Similarities Between The Grapes Of Wrath And Civil Disobedience

663 Words3 Pages

The Grapes of Wrath vs. Civil Disobedience
For centuries, the topic of government and its functionality in society has been questioned. Often times, government has either been scrutinized for imposing itself on its people, or for idly standing by while something disastrous descends upon its society. Throughout The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, each author expresses his beliefs and opinions of government. Although both Steinbeck and Thoreau believe government is necessary, underlying factors such as self-government and conformity show their differing opinions.
In Chapter 17 of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck provides his audience with an example of self-government. He describes how, “the twenty …show more content…

In Chapter 17, Steinbeck explains how, “they changed their social life...they were not farm men any more, but migrant men” (Steinbeck 267). This quote shows the adaptation of the farmers’ attitudes because they had to govern themselves. They had to assume roles that were larger than them, thus changing them to the core. On the contrary, Thoreau was persistent in the idea that people should not have to alter themselves for the government, but rather the government should be adjusted to fit the needs of the people. He claims to, “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it” (Thoreau). He also states, “This American government...has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will” (Thoreau). Through these quotes, Thoreau expresses how he believes that men should be vocal enough to demand the type of government that would best support them. He also stresses how powerful the people and their influence are in regards to altering the government, whereas Steinbeck explained a circumstance where the people had to conform and change themselves in order to …show more content…

For example, migrant farm workers were forced by the American government to camp on side roads in The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck 264). They were forgotten and often mistreated. In Thoreau’s case, the American government was at war with Mexico. He believed that it was a continuation of slavery in America and he opposed the mistreatment of the Mexican people (Thoreau). Both authors emphasized how the government should be better at assisting its own people, and how the poor and disadvantaged should not be under such awful

Open Document