Character Nobility in the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Essay by darklangelHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2005

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In the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck displays the Joads as characters of nobility. Each family member shows an essence of character, courage, generosity, or honor. People who carry the trait of nobility are looked up to. They are the people who change for the best, who attempt many tasks, and who are there for the benefit of others. The will to put aside any desires for another person displays sincere nobility. "When somepin happens that I got to do somepin--I'll do it" (24) is a confident expression said by a person of generosity and reliability.

Ma Joad displays her nobility through generosity, comfort, and her will to take lead in the family. The role of a mother is known to be the person who maintains the family and keeps optimism alive. "All right. It's gonna be all right...You know the family got to get acrost. You know that" (225) was said to comfort her worried daughter in that the journey would soon come to an end if they had patience.

Ma Joad was often referred to for comfort and support, which shows she put other people's worries in front of hers. "It ain't kin we? It's will we? As far as 'kin,' we can't do nothin'...but as far as 'will,' why, we'll do what we will" (102) is saying that family is family and nothing can be done about it. It is not whether something is known how to be achieved, but it is the attempt made to achieve it. The family must have the need, want, and will to overcome any obstacle. Ma Joad believes in her family and that is why they look up to her and honors her dedication to making their lives better. "Don't you go fightin' 'em alone...if we was all mad the same...