The Grapes of Wrath Essay

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In the following excerpt, Levant discusses Steinbeck's individual and universal characterizations of the Joads.

[In The Grapes of Wrath, function], not mere design, is . . . evident in the use of characterization to support and develop a conflict of opposed ideas—mainly a struggle between law and anarchy. The one idea postulates justice in a moral world of love and work, identified in the past with "the people" and in the present with the government camp and finally with the union movement, since these are the modern, institutional forms the group may take. The opposed idea postulates injustice in an immoral world of hatred and starvation. It is associated with buccaneering capitalism, which, in violent form, includes strikebreaking and related practices that cheapen human labor.

The Joads present special difficulties in characterization. They must be individualized to be credible and universalized to carry out their representative functions. Steinbeck meets these...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 1,368 words
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