John Steinbeck's use of Realism, Characterization, and Dreams in "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men"

Essay by jeremy_blakeHigh School, 11th gradeB, April 2006

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John Ernst Steinbeck has written many award winning novels, some of which has even been produced as plays that captured audiences everywhere. Steinbeck wrote about real life experiences using realism, characterization, and dreams to emphasize his points and make an impact on his readers in order to reform or change society. The realism used in Steinbeck's works is not only effective in informing the reader of circumstances that should be changed, but this nineteenth century literary style also creates great feelings of empathy toward the characters and their dreams. Steinbeck used realism to convey his points for a purpose, and his main purpose was that he wanted something to be made known to the public. Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath both tell of the hardships people went through and also the harsh conditions of their situations. The characters in both of these novels play and important role in personalizing the occurring events for the reader, making the novel more effective in getting the writers' messages across to the audience.

Steinbeck's use of the American Dream and the will for the characters to succeed is also evident throughout the two novels. These dreams help the reader to relate to the characters, therefore making a bigger impact on those who read the novel.

John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath", tells of a very harsh journey to California that the Joads, like many other families in the 1930s Depression era, embarked upon in order to find work and escape their dying farms in Oklahoma. During the depression a severe drought covered the plains, called the Dust Bowl. This natural disaster destroyed any chance that the farmers had of making a living, and they were forced to travel west and leave their homes in hopes of finding a job.