Steinbeck shows throughout The Grapes of Wrath that mankind is afraid of failure. Although that fear is present in both the desperate migrant workers and the big, ruthless land owners, Steinbeck uses Al Joad’s character to his full advantage t model this characteristic of man. Al’s personal fear of failure motivates him to do well in life in comparison to his male role models, as well as to help support the family. This is conveyed through Al’s sense of responsibility to his family, his careful nature, and his moody and defensive behavior.
Al’s sense of responsibility to his family is a major element in his determination not to fail. His knowledge and operation of automobiles are Al’s major contribution to the family: “He might be a musking goat sometimes, but this was his responsibility, this truck, its running, and its maintenance…And everyone respected him and his responsibility” (Steinbeck, pages 131 and 132). Al not only helps the family succeed in getting to California by taking on this responsibility, he also makes up for other areas of his character in which he feels he is failing or lacking. Such an area of character might be his apathy towards letting his family know his whereabouts when he disappears for days at a time in Oklahoma.
Al’s careful nature is another obvious sign that he does not want to fail. He feels that precaution is the only way to prevent something from going wrong and ultimately failing. This is visible in his meticulous care of the truck: “Al grew tense over the wheel. A little rattle had developed in the engine. He speeded up and the rattle increased…Al blew his horn and pulled the car to the side of the road” (page 225). Al’s care, though obvious only in that of the truck, definitely suggests that should he fail to properly maintain the truck, he would fail himself and his family as well. To offset such an event, Al constantly watches for and prevents any possible problems with the truck.
Al’s moody and defensive behavior is also a strong example of his resolution not to fail. Although his attitude could be attributed to adolescent arrogance, one who examines Al’s character can see that he has more pressure placed upon him than most of the other members of the family.
Free Macbeth Essays: Importance of the Last Two Scenes
The Importance of the Last Two Scenes in Macbeth
The last two scenes are a very important part of the play. They are the last two scenes in the play in which Macbeth is alive. They are also a very effective part of the play; the audience will have already realized that something will happen which will decide the ending of the play. This awareness that something is about to happen is made so by the commotion of the two great armies as they prepare to fight and by Macbeth’s eagerness and confidence to win.
These scenes remind the audience of Macbeth’s true character. Early on in the play he was portrayed as a fierce and brave warrior, however, as the play developed the audience began to get the impression that Macbeth was not all that he had been made out to be. He was seen as a selfish man who got what he wanted by murdering his rivals. This was intentional on the part of the playwright as the entire play is focusing in on how a man as powerful as the king of Scotland can do whatever his “vaulting ambition” wants him to. These scenes re-iterate Macbeth’s original character.
All of the scenes leading up to these two have been advancing the plot in such a way that scenes seven and eight are able to take the audience completely by surprise. For example, the supernatural plays a large role in this play and the audience knows that it will have something to do with the destiny of Macbeth and the outcome of the story. It is this prediction that makes the audience remember what the witches said to Macbeth: “The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.”
These phrases baffle the audience, and so as the end of the play approaches they become interested to find out what they mean.
Scene seven begins with a short soliloquy from Macbeth, he says “They have tied me to a stake, I cannot fly, but bear-like I must fight the course.” This tells the audience that Macbeth doesn’t want to fight, and he doesn’t, but later it is revealed that he is very confident to win. The first man that Macbeth fights with is Young Siward. Macbeth soon kills him “for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” Scene eight follows, with the fight between Macbeth and Macduff.