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Style Analysis: The Tenacious Turtle Essay

In chapter three of Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, The adventure of a determined turtle progressing along a road is illustrated. The tone of the chapter is optimistically objective, as well as sympathetic toward the struggles the turtle encounters. The turtle has the goal of crossing the road within his journey, and the degrading challenges he faces empowers him to continue to move forward.

The diction functions to portray the character of the turtle and how he physically moves throughout his journey. The turtle’s “fierce” and “old humorous eyes” are able to overcome his “frantic” emotion of fear extroverting his competitiveness. The purpose of this is to exhibit the fact that self-doubt is present within the turtle, however it is outlasted by his perseverance. The turtle is delineated as woodenheaded because of his strong pursuit of crossing he road. After the turtle has “rested” by staying in his shell for a while, he uses his “elephant legs” to “[reach] for something” that will help him proceed through his journey. The use of other animals to personify the turtle helps imagine the actual appearance of the turtle, therefore creating a clearer image of the chapter in general.

The sense of Shapiro accomplishment the turtle expresses after he has flipped himself onto the right side is elating for him, as it results in the continuation of his adventure.  In this chapter, the detail exhibits the challenges faced by the turtle along his expedition, and at times the solutions to those obstacles as well. The turtle was forced to “climb the embankment” and later was partially hit by a “light truck” which set him back on his trek. These hindrances only forced the turtle to be even stronger throughout his voyage.

He learns dedication and the concept of setting the mind to an idea and pursuing it. The “concrete wall four inches high” and the “piece of quartz” are both objects that empowered the turtle to persist in his crossing. The concrete wall was clearly an obstacle, however the accomplishment of climbing over it is motivational and qualifying for the turtle. The piece of quartz is the actual object that allows for the turtle to flip himself and walk again. Therefore without the quartz, it is possible that the turtle may have never escaped the road before his death.

The imagery of chapter three allows for a clear description of the aspects of the land. The depictions of the “sun [laying] on the grass” and “grasshoppers [jumping] into the air” portray the land as cheerful and scintillating. This creates a peaceful atmosphere in which the turtle is able to cross with ease.

This contrast compared to the later dangerous road represents the simple beginning transforming into the harsh events of any journey. The typical “hard legs” and “horny beak” of the old turtle helps to develop the turtle’s character more in depth because although these are merely physical descriptions, they still reveal information about the turtle’s qualities. The common theme of hard or touch to describe to turtle’s physical traits displays the tough skin and mental strength that he possesses.

There is no doubt that determination and tenacity are the main parts of the turtle’s mindset that cause his success in crossing the road. His trek is faced with many challenging obstacles to overcome, however, the perseverance that seems to be innate within him shines through to outlast any feeling of degradation he may possess. Therefore, the turtle proves his mental strength along with his physical strength that is rather astonishing.


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