Applications Of Symbols In Grapes Of Wrath English Literature Essay

The novel The Grapes of Wrath, the greatest work of John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize victor in Literature in 1962, traces the hard journey of hapless husbandmans from the Dust Bowl poorness of Oklahoma to the rich farming area of California ‘s Salinas Valley.

The general background of this novel was that: during the early 1930s, a terrible drouth led to massive agricultural failure in parts of the southern Great Plains. These countries were covered with loose, open surface soil. Crops withered and died without rain ; the surface soil was picked up by the air current and the whole part was covered with wallowing dust.

The stricken part became known as the “ Dust Bowl. ” By the mid-1930s, the drouth had done great harm to countless farm households, and America had fallen into the Great Depression.

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Unable to last in hometown, 1000s of households traveled to California trusting to happen new agencies of endurance. However, the farm state of California rapidly became overcrowded with the migratory workers.

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They non merely had no occupation or nutrient to back up the household but besides had to confront bias and jeer from the Californians. The migratory workers lived in crowded, dirty cantonments called “ Homerville ” . Many people who lived in the cantonments could non happen a occupation and starved to decease. Sing the adversity of the people, John Steinbeck decided to compose a novel about the predicament of migratory farm workers.

The Grapes of Wrath is an accurate and traveling history of the mass migration during the Great Depression. In this work, Steinbeck reveals the hurt and agony of American rural occupants and their disenchantment with the promise of The American Dream. Driven by societal and economic forces, the household has to go forth the topographic point and travel West to California, where they expect to happen work. During the long journey, they meat the Wilson household with whom they shared dangers and wants. On the manner, Grampa and Granma die, while Noah leaves the household. The remainder of them arrive in California merely to happen the labour market had already saturated. Then Connie deserts the household. Jim Casy is arrested in position of Tom and Floyd and subsequently he appears as a labour organiser but is killed by vigilance mans. In this battle, Tom kills one of vigilance mans and fells himself in order non to be caught. But one twenty-four hours Ruthie reveals Tom ‘s tunnel unwittingly, so he has to go forth the household. He decides to perpetrate himself wholly to the cause of workers ‘ rights instead than the lucks of his ain household. On a raining twenty-four hours, Rosharon delivers a babe but is a stillborn. The fresh terminals with Rosharon give her milk to an anon. old adult male in the barn.

Through the novel, it is non hard to see a sequence of symbols, because they are so obvious and abundant. In fact, it is these symbols that impart this work its emotional plants. Therefor, allow ‘s speak about symbols foremost of all.

Symbols exist everyplace in our day-to-day life. The declarative significances of some symbols are universally acknowledged. For illustration, a rose symbolizes love ; olive subdivision indicates peace, etc. But a literary symbol maps in a different manner. Generally speech production, a literary symbol does non hold a common societal credence. It is a symbol a poet or a author uses for the intent of his work, and it can be understood merely in the context of his Hagiographas. Most symbols in literature focal point on the relationship between the seeable and what they suggest beyond the seeable. By analyzing the hidden significance of the symbols, readers can accomplish a better apprehension of the Hagiographas. Therefore, symbol is regarded as a particular and expressive device in the artistic creative activity. Broadly talking, literary symbols can be divided into two types: those embody cosmopolitan significances and those suggest a certain intension merely in a given text. A literary symbol does non hold a common societal credence ; it is a symbol the poet or the author adopts for the intent of his plants, and it is to be understood merely in the context of that peculiar work. By utilizing symbols the author conveys his significance in a particular manner that will tempt the senses and emotions of the readers. Most symbols in literature focal point on the relationship between the seeable and what they suggest. This relationship can illume up a fire of response in the Black Marias of the readers. So a symbol is regarded as one of the most often used devices in literature. But symbols based on their ain readings of the novels. There is no absolute right or incorrect reading, though some are more apparent than others. Since people all have different apprehension of certain topics due to varied life experience, they comprehend literature otherwise in the country of “ reading ” the symbols. The multiplicity of reading is what makes literature ( particularly modern literature ) rich and interesting to read.

