Throughout history man has made many journeys, both far and wide. Moses’ great march through the Red Sea and Columbus’s traversing the Atlantic are examples of only a couple of men’s great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox’s run across Canada while fighting cancer is one of these such journeys. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and overcome immense odds, similar to a salmon swimming upstream to full fill it’s life line. Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they needed to posses during their travels.
In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck illustrates the Joad’s endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel. He effectively foreshadows upcoming events by telling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters. He then narrows it down to how it effects the main characters of the novel, which are the Joads. Setting the tone of the novel in the reader’s mind is another function of Steinbeck’s intercalary chapters.
In chapter three, Steinbeck immaculately describes the long, tedious journey of a land turtle across a desolate highway. From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many setbacks. Along the way ants, hills, and oak seeds hinder him under his shell. The turtle’s determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck driven by a young man swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle’s shell is clipped and he goes flying off the highway, but the turtle does not stop. He struggles back to his belly and keeps driving toward his goal, just as the Joads keep driving toward their goal.
Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many great hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, were the Joads desolated highways. The truck driver represented the Californians, who Buried food and killed livestock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. And their ants and hills were sickness. Even through all of this, the Joads persevered. They were driven by two great motivating powers, poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, “The Garden of Eden.
Free Grapes of Wrath Essays: Steinbeck’s Biblical References
Biblical References in The Grapes of Wrath
The plot of John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, can easily be related to many biblical references as well as it could be applied to the daily struggles of the lives of Christians. Two particular portions of this novel stick out more than any other. Those are the characters of Jim Casey and Pa Joad. Many say that Jim Casey’s character could possibly be symbolically tied into the biblical hero of Moses. In the Bibles book of Exodus, Moses guided thousands of people (God’s family, the Israelites) out of severe slavery and harsh treatment in Egypt. From there he led them into the promised land of Canon that flowed with milk and honey. Much is the same when looking at The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck could possibly be trying to infer the Joad Family as being the struggling Israelites. Casey acts as a leader who directs the Joads out of famine and hard times during the 1930’s in Oklahoma and into California where they can begin a new life with hope and future. This book can also be symbolic to the day by day walks in Christianity. For example when Pa Joad needs helps and seeks guidance, it is Jim Casey who he turns to. Those who follow Christ call upon God in desperate times. Steinbeck infers that Casey, who happens to be a preacher, is somewhat of a Christ figure to the Joad family. He even throws a hidden clue in his name. The initials of Jim Casey are the same of those of Jesus Christ. Steinbeck implies that Pa Joad is symbolically a typical Christian who is struggling in a world of sin. The famine and horrible conditions of the great depression stand for the sin that is surrounding this battling Christian. So as a final resort this child of God turns to Jesus Christ for salvation and release from the sin in his life. These two characters display both the giving and receiving sides of God’s love towards his children.