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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Transience

At the heart of The Grapes of Wrath is change, and we watch families cope as they are forced to change their lives, their homes, and their dreams. Change is bittersweet in this novel because it is...

Family

Family is a means of survival in The Grapes of Wrath. Without each other, the Joads would have no way of coping with the loss of their land or of getting to California. Family is the one weapon tha...

Lies and Deceit

Central to The Grapes of Wrath is a single lie: thousands of families move west to California because they believe it to be the land of plenty, a place full of jobs and opportunity. This lie is spr...

Betrayal

In the face of loss and poverty, the Joads band together to survive and make do. Thousands of other similarly heartbroken families in The Grapes of Wrath also recognize the power of community. Howe...

Religion

When forced to give up so much, the Joads question their faith in a higher power. Reverend Jim Casy, an honorary member of the Joad family, is a quiet man, but he is constantly thinking about God i...

Gender

The narrator of The Grapes of Wrath paints vivid and general portraits of life in Dust Bowl America, and clearly delineates the roles of men and women. The men consider the losses, while the women...

Criminality

By virtue of the fact that Tom Joad is on parole and cannot leave the state of Oklahoma, the Joads are constantly aware of the law and of trying to adhere to the law. Much of The Grapes of Wrath de...

Wealth

Great poverty is juxtaposed with a great appetite for wealth in The Grapes of Wrath. We watch as desperate economic times make some people, like the bankers and landowners, more greedy, wh...
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