Theme of Family in The Grapes of Wrath

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Today if anything is trying to hold you back, give no attention to it. Get your hopes up, get your faith up, look up, and get ready to rise up (Germany Kent). These words of encouragement by Germany Kent advise others to stay sturdy in the toughest of situations. In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the author John Steinbeck strongly emphasizes the theme of poverty, unjust, and the human spirit. Based on the migrant workers during Americas Dust Bowl, the Joad family faces many difficult struggles such as hunger and the loss of their home.

Despite the various factors that pushed the family away from each other at times, Ma Joad stands there as a backbone who helps pull the family back together promising to assuage the future in hope of prosperity. Jim Casy is an ex-preacher who ends up coming across Tom Joad; he teaches the family members about the impact of any situation in an individuals life and the search within, to find out ones identity. The Joad family is forced to start a new life in California with their heads up in search of better opportunities and new jobs. Expressed through their actions and beliefs, both Ma Joad and Jim Casy exhibit strong leadership that fuels the perseverance of their surrounding characters.

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Ma Joad exhibits an immense amount of self-control and selflessness during her familys frustrations and struggles during their journey. Nevertheless, Ma realizes that the family will only be successful if she remains serene in any situation that approaches her. She does not get furious like the rest of the family, but rather stays tranquil and does not remonstrate with Ruthie when she tells others about Toms secret. Warren Motley discusses in his work how Ma Joad acts as a cohesive force within the family to survive the long expedition. By usurping the patriarchs role as the head of the family, Ma breaks tradition to achieve what is needed for the family (Motley 6). Before the journey even takes a start, Grandpa refuses not to come in the Joads truck, so Ma Joad mixes in sleep time cough medicine in his coffee, which makes him go to sleep. During the journey to California, the family takes a pit stop because of a truck damage. Tom suggests that the rest of the family keep moving forward and that he will see them in California. Ma, however, is desperate to prevent the family from breaking up and insists, I aint a-gonna go (Steinbeck 168). Shortly after the Joad family enters the Route 66 to California, Grandmas health begins to decline.

Grandma becomes seriously ill shortly after; therefore, Ma Joad nurses her. In fact, Ma wants the family to cross this strenuous journey and to have unity throughout.

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