The Grapes of Wrath is set in the horrible stage of our American history, the Depression. Economic, social, and historical surroundings separate the common man of America into basically the rich and poor. A basic theme is that man turns against one another in a selfish pride to only protect themselves. For example, the landowners create a system in which migrants are treated like animals and pushed along from one roadside camp to the next. They are denied decent wages and forced to turn against their fellow scramblers to simply survive. The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of two types of ‘families’ in that the Joads are a factual one and the body of migrant workers as the other. The Joads are actual blood together, but their loyalty to one another is the true essence of their family-hood. The Joads stand as ideal figures in their refusal to be broken by the circumstances against them. Each character undergoes tremendous heartache and burden, yet they stay true to their plans and never give up. While the Joad family is moving from Oklahoma to California, Ma Joad holds the family together because her belief that a broken-family will not be able to accomplish their mammoth task.
This is displayed by her not allowing the two cars to split and arrive at California at different times when one of the cars breaks down as they are leaving Oklahoma. Pa Joad is a hardworking man who is uplifted from his normal way of life and forced to account for his family not starving. He does not handle this move very well, and throughout the book is confused from not being as headstrong as Ma Joad is. Tom, though, is a very complicated individual who turns out to be a tremendous asset and burden to the family. His parole causes the family an unneeded worry, but does get work that helps the family. He is the main protagonist for his family and the main follower of Jim Casy’s philosophy on human nature. Jim is much more of a talker and idealist, and he actually puts what he preached into action. Jim Casy is frequently compared with Jesus Christ and his lifestyle of preaching and leading people. As well as sacrificing himself for Tom and the Joad family which upholds his common held belief. Tom carries Jim’s message after his death and aids others with it. The Joad family, along with Jim Casy, shows the benefit of people uniting in order to accomplish goals and this is a lesson that the reader can take away from this novel. The setting is so important to the novel because it sets the role and background of the characters.
The Joad family is forced to move to California because of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, which has made it impossible for them to earn a livelihood through farming. Drought and depression has made it impossible for farmers to grow a substantial amount to live on. As inflation rises and wages drop, a gigantic worker migration heads West in search of Jobs. They have seen notices asking for workers in the ...
View of the Depression then come from a man just off of parole or a grandfather who is getting old and to weak to be the backbone of the family. The Depression that has hit nailed the common man and jobs are scarce. This is the binding factor between everyone in the novel – that most people are ‘down in the dumps.’ The main theme of the book is the ‘character’ of people in that time. How people bonded and rejected one another in a time of such hardship and demoralization. I think every character played a part in the role to set a historic view of different people during the times. Steinbeck also focused on much symbolism and foreshadowing in the novel to the upcoming parts. Not only did the symbolism show a meaning to life in that time, but to the lives of all men then and today. That we will never accomplish great tasks without the help of our brethren.