Novel the Grapes of Wrath Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :

narrative structure of the Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a realistic novel that chronicles the journey of the Joad family during the dustbowl era. The Joads have lost their farm and are looking for work in California. They are contemptuously called 'Oakies' because they are itinerant migrants from Oklahoma. Steinbeck weaves the conventional narrative structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution with musings about the nature of America, its farmland, and the economy.

The story begins with the Joads getting ready to leave their farm, which has been repossessed by the bank because the Joads have been unable to plant anything in the dusty soil. Steinbeck portrays the banks as greedy monstrosities: "They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money" (Steinbeck 32). The son Tom Joad is currently on parole but he decides to follow his family. His friend, a wandering preacher named Jim Casy agrees to accompany them. This sets the scene for the first question that will drive the novel: will the promised land of California be the solution to the Joad family's worries? The Joads invest everything in the journey: they kill all of their pigs, the only livestock they have, so they can salt and bring the meat on the journey. The scene of the slaughter creates a sense of foreboding regarding the journey.

As the Joads travel, their luck begins to worsen. The Joads' dog is hit by a car and dies. Grandma and Grandpa die. The family is treated with contempt wherever they go, even by members of the working poor, like a gas station attendant who is angry because he thinks they are begging from him. People are so poor they are trading merchandise with him for gas. "Why one fella wanted to give me his shoes for a gallon" (Steinbeck 127). Although times are hard, however, Steinbeck also portrays more prosperous members of the city through which the Joads travel…

Sources Used in Document:

Work Cited

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin 2002.

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