Human Values In John Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath

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Steven Pinker once said, “Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperate, to self-control.” Human nature is the characteristics, feelings, and behavioral traits of humankind. As humans, we can express different kinds of emotions such as joy, frustration, despair, remorse, and other forms of emotions depending on the situations we encounter. This form of human nature is uniquely explored within John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath novel. The novel shows how the human values of a group of individuals dictate the way they cope and react towards the adversities of life they face throughout the novel. There are three prominent human values that are emphasized throughout the…show more content…
By being able to illustrate these past interactions with migrant workers, Steinbeck, was able to tell the novel from a third person omniscient point of view in which he knows all the thoughts, actions, and feelings of every character in the novel. “The finest dust did not settle back to earth now, but disappeared into the darkening sky.” (1.2) The novel right off the back introduces the adversity, the dustbowl, that causes the characters of the story to embark on a convoluted journey full of disasters, and other adversities. Later, within the first couple pages of the book, we are introduced to the perseverance of a group of individuals, “What’ll we do? And the men replied I don’t know. But it was all right. The women knew it was all right, and the watching children knew it was all right.” (1.4) This shows us how since the beginning of the novel a sense of perseverance and unity are established in which “no misfortune was too great to bear if [the families were together as a] whole.” (1.4) This sense or perseverance and unity show us how the men’s “wrath” instead of being a temporal reaction against the adversity, it’s in fact, what triggers the families to don’t give up easily and keep moving on…show more content…
Even though the rest of the family and Casey demonstrate at some point of the novel some form of perseverance, unity, and sympathy, it's primarily because of certain regrets or guilt towards past experiences they’ve all experienced. On the contrary, Ma Joad is a strong woman who’s accustomed to hardships in life, and thus, is determined to keep her family together and motivated no matter how vague their destination is. "I never had my house pushed over," she said. "I never had my fambly stuck out on the road. I never had to sell – ever'thing – Here they come now." (8.73) This excerpt from the book shows how even though Ma Joad is aware that her family belongings will be taken away, her perseverance and idea to keep everyone united allow her to act unperturbed. She’s truly a remarkable woman. Throughout the book, she shows multiple form acts that relate back to the three recurrent human values of the novel, but perseverance allows her to do some memorable acts of kindness and even some unconventional acts of unity. On chapter 18, when the family arrives in California she says to her family ‘’I wisht I could wait an’ not tell you. I wish it could be all-nice, [but] Granma’s dead [since] last night.” (18.228) Here, she demonstrates how her devotion to the idea keeping the family together forced her
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