
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