Grief In Du Bois's In The Grapes Of Wrath

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“In describing the moment of Burghardt’s death, he writes: “The day changed me not…”” and “I grieve that grief can teach me nothing.” are two separate ideas of Du Bois and Emerson who share the common tragedy of losing their sons. Because of this common loss, they both find ways to “grieve” and learn that grief can really teach them nothing. After Emerson loses his son, he realizes that the death of his son has not really affected him in any way. He says, “but it would leave me as it found me,-- neither better nor worse… it does not touch me… and leaves no scar.” meaning that even though his son came into his life, him leaving shouldn’t impact him either. He might have believed that he would be taken over by grief, but it actually led him to the idea that grief teaches nothing, therefore being useless. Just like Emerson, Du Bios loses his son but because of his negro heritage, he is said to be mourning the death of his son since his birth. Because of the time period he was born in he wasn’t as privileged as Emerson, he was forced to live in a prejudiced world, having this “hope not hopeless but unhopeful” that the world may change for the better. But at the time of his son’s death, he is still subject…show more content…
Ma Joad tells Rose of Sharon that she is, “jest a-teasin’ yourself up to cry.” which is parallel the Emerson and Du Bois thought process in which Ma Joad is telling Rose of Sharon she is not trying to learn from her grief, which is useless. Once Rose of Sharon realizes her uselessness, she tries helping the family pick cotton, but once again comes across as useless when she barely helps the family. After this she is able to learn the uselessness of grieving and finally gets to a place of progression, like when she offers her breast milk to a starving man even though she gave birth to a stillborn and was “grieving”
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