Compare how the authors illustrate the effect of poverty, prejudice and discrimination on the central characters in 'Sula' by Toni Morrison and 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck?

Essay by aimzy February 2004

download word file, 12 pages 4.7

Downloaded 84 times

I have chosen the books 'Sula' by Toni Morrison and 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck for my essay as they both present similar themes and issues. These issues link the books due to the writers' awareness of discrimination, racism and other difficulties that occur towards the central figures of the novels. I want to discover whether the writers cause the hardships and prejudice that the characters face, to affect or change the characters in anyway; and whether adversity has brought out the best in them?

Toni Morrison writes as a black woman with the audience of black women in mind. Though many of the themes, emotions and motivational elements present in her work applies to all people. Morrison is also very interested in how the African-American community and the American community as a whole, can heal some of the devastating wounds caused by slavery and racial prejudice.

In 'Sula' Morrison explores issues of race and women who overcome adversity, the main characters Sula and Nel are two young, poor black girls with a special relationship, growing up with racial discrimination and prejudice. John Steinbeck also depicts a strong relationship in 'The Grapes of Wrath' conveyed through the Joad family. Steinbeck highlights themes of mistreatment and prejudice but also determination, endurance and survival of the strong. This novel calls attention to the problems of the migrant farm workers during the Great Depression which occurred during the early 1930s. The Joads have a long, tough journey from Oklahoma to California to find work, as their land back home is taken over.

Racism is an important focus at the beginning of the book where Morrison uses discriminatory language to emphasise the racial segregation within Medallion. 'Sula' opens with strong language by Morrison, her use of 'blackberry patches'...