4.0 out of 5 stars
The Grapes of Wrath-Western Lit. p.1, Jan. 20 2004
The Grapes of Wrath is a compelling novel dealing with the many hardships the Joad family undergoes while struggling to survive during the depression. John Steinbeck takes the readers on an emotional roller coaster as each chapter introduces new twists and turns hooking the reader and bringing them in. Throughout their endeavors the characters seem to transform and take on new roles; whether it be a desperate man trying to forget the past, live in the present and move into the future, a hopeless reverend striving to find meaning and holiness in life or a husband coping with failure and the fact that he cannot support let alone take care of his family without the strength and guidance of his wife. The Grapes of wrath focuses on family ties and humanities need of relationships and companionship.
The novel is centered around one of the themes concentrated on this semester; the person's fear of loneliness as well as inability to be content with solitude and constant need of interaction and new relationships with that of other persons. This theme is very evident throughout the novel from the very beginning with the quickly evolving comradeship of Tom Joad and "Reverend" Jim Casey. The men find each other in the desolate and barren environment, which at one point had been a thriving community. Each man is in search of something; for Tom it is his home and family that he has been away from for four years and in Casey's case he is on a spiritual endeavor in the hope of finding holiness and renewing his faith. The two men find comfort and consolation with their camaraderie. The theme repeatedly presents itself in various situations for instance: the relationship the Joad's family forms with the Wilson's while venturing to California in hope of a promising new beginning, the effort of uniting the migrant workers against the intolerable working conditions they are forced to cope with initiated by Casey and finished by Tom Joad, and the last scene in the book in which Rose of Sharon saves the life of a man starving to death with her own breast milk. The Grapes of Wrath is an incredible as well as realistic tale of the ability to mend a desperate soul with the love and solidarity of another.