” The Grapes of Wrath ” is a novel written by John Steinbeck that was published in 1939. The story involves the Joads, an Oklahoma family forced to leave their farm during The Great Depression and migrate throughout California working, unable to find steady jobs. The novel focuses on the plight of the poor during this period, which caused hardships for numerous Americans. Much of what occurs in this novel has Biblical allusions. The title itself is one such Biblical allusion.
The phrase comes from The New Testament Book Of Revelation, where God says He will punish those who oppress His people: “And I will lay my vengeance upon thee: thine may be taken: because thou hast taken it upon thyself to open thy mouth against my chosen. ” The passage continues, saying that those who have oppressed the people now have a just reward coming to them. The Grapes of Wrath was written as a result of The Great Depression and has many Biblical allusions, including a character named Jim Casy being referred to as Jesus Christ, an obvious comparison because he was a preacher.
The Joads travel throughout California in search of work and fight against the oppressive landowners, which is similar to the struggle between The Israelites and The Egyptians from The Book of Exodus. In another section, Tom Joad’s mother lashes out against Mr . Wilson after he refuses to stop burning their land, saying “I’ll pray for you Ma! ” She later says this prayer: “Here I sit on the road, and The dust storm blows along The road, an The cloud bursts with hail an rain; The mother of The kids is breaking down The fences for fuel. An I pray to The Lord… Ma prayed too. ”
This can be compared to when The Israelites were in the desert after fleeing The Egyptians, who asked God for help. They wrote that “The Lord hearkened unto me at that time also” (The Book Of Exodus) before The Promised Land was found. This book has many Biblical allusions because The Great Depression caused many hardships for Americans, causing them to look back upon their roots to get through it. Steinbeck wrote this novel about every type of person being oppressed in The Great Depression to get this point across.
The poor were not the only ones who got oppressed, however, as The Native Americans found their land was taken away, which The Joads also felt. The oppression of The Native Americans is comparable to The Israelites leaving with Moses because The Native Americans eventually “crossed over” The Mississippi River and headed West. The Grapes of Wrath has Biblical allusions in it because Steinbeck wrote about what was happening in America at that time (between 1929-1939), making use of numerous Biblical references to compare his points.
This shows how John Steinbeck can write about something that occurs during his life in a way that people can understand using familiar Biblical occurrences and characters. The Grapes of Wrath can be considered a novel that uses Biblical allusions to show the struggle of The Joads, as well as The Native Americans, during The Great Depression. The Biblical allusions represented by the characters in the novel are most obvious in the characters of Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon.
The character of Jim Casy is modeled after The New Testament figure of Jesus Christ. The first reference I would like to make is to the text The Gospel According To St. John (Chapter 14, verse 6), where Jesus tells his followers that “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. ” This seems quite similar to when Casy says “A fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but only a piece of a big one – and he’s given his piece to The Lard. ” Another Biblical allusion that ties into this point is where Casy tells Tom Joad that “Might just be me talkin’.
Ever think about it? Might be you talkin’, too. Maybe us talkin’ together? ” The parable of The Prodigal Son is a good example of this, as The Prodigal Son also talks to himself. The last reference I will provide is Chapter 13, verse 34 from The Gospel According To St. John: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. ” This might be what Casy tells Tom when he says “You got to do something for me… I got to have some help, or it’s the end. The Biblical allusion here is paralleled in The Gospel According To St. Matthew (Chapter 28 and Chapter 5), which mentions charity and helping others. The other character who possesses many Biblical allusions is Rose of Sharon.
The first reference I will mention is The Book Of Exodus, Chapter 3 (verses 7-8): “And the Lord said: I have surely seen The affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmaster know; for I their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of The Egyptians… This comes close to what Rose says when she explains why The Joads should eat her baby: “We got to… We got to do it… This here’s The book read, and this stuff that’s written down we got to do. ” It also reminds me of The Of Exodus, Chapter 20 (verse 13): “… Thou shalt not kill. ” The last two references are The Book Of The Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 49, verse 10), which says “They shall not hunger nor thirst… He will guide them also to The springs of water. ” The final reference is The Gospels According To St.
Matthew (Chapter 25, verses 31-46). The first part is paralleled in The Book Of Bushido, which was a code of conduct for Japanese Samurai warriors. This considers how Rose takes care of the man who has just given her all he has for her starving children. The Biblical allusion that I find very interesting is when Tom kills Casey because it reminded me of The Old Testament story of King David killing Uriah to have Uriah’s wife, The Book Of The Prophet II Samuel (Chapter 11, verses 15-17).
The only difference is that Tom Joad does not want Rose to be The Other Man’s wife; he just wants her to be safe. The allusion works because The King David story symbolized how the human heart could do terrible things to protect someone they love. The Grapes of Wrath is full of Biblical allusions that show how John Steinbeck wanted his readers to know what he was writing about. Many of the characters are modeled after Biblical figures or have their own stories rooted in The Old Testament.