Meaning In John Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath

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In many ways John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (1939), features characters who very sure of themselves as well as their place in the world. The preacher in the novel, Jim Casy, has an existential crisis and decides to quit preaching. He realizes that it is futile to tell people things about the world that he, himself, is not even sure of. Casy recognizes his love of talking, but chooses to use this quality to ask questions instead of telling people things. His goal, after preaching, is to learn and understand the many things he doesn’t know. He discredits preachers and validates students in this passage. The idea of asking versus telling is very prominent in the overall story of Grapes of Wrath. The Joad family was extremely confident in…show more content…
They realize that the way to get ahead in the new place is to understand the locals and become more open minded. The idea of open mindedness really resonates with Jim Casy when he explains his plan for the future: "’I ain't gonna baptize. I'm gonna work in the fiel's, in the green fiel's, an' I'm gonna be near to folks. I ain't gonna try to teach 'em nothin'. I'm gonna try to learn. Gonna learn why the folks walks in the grass, gonna hear 'em talk, gonna hear 'em sing. Gonna listen to kids eatin' mush. Gonna hear husban' an' wife a-poundin' the mattress in the night. Gonna eat with 'em an' learn.’ His eyes were wet and shining. ‘Gonna lay in the grass, open an' honest with anybody that'll have me. Gonna cuss an' swear an' hear the poetry of folks talkin'. All that's holy, all that's what I didn't understan'. All them things is the good things’ (63). This quotation embodies the entirety of the novel and the trials and tribulations of the Joad family. The extent to which Jim Casy desires knowledge and abandons his own career is astonishing within the context of the novel. The reader might think as a preacher, Jim Casy would know and understand significantly more than the average person but in fact Casy himself reveals that everyone has something to learn and not even preachers can really know god’s plan. Jim Casy’s emphasis on asking questions instead of telling or preaching at people not only shows his own maturity but reflects the success of the Joad family’s and his adaptation to new thinking with new lands. Appropriately, the Joad’s come to terms with their own reality, as they actually see the positive effect of learning--an effect that opens up more doors to curiosity. The family wonders, “Where does the courage come from? Where does the terrible faith come

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