Grapes of Wrath Explain how the behavior of the Joadsshows Steinbecks view of the responsibility of the individualto society as a whole.
Chapter 14 made an interesting point. At one point in the chapter it was stated that a farmer lost hisfarm. As this mans family picks up their belongings andheads west they meet up with another family dealing with asimilar situation. Now these two families share a commonbond. A brotherhood is forming. This is the catalyst.
Nolonger is it one farmer saying he lost his land but two farmersunited saying they lost their land. Much the sametransformation happens to the Joad family especially to thecharacters of Ma, Young Tom, and Rose of Sharon. At theonset of the novel we see the Joad family struggling just tokeep their immediate family together. They are focused onjust themselves.Order now
By the end of this wonderful book we seethe Joad family branching out in many different ways toembrace all of mankind as one big family. Ma Joads mainconcern at the beginning of the story is her family. She wantsto keep the unit together and works diligently to achieve thisgoal. However, one by one, family members leave the groupfor various reasons leading to the slow but sure disintegrationof the Joad clan.
The first to go is Noah; then Grandpa andGrandma die;Connie walks off and leaves Rose of Sharon;Young Tom leaves because he has gotten into trouble again;and Al becomes engaged and decides to go with hisfiancees family. Ma deals with each loss as best she can. Asthe story progresses, we find Ma Joad becoming more andmore concerned with people outside the family unit. Shefeels the need to share whatever meager food andbelongings her family has with other families enduringhardships. She saw the needs of her own family at thebeginning of the story and by the end of the novel, she seesthe needs of her fellow man. Young Tom appears to beself-centered when he if first introduced.
He has just leftprison after serving four years for murder. Tom want toenjoy life to the fullest and to be with his family. He is verydisturbed to find the family home deserted and almostdestroyed. He by this time has reacquainted himself with JimCasey, an ex-preacher.
The more Tom listens to Jim and hisviews on life, the soul of man, and the fellowship of mankind,the less he focuses on himself and his needs. He then beginsto focus on the plight and abuse of the homeless farmers. Hestarts to realize that in order for the migrant workers tosurvive and succeed they must unite. He knows that if theyband together as one, they can demand that their God-givenrights under the constitution be honored.
They can begin togain respect from their fellow man. After Jim is killed, Tomtakes up the cause of his people. He plans to work withthem. Just as Jim taught him, Tom realizes that man is nogood alone and that every mans soul is just a piece of abigger one. Rose of Sharon is totally focused on herself fromthe beginning. She is pregnant for the first time and in lovewith her husband so her little world is complete.
Sheconstantly bemoans the fact that she needs nutritious food soher baby will be healthy. She is always concerned that whatshe does or what others do to her will hurt her baby in someway. She is so wrapped up in herself and the baby she iscarrying that she does not realize that her family is fallingapart. She whines and moans her way through most of thebook until her baby is born dead. The death of her childseems to transform her. At the very end of the novel shebreast feeds a dying man.
To me this is symbolic of drinkingfrom the milk of human kindness. She gives of herself to saveanother human being. She too is learning about thefellowship of man. In conclusion, as the Joad familyseemingly disintegrates, they actually merge in to a larger,more universal family the family of man.