Grapes Of Wrath Land Analysis

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Men Made of Earth: The Land and Its People in The Grapes of Wrath

They may have been part of the land, but they could not hope to keep it. In John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, he follows the journey of migrant workers from their farms in the central states to the false bounty of California. The most fascinating relationship is that of the workers and their land – the farms they have, and the ones they dream of. The fields and orchards are a part of their lives as they reflect their emotions. Steinbeck analyzes this in his unusual style of writing, whereupon the narrative chapters alternate with brief, unspecific ones. These intercalary chapters emphasize the relationship between land and the people who work it; that they are one and the same, and without knowing the land, it is destroyed.

The workers lived and died on their land, understanding and becoming a part of it. When many lose their lands to the bank, “It’s our land… We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. That’s what makes it ours” (Steinbeck 33). They have
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A migrant worker describes California as though “‘They’s oranges an’ grapes crowdin’ a fella outa bed even’” (Steinbeck 111). These imaginary crops, rich and ripe, symbolize the hope for a better life that the workers carry with them, but both are imaginary in the end. As the emotions change, the crops represent different things. Fury at their misery builds, as “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage” (Steinbeck 349). They have reached an impossible situation, and their anger surmounts with the crops themselves. The beautiful crops are no longer hope, but a desire for vengeance. The land both reflects them and is them, as perfectly shown in the intercalary chapters. These workers are the earth, and they understand
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