ENG 0235- Period 4
12 September 2013
The Theme of Family in The Grapes of Wrath Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck portrays the overall theme of the importance of family is. The novel is set in the 1930s during the era of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, causing poverty nationwide, especially concentrated in farm towns. The protagonist of The Grapes of Wrath, Tom Joad, is on his way home to his farm in Oklahoma from jail when he realizes his family has been uprooted and forced to move to California in efforts to find work. Tom comes across an old pastor Jim Casy and the two decide to find the Joad family and travel with them to California. Steinbeck creates the dynamic theme of family importance by using literary elements. One element that he uses is characterization to show how close the Joads are with each other. Furthermore, Steinbeck uses dialogue to show the emotions between the family members. Lastly, the use of symbolism shows the ties that are portrayed throughout the novel. Overall, Steinbeck successfully creates the theme by use of literary elements.
Steinbeck heavily relies on the literary element of characterization to develop the central theme of family. Throughout the book, each character’s traits are revealed through either direct or indirect characterization. By doing this, Steinbeck allows readers to infer how close the Joads are to each other and how much they depend on one another. For example, Ma Joad is revealed to be the strongest unit of the family when Steinbeck writes “She walked for the family and held her head straight for the family” (169). This quote shows that Ma Joad is the main support of the family. Without Ma, the family would crumble under the pressure of poverty but she remains prideful and strong constantly throughout the book. Steinbeck allows readers to see how important family is in The Grapes of Wrath by utilizing the literary device of characterization. Moreover, the use of dialogue