Analysis: The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, is a story of hardship and the Joad family’s struggle for a more sufficient life. It is a novel that depicts the journey of the archetypal hero through the Joad family. Together, the family completes the hero cycle. When the family is first burdened with the news of having to leave their home, they see hope in Tom’s return from prison. Tom’s return to the family is a metaphor for a return of good fortune for the family. Throughout the novel, the family has ups and many downs. Because the story is based on a group of people during a time of desperation among thousands, it is very depressing. The difficulty of the time that Steinbeck shows through the Joad’s makes readers aware of the suffering that was in play. The first part of the archetypal hero cycle is the call to action which doubles as a conflict in this novel. The Joad’s are called to action when they find out that their land has been taken by the bank. The conflict here is between the corporate land owners and the small profit farmers. The conflict continues through the end of the novel. The family’s journey segment of their hero cycle consisted of driving half way across the country with little resources and modifying their way of life to be able to survive wherever they are. Their limited supplies did not help them in the area of speed. But when they decided to go a certain distance they did it. In the beginning of the novel, there is a land turtle that is slow but always reaches its destination. The turtle is symbolic of the family; slow but always finishing its journey. The Joad’s enter their time of initiation when they cross the state line into California. Because the family has scarce water and food, they cross the desert at night so as not to die from heat exhaustion. The desert is the threshold. Once the family has cross, they enter the farming valleys they are searching for. In other words, they wi…

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