Leadership In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

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Why have leaders? Why not embrace anarchy where decision-making and power are shared evenly among community members? Although this system would seem to ensure peace, harmony, and equality within society, it may foster complacency and stunt progress. This idea of how power should be distributed within a group has perplexed society for years, and John Steinbeck explores this theme while describing a family’s experience during the Great Depression. By presenting differing types of communities in his novel The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck demonstrates the impact of leadership and lack thereof. He argues that a successful community emerges through the equal distribution of power among its members. The overall contentment within the roadside camps…show more content…
Tom Joad’s succession to power illustrates that a community’s ability to progress derives from a system where an effective leader guides and motivates, but is not irreplaceable. An authoritarian or tyrant is undoubtedly a type of leader and is able to accomplish his or her selfish goals through individual power. But a truly healthy community requires a strong leader, participation by its members, and an effective succession of leadership when needed. Why does a democracy have a President? Why does a jury have a foreperson? Why does a board of directors have a chairperson? Each of these groups is founded on the principle that each member gets a vote and power is distributed. But in order to accomplish decisions and missions, these groups succeed when they have strong leaders. Not leaders who silence the members and assume all power - rather, leaders who direct, motivate and inspire the members to work harder. To progress, a community needs clear guidance from an effective leader who can be replaced if necessary. This is easier said than done. America, as a capitalistic society, attempts to mimic this model, but fails when faulty leaders come to

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