Self-Discovery In John Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath

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Grapes of Wrath is a film that represents not only the perseverance of the American people but their moral journeys as well. The character of Tom Joad played by Henry Fonda travels the path of self-discovery throughout the film. Henry Fonda’s portrayal of Tom and the director’s shooting of Tom emphasize the overall change in self by changing Tom’s selfish actions to ones of selflessness. The viewers are clued in to Tom’s change over the course of the film by being shown his change of character therefore showing a change in heart. In the beginning of the film, Tom is only shown to the audience as a criminal. When Tom receives a ride from the truck driver he is quick to snap at him for asking any questions. Before exiting the vehicle Tom tells…show more content…
Casey and Tom are seen as similar in the beginning of the film due to them both being lost in their journey of self-discovery. Casey is a burnt out pastor who no longer believes in virtue and value, and Tom is a man who has been turned into a “mean man” due to time in jail. Due to Casey’s brave actions to help others, starting the strike against unfair wages, Fonda starts to portray Tom as a man who is changing. His actions increasingly become less selfish and more selfless. Tom’s mindset changes from “I” to “We”. The director also shoots Tom in a closer way as the movie progresses to emphasize the change. The final scene that shows Tom’s change is his “I’ll Be There” speech he gives to Ma Joad. The director has the scene be close-up and intimate as he speaks to Ma. He talks about having a soul that is part of a whole soul. He is beginning to see the bigger picture that the strike and the actions of the Okies is all part of a bigger plan. The plan is to change their unfair treatment of having to be ill-fed, ill-clothed, and not being paid fairly. He tells Ma Joad that even when he is not physically there, there will always be someone like him. There will always be someone to stand up for the injustices and the weaker

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