The Great Gatsby And John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

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Family is an idea that America was built on and plays a noticeable role in numerous literary works in the United States. Fellowship and the relationship between oneself and one’s neighbor is a prominent theme in American literature as well. Two notable twentieth century authors examine such roles in their signature literary works. F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby and John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath write about the problems that occur when people strive for the dream but do not reach it. While both authors effectively and consistently use motifs to develop the role of family and fellowship, John Steinbeck more efficaciously does so by developing the essence of his characters, events in the plot, and quotes by the characters. Fitzgerald…show more content…
Steinbeck develops transcendental concepts through his unselfish characters, creating an “I to we” consciousness (“Themes and Construction: The Grapes of Wrath"). Unselfish characters such as Ma Joad, Jim Casey, and Tom Joad endure suffering for the well-being of the family and reap the rewards of their suffering. First Ma Joad endures matriarchal suffering throughout the novel for the overall good. Ma Joad also sat with Grandma’s cold dead body as they crossed the border into California to ensure their entry. She has an epiphany along the journey about family saying that “Use’ ta be the fambly was fust. It ain’t so now. It’s anybody. Worse off we get, the more we got to do” (“Themes and Construction: The Grapes of Wrath”). Ma Joad is not only selfless when it comes to her blood relatives but also when it comes to people in a situation similar to hers. At the end of the novel Ma Joad was reunited with her son, a reward for all of her suffering. Additionally, the ex-Reverend Jim Casey believed that “maybe all men got one big soul everybody’s apart of,” (“Themes and Construction: The Grapes of Wrath”); he encouraged unity and selfless ness which he displayed throughout the plot. Casey took Tom and Floyd’s place when the deputy came to arrest them.…show more content…
First Ma Joad becomes the main family leader after Pa dies (Motley1). As people leave, and the family is falling apart Ma Joad remains the central cohesive force (Motley 1). She makes the majority of the decisions for the family and as her power grows she becomes a source of “communal strength sheltering human dignity from the antisocial effects of individualism” (Motley 2). Ma Joad’s primary concern is family; whether it is blood related or people they happen to come upon. Identically, the idea of unity is proved through the unity of the Okies. In the novel the first character to push the idea of unity is Jim Casey. Casey encourages “We” and discourages “I” (Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson 143). The Joad’s make the journey with the attitude that “… it’ll all be different out there – plenty work, an’ everything nice an’ green, an’ little white houses an’ orange growing all around” (Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson 140). This positivity is held by all of the migrants in the beginning, but after being in California for a while with no work or descent source of income their sprits die. The epitome of the Okies' desperation is encased in words spoken by a desperate man saying, “By the end of the day he’s willing to work, jus’ for a cup a

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