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Grapes of Wrath
Transcript of Grapes of Wrath
Hyperbole: A tractor and a tank are usually not thought of as the same, but Steinbeck shows the destructive nature of the machine through the comparison of the two. “This tractor does two things-- it turns the land and turns us off the land. There is little difference between this tractor and a tank. The people are driven, intimidated, hurt by both. We must think about this.” (151) The greed of man isolates him from the human spirit. The community is far greater than the wealth of the individual, and Steinbeck uses this passage to emphasize this recurring pattern through the revolutions of human history.
Coda: A technique involving a conclusion or concluding statement. Characterized by transition into second-person, more overt themes, and generalized examples to make the message more personally relevant. Used twice as conclusions to the passages in Ch. 14, to emphasize the inclusion of you, the reader, in this community of man. “For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I,’ and cuts you off forever from the ‘we.’” (152) Once again, it is man who builds, who has the spirit to construct and create and uplift. Steinbeck says civilization was built through the cooperation of a thousand human hands, not one greedy one.
Parallelism: The repetition of "to build" and all the examples of things man can build emphasizes that man is always building and can build anything. “To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house, the dam...” (150) t In the opening passages of the chapter, Steinbeck uses dialogue without quotes as if they were statements and doesn't mention any specifics. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate that the struggles of the migrants are not specific to the Joads.
Generalization: No specifics are used to emphasize the fact that this struggle belongs to all poor men; those who run the shops and those who beg from them. "Minnie or Susy or Mae, middle-aging behind the counter, hair curled and rouge and powder on a sweating face." (154) The tone of The Grapes of Wrath is very gritty, dirty, and realistic, to emphasize the fact that the struggles of these people is real, and the issues are still unresolved.
Dialect: The accent of the migrants and the restaurant employees contributes to the verisimilitude of the piece. If one part of the chapter is authentic, then it contributes to the authenticity of the rest of the piece. “‘Whyn’t you buy a san’widge? We got nice san’widges, hamburgs.’” (159) A recurring theme is the persistence of the migrants. From their symbolism through the turtle to their perseverance in the face of all their trials, Steinbeck admires the workers and the tenacity of their spirit.
Repetition: To emphasize the omnipresence of the worker's problems, Steinbeck repeats "the cars whizzed," "whiz," "vicious whiz." The migrants will always be putting one foot in front of the other. "On 66 the traffic whizzed by, trucks and fine streamlined cars and jalopies; and they went by with a vicious whiz." (161-162) Ma taking control of the family is a sign of the new order in California, but also proof of the strength of the human spirit.
Hyperbole: Steinbeck treats the shift of power in the family as a truly monumental incident, as if the balance of world powers has just shifted. This is to add weight to the importance of family and its structure in this new and upturned world. “The eyes of the whole family shifted back to Ma. She was the power. She had taken control.” (169) The gathering of the proletariat- the transition from "I" to "we"- has been predicted throughout these three chapters.
Foreshadowing: In Grapes of Wrath, Jim Casy serves an almost messianic role; what he says is the gospel truth. The previous two interclary chapters have been predicting and showing the consequences of exploitation, and now in the narrative Casy (and Steinbeck) predicts its coming. “‘They’s a comin’ a thing that’s gonna change the whole country.’” (174)