Poverty In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

847 Words4 Pages
In the Novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, written by John Steinbeck in 1939 near the end of the great depression, the injustices of poverty and homelessness presented against Tom Joad and his family, force Tom to keep his dignity and self-respect. While continuing to fight for his family in the overcrowded California Hoovervilles, and looking for jobs to survive the unfortunate circumstances laid out for Tom because of the dust bowl and the great depression, his decorum never slumps. This gloomy life forecast never stops Tom from having a kind heart filled with generosity towards others around him. “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his…show more content…
He starts by “Living in the moment” (his coping mechanism for dealing with the stresses of not having a stable home or opportunity for work). Throughout the prose, Tom grows out of his old turtle shell and adopts a new doctrine of bettering the future. Thanks to the help of his “mentor” and friend Jim Casy, Tom acquires the ability to be a leader of people. When Casy is killed by a police officer in California, Tom is launched into the position of leading and organizing migrant workers to find work wherever possible. Tom’s breaking through the grief of losing a dear friend doesn’t stop him from trying to make the world a better place, it pushes him harder. Tom climbs above the Terrible conditions placed before him, and tries to make something good from…show more content…
Steinbeck uses the beginning of chapter 14 to lay down the changes happening in America at the time. In an excerpt from this lemma, “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments” (Pg.156), Steinbeck tries to make the reader comprehend the hardships that people go through at any given time, and how humans are an amazing species that can look those problems in the face, take a step to the side, and continue living as if the problem never existed. This allows people like Tom to maintain his dignity and kindness toward others, even through the daily struggle to sustain life in the wake of the great depression. Tom’s taking over of his friend’s leadership after a horrific death shows that no problem is too great. When rumors of no available jobs hit the Joads, they are terrified of what their lives will become after entering California. This, however, does not stop them from tackling the problem like any other small problem. They do not give up, or back down in the slightest. Steinbeck’s portrayal of the Joad family allows for him to pass on the message that no problem is too great. That no matter what injustices you face, giving up should never be an option, because there is always a way to overcome the problem. Humans can create new ways to overcome even the heftiest of
Open Document