Grapes Of Wrath

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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Many factors contribute to the fall of the Joad family in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. While these factors may not all be human, they are still referred to as antagonists because they work against the main characters in the same way that human antagonists would. Some of these hindrances include the drought in Oklahoma, the banks and cops, and the flood in California. These elements slowly but surely destroy the Joad family.

As soon as Tom reaches his home, he quickly realizes that something is terribly wrong. Steinbeck describes Tom's homeland as "...weeds frayed and edged back toward their roots. The air was thin and the sky more pale; and everyday the earth paled" (3).

The drought that is occurring in Oklahoma is an antagonist because it forces the Joads off their land. This is the only land that they know, so leaving it is very disruptive to their lives.

Another factor that is working against the Joads is that they are not the only people that the drought is affecting. Only when they begin the journey west do they realize how many other families are experiencing the same upheaval. The drought weighs heavily upon the Joads and these other families.

In addition to the drought, many different people negatively impact the Joads. First, while still in Oklahoma, the bank forces them off the land. "But "“ you see, a bank or a company can't do that, because those creatures don't breathe air, don't eat side meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side meat" (43). Additionally, there are people in California who work against the Joads. The cops do not understand and are very cruel. They beat...