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Shortly after the Joads leave home they arrive at a gas station to fill up. While they're there, their dog gets hit by a car. The dog is left of in the middle of the road, guts lie strewn on the road. Along with a symbolic meaning this event is a form of Foreshadowing. It indicates the dangers of the road, and trails that are ahead of them. It foreshadows the cruel individuals the family will encounter. People are desperate and angry and will not hesitate to run over a dog.
"They was some folks figgered it was a good respectable thing to have a preacher along. Ef somebody died, preacher buried'em. Weddin' come due, or overdue, an there's your preacher. Baby come, an' you got a christener right under your roof (Steinbeck 101)
Ma states that they should bring the preacher along in case someone dies. This suggests that there are going to be future deaths along the way. which later comes true, and the preacher says a prayer for each other. Symbols The road
The road in the the book is symbolic from
even the first chapter. The road takes on great meaning from the minute Tom Joad heads home. The book talks about his "dark quiet eyes became amused as he stared along the road" This is the road that is leading him home. At this moment in the book it symbolizes hope and a new beginning. Then later route 66 becomes the new symbol of the future. It is "the mother road, the road of flight," the very thing that allows so many families to pursue their hopes and dreams.
Although it is a symbol of of hope it also symbolizes the harsh condition ahead. The fast pace road is where their dog is killed, and is the road that leads them to their misery in California.
Its also important to note that route 66 on heads in one direction. It does not intersect with any other roads. Once on the road you can either keep going forward to the unknown and go back to poverty and the places you know.
The cars driving along the road become a comparison to animals, limping along the road thirsty for water.
In all of these cases it can be concluded that the road symbolizes life. Either you take a risk and move forward or go back the way you came. which ever you choose you hold on to hopes and dreams. This being said, life also holds many disappointment and trails just as the road did.
In the book the turtle reminds us of the determined Joad family and other migrant families. When we come across the turtle he is on his way somewhere. He crosses the dangerous road, and after being picked up by tom, when he is set down, he heads on back in his original direction. He accepts the challenges he his faced with and never forgets where he is going. Just as the poverty stricken migrant families deal with car salesmen taking advantages of them and the big corporations trying to send them in a different direction.
The bank is often refereed to as a monster, and it represents just that. In the book the tenants tell the people that the banks are hungry. When the people look for someone to complain to, someone to blame, there is no one. They are told that the orders come from the east. We never see a banker or an agent, we never meet a land owner. We only know they exist, and they are kicking people off their land, and inadvertently taking lives.
The tractor becomes a sub-unit for the bank monster. It becomes a tool tearing up the land, and destroying houses, plowing through gullies, through fences in a straight line. The book describes it as having no connection to the land. It does not feel love for the land, it does not appreciate the land, all it's concerned with is making the land show profit. Allusions Promise Land:
The Journey to California is much like the Israelites' journey to the Promise land. The book is broken into 3 parts. First the migrant families are evicted from their land by the controlling bank. This compares to the slavery of the Israelite's to Egypt. Both struggled for control over their own lives, and hope for better things in a new place. The second part of the book is the Joads leaving for California. This parallels with the Isrealite's wandering the dessert in search of the promise land. The third part of the book is the Joad's arriving to California. Much like when the Isrealite's made it to the promise land. The older generations in both groups did not make it, which is why in the book Grampa and Gramma passed away. The 12 disciples:
The Joad family is made up of twelve, including Connie, much like the twelve disciples that followed Jesus. Connie represents the traitor. Just like the the disciple who had betrayed Jesus the night of his arrest. Rose of Sharon represents a Biblical allusion. After she gives birth to her stillborn child, she gives life to a starving man by breast-feeding him. Her sacrifice suggests the notion of rebirth through Christ’s physical body, which is symbolized in the ritual of communion. When she tells the man to drink her milk she alludes to the Last Supper when Christ tells his disciples “Take, drink ;this is my blood.” ;Rose of Sharon realizes this man will die without her, in the same way Christ says that without Him people will die spiritually. The Last Super: Jim Casy is an allusion to Jesus Christ. They have the same initials and live their lives as examples to others : Jesus to the world as Casy is to Tom. Casy even compares himself to Christ when he says, “I got tired like Him, an’ ;I got mixed up like Him, an’ ;I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin’ ;stuff” ;(105). In the first half of the book Casy is thinking and forming his ideas. He changes from a thinker to a man of action when he sacrifices himself for Tom. When in prison Casy organizes people to achieve a common goal. When Casy tried to put his ideas into action he, like Christ, aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally killed. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, “You don’ ;know what you’re a-doin’” Tom Joad serves as an allusion to Moses
He's a leader of the people as they journey toward the promised land. Like Moses, he has killed a man and had been away for a time before rejoining his people and becoming their leader. Like Moses he has a younger brother who also serves as a medium for the leader.