In The Grapes of Wrath, there are a batch of symbols which embrace abundant significances. For illustration, there appears a polo-neck in the beginning of the novel. In our day-to-day life the polo-neck is the incarnation of length of service and doggedness. Correspondingly, in the novel, the polo-neck symbolizes those tough people who had to travel through great adversities. And, we may see the grapes merely as the symbol of crop. However, in the Bible and this novel, the grapes besides mean the wrath, the disenchantment of the hope. We can non hold on this significance without the text, for it is the text itself that gives the literary significance to the “ grapes ” . Such sort of symbols is really obvious in the novel, and they all deserve close attending and luxuriant illustration.

The novel The Grapes of Wrath shows us a tragic image at the really get downing. Large sum of the description of the dust creates a constrained ambiance for the whole novel. Peoples who are populating in this sort of environment besides suffer from the diminution of economic system. But they ne’er give up. The polo-neck on the route is the embodiment of their strong will and doggedness. They will salvage themselves from this despairing state of affairs.

Among many images used by the writer, the image of “ dust ” emerges in the first chapter of the novel. On the one manus, the dust which is make fulling the air and covering Sun establishes the basic tone of subjugation, weakness and calamity of the work, on the other manus, omnipresent dust forebodes the state of affairs that the life of the Joads and other husbandmans is traveling declivitous twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours.

On November, 1933, great dust began to blow in America and bit by bit covered the huge land of Texas and southern Dakota. We can larn the force with which the dust broke out and its devastation from many notes written by people who encountered the dust. In the E of Kansas the green grassland was covered with elaborate foliages and colourful flowers, and a bumper crop was in the offing, all of these beautiful scenes were contrasted with the waste land covered with the dust. Many people besides recorded the suffering life of those households which were forced to go forth the country.

With the graphic description of the nonsubjective universe and the description of the religious universe, the writer aims to do readers recognize the crisis which is coming but could non be seen. The constrained ambiance is built up by such a image: “ The morning came, but no twenty-four hours. In the Grey sky a ruddy Sun appeared, a dim ruddy circle that gave a small light, like twilight ; and as that twenty-four hours advanced, the twilight slipped back toward darkness, and the air current cried and whimpered over the fallen maize ” . In the poetic first chapter, the word “ dust ” occurs over 27 times. Through the usage of every possible ocular and existent consequence of the dust, the writer related the dust with those exanimate and spiritless things: “ the Earth dusted down in dry small watercourses, ” “ small by small the sky was darkened by the commixture dust, and the air current felt over the Earth, loosened the dust, carried it away, ” “ the stars could non pierce the dust to acquire down, and the window visible radiations could non even distribute beyond their ain pace ” . Under the pen of the writer, the air current has become the interpreter of the Satan of dust-it “ races over the land, helps the dust control other natural things like the air, the sky, the Sun and stars. Womans have to contend against the dust which “ settled similar pollen on the chairs and tabular arraies, on the dishes ” . Children in shred could merely play in the dust. At the same clip, work forces ‘s forbearance besides faces unprecedented trial, because they has to confront “ the destroyed maize, deceasing fast now, merely a small green demoing through the movie of dust ” .

In the first chapter, the writer brings the symbolic map of the dust into full drama. It intensifies one of the motives the novel wants to deliver-the diminution of the economic system will roll up into catastrophe and the down dust will take to the interruption of the household. Because the dust is everyplace, we can state that it symbolizes the worsening fate of the Joads and other people who leave their native topographic point, and travel due west to look for their ideal Eden, their Canaan, because their destiny is subjected to the fatal onslaught.

In the highly destructive force of nature, there exist people who keep on contending in malice of all reverses in order to last, to look for beautiful life. In the 3rd chapter of the novel, the description of the polo-neck precisely reflects the dogged feature of people. If we carefully research the polo-neck ‘s escapade, we can see that “ he came over the grass go forthing a beaten trail behind him ” ; he came across a little hill, and through great battle he came over it ; he slid up a four-inch-high concrete wallaˆ¦ In the procedure of his crawl, he killed a ruddy emmet, and “ one caput of wild oats was clamped into the shell by a forepart leg ” . After that, he moved across the route, and was barely killed. A adult female driver swung to the right in order non to hit it, while another driver, the driver who allowed Tom to take a lift, saw the polo-neck and swerved to hit it. The polo-neck struggled hard so that escaped decease by sheer fortune. Another point which deserves attending is that in this chapter, the writer fastidiously describes the old, bearable, even crude characteristics of the polo-neck: its high-domed shell, difficult legs, yellow-nailed pess and fierce, humourous eyes, etc.

