The Human Spirit In "The Grapes Of Wrath" by John Steinbeck.

Essay by qtmexnfilichickHigh School, 12th gradeA-, May 2003

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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck won a Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1968. The popularity of the book can be partly attributed to the fact that was considered extremely controversial at the time of its initial publication in 1939. While Steinbeck chronicled a fictional family, he did base the story on actual events. The Oklahoma Dustbowl and the mass flight of displaced farmers to the West, specifically California, was the backdrop of the novel's main characters, the Joads' , plight. John Steinbeck dramatized what he saw- the injustice - of man to fellow man, but within his writing he also incorporated the resiliency of the human spirit that is needed to survive. The drive to provide a better life for their children is motivation for the Joads to travel across the country to the promising land of California. Though lacking in belongings to call their own, the Joads' strength of spirit gets them through the hardships when the unwavering spirit to continue is all they truly possess.

Steinbeck writes this humanity into characters Tom Joad and his pregnant sister, Rose of Sharon, both of whom later several trials change for the better. Rose of Sharon particularly flourishes into a mature adult after losing her baby because, although it was an extremely painful experience, it made her aware of lives other than her own. Steinbeck shows how Tom and Rose of Sharon's dependencies are dissolved by the reality of the life they must now live and show that where there is an enduring spirit to survive, life will continue.

When Steinbeck first introduces Tom Joad he has just been released from McAlester prison. His ". prison calm, the smooth hard face trained to indicate nothing.." (Pg. 109) describes his attitude as well. He was expected to be tough,