Essay, Research Paper: Grapes Of Wrath

Literature: Grapes of Wrath

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John Steinbeck’s. The Grapes of Wrath is in direct correlation with his view
of the rich and the poor. Steinbeck vividly depicts the wealthy as being
“monsters” and portrays the lower-class okies as being un-sung heroes.
Steinbeck uses figurative language throughout the course of the novel in order
to create these images. Steinbeck incorporates his views of social classes into
his novel in order to forewarn society of the dangers of the separation of
social classes. In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck introduces lower
class America as the gallant heroes, and upper class America as the evil
influence behind social segregation. John Steinbeck is very fervent toward the
manner in which the wealthy treat the poor because of the iniquities that
manifest themselves in the upper class portion of our society. The poverty of
our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the
result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of
the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written
off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first
culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. - John Berger John Berger
and John Steinbeck have parallel minds when it comes to the manner in which the
20th century treats the destitute individual. The difficulty in this matter
comes with the fact that there isn’t a single individual to blame. Instead,
society as a whole is to blame. Natural scarcity isn’t even an issue when it
comes to America’s potential. If the price of food is too low we solve the
problem by throwing out food that could have been used to feed the famished
mouths of our ravenous society. Steinbeck depicts even a ravenous individual as
a virtuous member of society. The Grapes of Wrath is such an involved novel
because of the many themes that present themselves on so many different levels.
The palpable reason for high-class society’s iniquities is greed, but
Steinbeck introduces many other ideas. One of the ideas that Steinbeck expresses
through the novel is the idea that there is almost an innate malevolence that
encompasses the wealthy. Aside from Steinbeck’s malice view of the wealthy, he
despises the men that work for the big corporations and believes that they are
just as responsible for their actions. “These last would take no
responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves,
while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the
owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters.”
Many of the men that work for the banks and corporations create a scapegoat by
placing all of the blame on the banks and corporations, as if a bank or
corporation is one person to blame. Once Steinbeck creates a malign illustration
of the wealthy, he goes on to create a benign image of the poor. The lower
class, as a single component, is never described as being wicked. The poor are
always generous and ready to help others. The lower class’ virtuous attitude
is greatly emphasized by comparing them to the wealthy. The okies are only able
to make it through life by helping each other. It is through this realization
that the okies obtain their strength. One of the messages that Steinbeck tries
to communicate to the reader is the reassurance that when the poor help each
other they are accomplishing more than what a little bit of money could have
done for them. Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it
once and for all. Almsgiving leaves a man just where he was before. Aid restores
him to society as an individual worthy of all respect and not as a man with a
grievance. Almsgiving is the generosity of the rich; social aid levels up social
inequalities. Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and
sets him on the same level with the rich. - Eva Peran Aid is one of the
exceedingly important aspects of life that people tend to overlook. The poor are
more inclined to give aid to each other than the wealthy are inclined to give
aid to the poor. When a patrician lends a hand to a beggar the boundary between
the rich and the poor is broken. I think that one of the problems with
Steinbeck’s view of the rich and the poor is that he sees the entire spectrum
in black and white. If you are rich, you are bad. If you are poor, you are good.
If you look at the world with this frame of mind you will emphasize the message
that you are trying to convey to the world, but you will overlook the
exceptions. I think that a person’s wealth has a lot to do with his frame of
mind, whether he is rich or poor. By desiring little, a poor man makes himself
rich. -Democritus If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our
wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. -Edmund Burke The only problem that I
see with this philosophy is that a person’s frame of mind doesn’t put food
on the table.

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