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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

English Project

Natalie K

on 12 April 2015

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Transcript of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

By John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath Setting the Scene John Steinbeck More on Steinbeck Steinbeck's Style Literary Criticism An inside look........ -Along with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930’s, another devastating event engulfed America. There were a series of severe dust storms that lasted almost a decade and affected the dry regions of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This event became known as the Dust Bowl. The causes of this are most closely linked to poor agricultural practices, as well as, years of drought. During this time, crops failed repeatedly and small farmers lost their land to the banks that held mortgages on their farms. Corporations formed and took over the farm lands. Homeless, jobless, and practically hopeless, many families (like the Joads) invested whatever money they had left in a voyage to the promising state of California. In total between 3 and 4 hundred thousand left their homes in search of a new and better life. Steinbeck's Style -John Steinbeck was born on February 27,1902 in Salinas, California. This plays an important role in his life because he matures and lives through the darkest days of the depression. Thus, several of his works are based on events that occurred during his time (ex: Dust Bowl). Steinbeck also uses his home state as the set for many of his novels, including, The Grapes of Wrath. At age 16, Steinbeck fell ill during a flu epidemic and required a surgery to drain fluid from his lung. After miraculously recovering, Steinbeck realized that nothing can be taken for granted and he became fiercely determined to pursue a career as a writer. During his summers, Steinbeck worked along side migrant work crews who picked crops in California. Here, he heard stories and gained firsthand knowledge about the lives of these people. This, of course, helped shape Steinbeck's story about the Joads. About the Author -As the Great Depression began to take a firm hold in the United States, Steinbeck experienced a time when failure of the American Dream was much too common. During the early 1930’s, unemployment skyrocketed and Steinbeck was sent to write stories about the migrant labor camps for a San Francisco newspaper. He was shocked by what he discovered because he had never before realized that people could live in such poor conditions. “Thousands of hungry people, driven from their land, huddled together in makeshift tents, with only unsanitary water to drink.” Due to the poor sanitation, diseases such as tuberculosis and measles spread like fire throughout the camps. The migrants tried to revolt against the conditions, only to be brutally suppressed in the end. After writing the article for the newspaper, Steinbeck realized that he had so much more that he wanted to say about this issue. Thus, he decided to write The Grapes of Wrath, which was published in 1939. Literary Criticism Literary Criticism -Steinbeck is known to provide a profound explanation of the setting at the beginning of his novels, prior to the introduction of the characters. He then molds his characters based upon their environment. The setting defines the characters in a way and allows readers to get a better understanding of why each character looks and behaves the way she/he is. In chapter 1, Steinbeck describes a dust storm and how crushed the families were when their precious crops were ruined. Through this description, the readers are able to see the bigger picture and somewhat comprehend what the sharecroppers are going through. Also, by having the reader’s first experience be with nature rather than people, the author channels the message that the primary forces acting in this novel are in nature. The forces are powerful and devastating and man is virtually powerless in their presence. Steinbeck: Key Concepts In Conclusion On the first day we delegated the parts of the project among the members of the group. After we decided who was doing each part then, we started getting our resources together. We used a variety of sources from online databases and print resources. At first we didn’t know where exactly to look, and were getting unreliable resources in the beginning. The sources were unreliable for several reasons. Another mistake we made was not asking Mrs. Lingardo questions earlier. We wasted time on the first day because we didn’t know what we were doing, once we asked her it became more clear. When we were done with our research, many new things we hadn't previously realized about the book became clear. The project definitely helped in our understanding of the book. Results Mistakes Report on the Research Procedures: "The Grapes of Wrath" - The title has a biblical reference to the Book of Revelations ( Passage 14:19-21) -Steinbeck had a specific purpose for including the “in between” chapters that intruded the normal flow of the novel. Their purpose was to provide and over view of what is going on around the Joads at this time as well as link the story and experiences of the Joads to that of other migrant families. He wanted readers to understand the bigger picture, of widespread suffering and oppression that people faced. These chapters also foreshadowed experiences that the Joads would have, such as struggling to find work. Usually when we read a book, we read it to understand it on a basic level, and often times we miss some of the deep symbolism present. We also overlook why the author chose to include certain things. This project really helped us understand The Grapes of Wrath and all the symbols and deeper meaning that Steinbeck put in his book. Additionally, we now know how and where he grew up, and what influenced him as a child, which helps us see why he included these specific aspects in his writing as an adult. -Salinias,California: As this is the place where John Steinbeck grew up, it also is the setting for many of his books.Including "Grapes of Wrath". Salinias was more than a place of residency it was a mythical, and enchanted setting. A small paradise created by his ancestors. Steinbeck's grandfather helped establish Salinias after a long trek from Massachusetts to live a more comfortable life with his wife. -The turtle: The turtle represents a farm worker that works and bothers no one , but is always in constant jeopardy. Like the Joads family and other migrant workers, the turtle is determined and persevere through hard times. Steinbeck was independent from the normal literary and political proletarian movements of this time. Such "ideological neutrality" gave him the ability to stay away from things like pride and prejudice. Steinbeck's vast knowledge of his material was key in the realism and authority of his novel. When, The Grapes of Wrath, was first published, it was met with hysterics and controversy. There were those who defended the integrity of the novel and those who saw it a dishonest novel. However, as time went on, critics began to examine the structure which would lead to the discovery of new perspectives on Steinbeck's writing. Connections began to be made to its biblical correlation and mythical interpretation which led to a new outlook on the book's complexity. We didn't communicate as much as we should have. "Although thus associated with this class of social-protest fiction, The Grapes of Wrath, continues to be read, not as a piece of literary or social history, but with a sense of emotional involvement and aesthetic discovery. More than any other American novel, it successfully embodies a contemporary social problem of national scope in an artistically viable expression. It is unquestionably John Steinbeck's finest achievement, a work of literary genius." - Peter Lisca -The trucks and bulldozers: This symbolizes big businesses with little regard for poor farmer workers -Jim Casey: "Jesus Christ" (Initials J.C) Jim Casey is portrayed as this because he sacrifices his life for something he believes in. Tom follows Jim like a disciple. While reading the book, the members of our group were rather confused by the " in between" chapters and we didn't see what purpose they served. However, after completing the book and this project we discovered their importance. These chapters show the bigger picture and tie the whole book together as well as linking the Joad family to the other migrant families. -Grapes- Symbolizes both abundance ( Rebirth and renewal). The grapes can symbolize the hopes and dreams of the family. Grandpa talks about the prosperity of California. We had technical difficulties with prezi as well as transferring information through email -It is an illusion to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" a poem written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861

-Wrath- The actuality of their journey (anger and frustration) . It shows the difficulties and struggle that they face. When the family arrives, California is not all that it is said to be. They have difficulties finding jobs and a place to live. Grandpa: "Know what I’m a-gonna do? I’m gonna pick me a wash tub full of grapes, an’ I’m gonna set in ‘em, and scrooge aroun’, an’ let the juice run down my pants." " Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is stamping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored." -Rose of Sharon: The final scene depicts Steinbeck as a writer. He believes that the human spirit suffers in isolation and only a community can oppose injustice and prosper. Rose of Sharon shows life and death. She bears a stillborn child, yet she nurses a weak man to prevent him from dying (She can still give someone life and help the larger human family) -Death of the dog: The dog gets run over by a car and his body is deformed with guts all over. This foreshadows hard times where they may battle with death. -Migrant people on the road: Similar to the Israelites exodus from Egypt, led by Moses. They are both looking for a new start.
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