We can hold on the uncommon symbolic significance through the writer ‘s realistic description. First, it represents the endurance and the cryptic and natural life-force. Merely with this force, could it non fear of any defeats and go on its difficult attempts once more and once more. In the novel, the provincials represents by the Joad household besides rely on this inflexible will-power to travel frontward their “ happy land ” -California. The writer besides implies as that in the great attempt of these provincials of happening their new life, they will necessitate to endure a batch and face many troubles like that polo-neck, even the menace to their lives. Besides, we should besides detect another of import symbolic significance of the polo-neck: “ as the polo-neck crawled on down the embankment, its shell dragged soil over the seeds ” . From this we can see that the polo-neck which was traveling frontward composed a brilliant vocal of life, because of its attempts, the life of nature could go around and the hope of people besides could go on.

The spirit of the polo-neck is to the full embodied by those brave and westbound provincials represented by the Joads. The ground they leave their hometown is that in their eyes there still exists the dream that God had bestowed happy land to them. This land is so fertile that before going, Grampa have been already full of desire. First clip, he dreamed, “ ‘jus ‘ allow me acquire out to California where I can pick m an orange when I want it. Or grapes. There ‘s a thing I ai n’t ne’er had sufficiency of. Gon na acquire me a whole large clump a grapes off a shrub, or whatever, an ‘ I ‘m gon na squash ’em on my face an ‘ Lashkar-e-Taiba ’em run offen my mentum ‘ “ . Second, Grampa declared, “ ‘they ‘s grapes out at that place, merely a-hangin ‘ over inta the roadaˆ¦ I ‘m gon na pick me a wash bath full of grapes, an ‘ I ‘m gon na set in mutton quad, an ‘ scrooge aroun ‘ , an ‘ Lashkar-e-Taiba the juice run down my bloomerss ‘ ” . And he was woolgathering of the bright future 3rd clip: “ ‘I ‘m acquiring ‘ hungry. Come clip we get to California I ‘ll hold a large clump a grapes in my Han ‘ all the clip, a-nibblin ‘ off it all the clip, by God! ‘ ” . For Grampa, for the Joads excessively, grapes stand for the dream of the Promised Land. Nevertheless, in the novel, the grape non merely stands for profusion and copiousness, it besides represents agony, choler and retaliation. The Promised Land is in fact a barbarous land, permeant with greed. It turns out to be a land that without milk and honey. Thus the grapes of plentifulness and promise become acrimonious and is replaced by the grapes of wrath. Before the publication of the book, Steinbeck insisted to publish “ The Battle Hymn of the Republic ” on the first page, because the rubric of the book came from one sentence of this song- ” My eyes have been the glorification of the coming of the Lord ; He is treading out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored ” . Besides, the writer was besides profoundly influenced by the Bible when taking the rubric. And the vocal alluded to the Old Testament in the Bible, such as, “ For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the Fieldss of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of saddle sore, their bunchs are acrimonious ” , and “ In those yearss they shall state no more. The male parents have eaten a rancid grape ” , “ and the kids ‘s dentitions are set on border ” . The mention is besides reinforced in one of the novel ‘s inter chapter: “ In the psyche of the people the grapes of wrath are make fulling and turning heavy, heavy for the vintage. ” From this we can see that the writer seemed to show his deep feeling: the detonation of people ‘s wrath will be every bit inevitable as the wrath of God. They revenge themselves on those who have oppressed them and eventually liberate themselves.

Throughout the novel, it is non hard to happen Christian symbols which help a batch to construct up the subject of the novel. Among them, the symbolic significance of Jim Casy and Tom Joad are really obvious and important, and merit us particular attending.

