Jim Casy is the most interesting character we have met so far. The former preacher has a colored past and he seems to be moving into a completely different point in his life. Although he has given up the life of a preacher, Casy still has the instincts of a preacher to help those in need.
Jim Casy does not believe in the church anymore, but he has strong emotions and opinions about life and how it should be lived. He tries to refrain from preaching his opinions to others, but he still feels the need to speak his mind. Jim Casy decides to go west with the Joad family to start his new life as a reformed preacher. I’m going to lay in the grass, open and honest with anyone who will have me. I’m going to curse and swear and listen to the poetry of people talking.”
All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn’t understand. All them things are the good things,” (pg. 128). He wants to try to understand people and connect with them in a way that he could not as a “holy man.” Casy believes that the really important things in life are not found in the Bible but rather in the everyday lives of people, especially the simple people living regular lives.
He feels he can learn more from just listening to Tom and his family than he ever did studying the scriptures and solving people’s problems. Jim Casy is very reserved and quiet unless prompted into a topic or conversation. Once he gets hold of an idea, though, he runs with it and tries to get across the way he looks at the world. Oh, I’m a talker!” said Casy.
There’s no getting away from that. But I’m not preaching. Preaching is telling folks stuff. I’m asking them.”
That isn’t preaching, is it?” (pg. 128), Jim has a deep and inquisitive mind. He spends a lot of his life thinking. So when he becomes involved in a topic, all the questions and ideas he has start emptying out into a drawn-out speech. What comes out is not necessarily structured and may not even make sense sometimes, but he makes you think. This is what makes Jim Casy so intriguing. When he says something, you have to thoroughly examine what he says to fully appreciate it.
If you read the words at face value, you lose much of the meaning. Any character that makes the reader think is always interesting, and how they develop in their new lifestyle will be the most interesting progression of all.