How Does Steinbeck Create Tension In Chapter 19 Of The Grapes Of Wrath

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John Steinbeck's work, The Grapes of Wrath, involves many moving motifs and ideas that are as culturally relevant now as they were when he wrote the novel in 1939. One of the topics that was especially common in the novel was migration. These quotes expertly describe the conflict that migration causes within society. Chapter 19, however, is solely dedicated to this topic. For the purposes of this close reading, I will be analyzing the beginning of this chapter. The syntax in this text is clearly purposeful and important. By using short sentences for the business men's speech, Steinbeck makes them seem apathetic and merciless. The length of the sentences also contribute to the tone of the passage; it was descriptive in the beginning because Steinbeck was telling a story, transitioned into short sentences, and ended on defiant, passionate-diction filled sentences. In the same way the ending sentences, filled with passionate diction, generate a defiant tone, they utilize polysyndeton to make the Okies seem strong and invincible. The phrase "fierce and hungry and armed" allows Steinbeck to leave the reader feeling supportive of the Okies while still feeling that same apprehension (of their desperateness) the owners felt.…show more content…
Words like horde, feverish, hunger, frantic depict the owners as savage beasts who destroyed the Mexicans for their resources. This description defies the idea that the American Westward Expansion was majestic and patriotic. Furthermore, Steinbeck's similar description of the Okies (fierce, hungry, and strong) insinuate that the Okies are just like the owners were: making the owners hypocrites. This interpretation is supported by the ending sentence: "and perhaps the owners had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and
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