Character Analysis: The Grapes Of Wrath

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Looking Past Profit It is very easy to steal a candy from a crying child; one must simply walk up to them while they are distracted, take it, and saunter away happily. Despite the fact that this would cause the child to cry even more, most would think that this is the best way to obtain the candy. However, there is a better way. If one consoles the child, the child will likely give them the candy in return, and both will walk away happily. Steinbeck understands this, and seeks to help others understand it as well. In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, intercalary chapter seven and the Joad family illustrate how people blindly disregard others for the sake of profit, and show that they can be more successful by working with others. In chapter…show more content…
They live their lives by simply "puttin' one foot in front a the other" (236). They are mostly concerned with the present and their own path. But unlike the car salesman, they are not blind to the needs of others, and are even willing to temporarily detour from their path to help others. It is their philosophy to never refuse “food an' shelter or a lift on the road to anybody that asked” (139). When the Joads first decide to bring Casy along, Pa is worried that they will not have enough money to “feed an extra mouth” In response, Ma explains that he is “strong an' healthy” and therefore can help the family, and will not be a burden (139). When the Joads meet the Wilsons they are quick to take them in, because they can easily see past the fact that they do not have much much money. They realize that if they “keep together on the road... it'd be good for ever'body” because the Joads can keep the Wilsons’ car running, and the Wilsons can carry some of the Joads’ supplies to help them get over the mountains (202). Their willingness to help others even helps them monetarily. Their awareness of others allows them to understand how the Californian situation got so bad in the first place: when a person is getting a good wage, they do not “give a damn about nothin' else” because they only care about themselves. Unfortunately, there is always…show more content…
In response, Steinbeck shows the direct impact of the unfair salesman's actions on the Joads, and forces profit minded people like the salesman to acknowledge their impact on others. When The Grapes of Wrath first came out, some denounced it for being “obscene in the extreme sense of the word” (Today). Like the salesman, people were so focused on profit and efficiency they were oblivious to their impact on others, and did not want to accept the harsh realities the book presentes. Steinbeck is able to shatter their ignorance be making it very clear that the migrants are human: they have human feelings and are impacted by the action of others. It is easy to ignore the unfairness of selling someone a barely working car that is not much more than “rolling junk” when they will disappear and be forgotten shortly after the purchase (Steinbeck, 84). It is not easy to ignore that unfairness when its direct impact on the Joads is shown, and they start losing hope because their car broke and they are “scairt [they will] run outta money” now that they have to fix it (227). It is hard to convince people that working with others is better than hurting them when they do not think they are doing anything wrong in the first place. Therefore, the Joads’ struggles enlighten people to the fact that their ignorance hurts

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