In the novel, Jim Casy is a former sermonizer who gives up his ministry out of a belief that all human experience is holly. His image is often related to Jesus-the first letters of their names are the same. Like Jesus, Jim has rejected the rigidness of the old thoughts of faith and justness, such as theological impressions of wickedness: “ they ai n’t no wickedness and there ai n’t no virtuousness. There ‘s merely stuff people do. It ‘s all portion of the same thing. ” Casy ‘s interrupting down of the old faith enables him to develop an consciousness of collectivity. With the growing of his societal consciousness, Casy ‘s christainity is broadened. He defines the spiritual urge as human love and identifies the Holy Spirit as the human spirit in all world. He said, “ what ‘s this all, this sperit? … It ‘s love. I love people so much I ‘m fit to break sometime ” . His words can be considered the paraphrasiss of the words of Jesus, who said, “ God is love, ” and “ A new commandment spring I unto you: that ye love one another ” in the New Testament. This is the truth Casy profoundly believed in. That is why he gives himself up Ts save Tom and Floyd and was put into prison. He learned that adult male ‘s religious brotherhood must show itself in a societal integrity, so that he eventually became a labour organiser. Casy preaches his new Gospel as a new disclosure to salvage people fro devastation.

Of cause, Casy knows that the old faith will reject his new Gospel. “ You ca n’t bold no church with idears like that. ” Tom pointed this out, “ Peoples would drive you out of the state with idears like that ” . In both instances, people truly do so. But he is still prophesying for the cause, giving himself altruistically for it. His Christ-like development is complete when he is killed in the center of a watercourse. He says to his attackers, “ ‘You chaps don ‘ know what you ‘re a-doin ‘ ” which is reminiscent of Christ ‘s “ Forgive them for they know non what they do ” when crucified.

As the novel ‘s supporter, Tom appears to be good-natured and thoughtful. Though he kills a adult male and is put into prison for four old ages, he ne’er wastes his clip with declinations. After go forthing prison, Tom comes across the former sermonizer Jim Casy. From so on, they two begin the journey of migrators together. There are sufficient inside informations to place him as a type of Moses at the beginning. For illustration, he leads his people as they journey toward the Promised Land. And Moses, he has committed an act of force by killing a adult male and has been in prison for four old ages before he joins the household and becomes their leader. Just as Moses has Aaron as his spokesman truck driver, Tom besides has a younger brother, Al Joad who serves as a vehicle for the leader. Before making California, he hears and rejects the evil studies of some Oklahomans traveling back from it, merely like Moses does to Hebrew “ undercover agents ” before he got to the Promised Land. After they arrive in California, Tom ‘s function has changed ; he becomes a adherent of Casy alternatively of being Moses. Because his tunnel is revealed by his younger sister Ruthie Joad, he must get away and go forth his household. When he tells Ma adieu and explains why hour must go forth, he says a batch about Casy to Ma: “ Casy spouted out some Bible one time, an ‘ it didn ‘ soun ‘ like no hell-fire Bible. ” He repeats what Casy has told him approximately two being better than one and rehearsed Casy ‘s learning about the person and corporate psyche, remembering that Casy went into a wilderness to happen his psyche, and so he found. “ His small piece of a psyche was n’t no good ‘less it was with the remainder, an ‘ was whole, ” he explains to Ma Casy ‘s theory of Christian Socialism. “ ‘Tom, ‘ Ma repetitions, ‘what you gon na make? ‘ ‘What Casy done, ‘ he said ” . And when Ma objects, “ ‘How ‘m I gon na cognize ’bout you? They might kill ya an ‘ I should n ‘ know. They might ache ya. How ‘m I gon na cognize? ‘ ” Tom responds by mentioning Casy ‘s logic. Like Casy, Tom is ready to give his life for his fellow work forces. In the manner, he bit by bit grows strong and becomes a faithful adherent of Casy.

The novel chiefly depicts two adult females images, one is Ma Joad, and another is Rose of Sharon. Most critics think that Ma is the most perfect image in Steinbeck ‘s plant. She is regarded as household fortress, a strong impregnable place. However, she is non the lone adult female who could non be defeated in the novel-Rose of Sharon as her girl, is besides an unconquerable image. In the beginning, Rose of Sharon is “ a plump, passionate boyden with cat-fights in bed, biting and rubing with dull giggles and concluding cryings ” . As she is pregnant, she changes into “ a balanced, careful, wise animal who smiled shyly but steadfastly. Her whole idea and actions are directed inward on the babe ” . Her function bit by bit changes from a miss into a female parent. She begins to believe of herself, believe about what a hereafter female parent should make. As they start their journey, Connie and Rose and Sharon have already lived in their ain universe: “ The universe had drawn near around them, and they were in the Centre of it, or instead Rose of Sharon was in the Centre of it with Connie doing a little orbit about her ” . Unfortunately, the cruel world destroys their happy universe. Connie leaves the household, even leaves his married woman and unborn babe. Nevertheless, Rose of Sharon has undergone adversities and decease. At the terminal of the novel, she is so strong that she has been ready to replace Ma as the pillar of the household. Taking a thorough position of the whole novel, it is non hard to happen that Rose of Sharon is all the clip doing the readying for her responsibility. she is taught by Ma to take her ain duty and is encouraged to beckon the fan for deceasing Granma ; although she is really weak because of innutrition and gestation, she still helps Ma to cook and rinse ; though abandoned by Connie, she is mentally and physically exhausted, she still struggles to gain money to back up the household: she insists to pick cotton with other household members irrespective of her illness. Ma wants to carry her but it is of no usage at all.

