The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of the Joad family, migrant farmers from Oklahoma traveling to California in search of an illusion of prosperity. The novel’s strong attitude stirred up much controversy and was banned from schools and stores due to its vulgar language. This story, winning the Pulitzer Prize, is considered to be John Steinback’s greatest work. What makes this novel such a masterpiece is its use of symbolism, its description about history and its use of intercalary chapters.
A first reason why Steinback’s novel is such a work of art is because of his use of symbolism. Steinback fills the novel with incredible symbolism, from Tom Joad crushing the grasshopper, to the famous turtle chapter. Also when Uncle John sends the dead baby down the river it is another use of symbolism. These symbols give a deeper meaning to the novel. When Tom Joad crushes the grasshopper it symbolizes the banks crushing the farms with the bulldozers. The famous turtle chapter symbolizes the Joad family in their struggle to reach California and the car that strikes the turtle and sets it back is symbolized as big business and the growing economy which sets the Joads back. Uncle John sending the dead baby down the river symbolizes Moses being sent down the river as an infant. All these symbols enhance and deepen the novel’s meaning and are a strong factor in making this an award-winning novel.
Symbolism embodies an abstract idea or concept by using an object or character. In the parable, The Pearl, Steinbeck uses symbolism extensively to create and develop the novel’s themes. The pearl of the book’s title is a symbol, which develops from a paradise of hopes and dreams, to a destructive centre of evil. The key symbol of the pearl generates the theme of the destructive nature ...
Secondly, the novel The Grapes of Wrath was such a success because of the realism of Steinback’s description of history. This novel, written in the 1930’s portrays great truth about what actually took place in the early nineteen hundreds. The dirty thirties were a time of poverty for everyone, not only the farmers. With the crash of the stock exchange and the drought everybody was in trouble. Those who were wealthier than others took land from those of inferior quality, so they could survive through the tough time. Also referred to as the Dust Bowl in the novel, the thirties were a time of hardship on the farmers with the drought alone. No crops would grow with out rain so this hurt farm families a great deal. Not to mention the landowners sending the farmers off their land, which is what happened in this novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
Finally, Steinback uses intercalary chapters which make this novel diverse and one of a kind. Steinbeck’s intercalary chapters in The Grapes of Wrath have nothing to do with the Joads or other characters of the novel, but they help describe the story in different terms. They offer different viewpoints of the migration, and clarify parts of the story that the reader might not understand. An example of this use can be seen in chapter 21, where the attitudes of migrant Okies and the residents of California reveal the changing nature of land ownership among the increasing population of California and gives greater meaning to the lack of sympathy that the Joads receive in California. Another example of the intercalary chapter would be chapter 3, where is explains about a turtle struggling to make it to the opposite side of a road. This related to the story is the struggle the Joads have making it to California. Steinback’s use of intercalary chapters explain the story on a different note and they are sometimes very helpful in understanding this novel.
In conclusion, Steinback’s novel The Grapes of Wrath was deserving of its award because of its brilliance. Its brilliancy reflects on its use of symbolism, description of history and use of intercalary chapters. One could easily be offended by Steinback’s use of vulgar language throughout this novel, but a person at the present time normally would not be offended when reading this novel. When this novel was released it was banned from schools and stores would not sell it, but now a days it is considered as a classic novel and should be studied in schools and read by everyone. Due to its description of history, use of symbolism and intercalary chapters, this story is a brilliant work of art and one of a kind.
Through a close critical reading of Mavis Gallant’s ‘The End of the World’ (in the Anthology, A World of Difference, pp. 125–32), consider how the story’s narrative techniques, language and structure help to illustrate the theme of ‘cultural encounters’. The short story is like an anecdote. It contains a complete story that usually spans over a short period of time, with a minimal cast. Mavis ...