John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

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John Ernst Steinbeck Jr was born in 1902 in Salinas, California, to a teacher and a

treasurer of Monterey County. Growing up in a rural environment, Steinbeck developed a

deep appreciation for agriculture and land, and would spend his summers working on ranches

and with migrant workers. Much of Steinbeck's works are set in agricultural regions of

California, which reflect his background. In his lifetime, Steinbeck wrote 27 prize winning

novelas. As a winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize of Literature, his works are widely read and are

seen as classics of western literature. The protagonists of Steinbeck’s works were often

portrayed as “underdogs” and many of his works illustrate the strife of the common man with

themes of fate, injustice
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The Grapes of Wrath was written during

the Great Depression and illustrates the plight of Migrant families escaping the Dust Bowl,

while simultaneously castigating the American Government for allowing such
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Accompanying the Joads on their trip to California is Jim

Casy, an ex-preacher who was uprooted from his land due to economic failure. When the

reader first encounters Casy, he does not classify himself as a preacher but a man trying to

establish his own rendition of Christianity. He states: “The spirit's strong in me, on’y it ain’t the

same. I ain’t so sure of a lot of things” (Steinbeck 28). Casey believes that his calling is to

preach to others even if it is not the word of the Bible. Jim Casy is often referred to as the

“Christ Figure” of The Grapes of Wrath, as he roams the wilderness in search for existential

truth, much like Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ and Jim Casy even share the same initials.

Upon both Casy and Christ’s deaths, they fought for revolutionize dire circumstances and

sacrificed themselves for change, hoping to spread ideals that would continue throughout


Jim Casy’s spiritual beliefs play an important role in shaping the novel, and he makes

apparent many of the major themes in the novel with his thoughts and actions. “Jim Casy

exists as the motivator, philosopher and Voice of Reason in the Grapes of Wrath”
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