Rosasharn joins to pick the cotton, but her physical wellness is even worse. Then Ma explains to her what are fear, loneliness and felicity in a adult female ‘s life. The scene when Granma, Ma and Rosasharn are together in the collapsible shelter reflected the continuation of life: Granma is deceasing, Ma is looking after her, and Rosasharn is pregnant. In the novel, Ma ever encourages Rosasharn with her power and dogged spirit. In two of import scenes of the novel, Ma passes the torch to Rosasharn symbolically. In the first scene, the torch is passed on when Ma togss ear hole for Rosasharn. In order to bestir Rosasharn, Ma gives her a brace of aureate ear-rings. Rosasharn has to bear the hurting of piercing the ear hole which symbolically meant that she must stand the minute of replacing her female parent.

The last scene of the book tells us that Rosasharn would go, after Ma, a new leader who has to digest humiliation in order to go on the household. In the barn, Ma ‘s image is extended by Rosasharn. After traveling through great agonies, Rosasharn has developed into a tough adult female like Ma. The relationship between them became equal. Before that, Rosasharn is ever called “ child, ” but in the last chapter, Steinbeck emphasizes their equal place: “ the two adult females looked deep into each other ” . In the big portion of the novel, though Ma Joad ever plays as a waker, Rose of Sharon is the existent fosterer alternatively of Ma. It is Rosasharn who saves the old anon. adult male with her chest. The combination of her birthrate and her altruism symbolizes the reproduction and hope.

As the symbol of endurance, the image of Rose of Sharon is both ordinary and great. She is full of hope for the hereafter. With this image the writer expresses his thought that the Americans will ne’er defeated by the troubles and they will process frontward bravely.

Steinbeck is truly a maestro of symbolism. A thorough reading of his plant reveals that assorted symbols interweave though about all of his novels, while in this novel-The Grapes of Wrath, it is even more apparent.

The dust and polo-neck appear in the first chapter intimation at the great hard people have to face and endure ; the grapes mentioned several times in the fresh indicate the hope in the beginning, while in the terminal, it becomes the symbol of choler, wrath ; although autumn into desperate passs, the Joads still do non give up, Ma Joad bit by bit becomes the anchor of the whole household. It is Ma who tries all her best to unify the household together ; with the instruction of Ma, Rose of Sharon eventually courageously takes the duty. She transforms from an guiltless miss into a mature, Madonna-like adult female. From her, we can see a glow of hope, and one ‘s assurance in adult male and human nature. Jim Casy and Tom Joad are two Christian-like people. Like Jesus, Casy regards the economy of the whole people as his sanctum cause ; after his decease, Tom follows in his stairss, he becomes a faithful adherent of Casy. Of cause the writer does non straight indicate out the symbolic significances of these images in the novel. It is merely the appeal of symbolism-causes the narrative to lodge in the readers ‘ head and gives the narrative extended significance beyond its surface significance. Just imagine that the writer writes this novel without these abundant symbols, how deadening and plain it will go.

So many symbols that Steinbeck applies in the novel greatly add the sense of enigma and weightiness. It seems that none of them can be deleted. Each plays a really of import function in the novel. What Steinbeck delivers in the novel is non merely sympathy with the hapless, but besides the bravery to contend the troubles. The reading of the book can be a really uneven experience: one senses desperation as one reads along, and sees no chance of compensation for all these enduring until one reaches the last chapter of the book. But really, people ever hold the belief that a better life will be possible.

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Applications Of Symbols In Grapes Of Wrath English Literature Essay. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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