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Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath
Transcript of Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
The dust represents the end of prosperity and the start of difficulties.
"Joad took a few steps, an he flour-like dust spurted up in front of his new yellow shoes, and the yellowness was disappearing under gray dust" (Steinbeck 22).
When the dust covered Tom's new yellow shoes, it demonstrated the end of the good times. Throughout the novel, the dust continues to serve as symbol of the cause of bad times.
The turtle represents determination. Though the turtle is hit by a car, rolled down a hill, and picked up by Tom, the turtle continues to walk up the street.
Like the turtle, the Joads keep going west and keep working despite their hardships.
The car salesman represents the selfishness of people during the Great Depression. The chapter describes how the car salesmen would trick the customers by making old, run down cars seem newer and then sell the cars for a high price. It shows how far people will go to get money, even if it involves taking advantage of people.
Rose of Sharon's Pregnancy
Rose of Sharon's pregnancy represents the Joads' hope for a new beginning. Throughout the novel, the family constantly takes care of Rose of Sharon and excitedly awaits the birth of her baby. But then when Rose of Sharon's baby dies, it represents the end of the hope. It represents the Joads giving up.
Death of the Joads' Dog
When the Joads' dog is hit soon after he start of the trip, it represents the hardships that he Joads will face throughout the rest of the trip.
Death of the Grandparents
When Granma and Grampa died, it symbolized the how leaving home affected the migrants.
"'No,' said Casy, 'you couldn' a done nothin'. Your way was fixes an' Grampa didn' have no part in it. He didn' suffer none. Not after fust thing in the mornin'. He's just stayin' with the lan'. He couldn' leave it'" (Steinbeck 187).
This quote suggests that leaving home is what caused his death. The death of he grandparents shows the toll that leaving took.
The Cafe Scene
The cafe scene represents that there is still some generosity in others. Mae and Al, the workers in the cafe gave the family bread for a much cheaper price, and also Mae lied about the price of candy so that the man could afford them.
The grapes are the ultimate goal in The Grapes of Wrath. The represent the prosperity that all migrants were hoping for in California. However, just as the title of the novel suggests, the grapes did not provide prosperity. Instead, migrants in California were left with nothing. So grapes also represent lost hope and disappointment.
"In the souls of people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for he vintage" (Steinbeck 449).
This quotes demonstrates how the people were beginning to realize that the grapes were not going to help them prosper and would actually make them suffer.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York:
Penguin, 2002. Print.