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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Rebirth

Falling Stage

The Joad family has to move.

Tom returns home to find that his family has been kicked off of their land. The whole family has to pack up and leave Oklahoma.

Recession Stage

Tom and the Joad family leave town.

The Joads buy a car and move west, like thousands of other families, in search of a new life, a new home, and new opportunity.

Imprisonment Stage

California is a myth.

On their journey westward, the Joads continue to hear news that things in California are dismal. However, they can't turn back. They have no life or home left in Oklahoma. They have no choice put to press on.

Nightmare Stage

There's no work in California.

The Joads can't find any work in California. They are hungry, they are tired, they lose four members of the family.

Rebirth Stage

We can work it out.

While Rose of Sharon's baby has died, she is able to use her breast milk to save a half-starved man. The Joads continue to reach out and to help anyone who needs help. We don't know what the future holds for the Joads, but we see their goodness and we know it exists in other families, too.

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