The novel Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, illustrates the
hardships of the common man in great detail. The one aspect of
this book that displays life as it exists in the hostile real-world
is the third chapter, in which the human plight is displayed by a
turtle, and his struggle to reach the other side of a road. As the
turtle is about to reach his goal, it is returned to it's original
location, but it does not waver in it's determination, and continues
across the road until it reaches the other side. The characters most
easily identified with in this book are the Joad family, and Jim
Casy. Each character undergoes tremendous heartache and burden, yet
they stay true to their plans, and never give up. While the Joad
family is moving from Oklahoma to California, Ma Joad holds the
family together, becuase her belief that a broken-family will not
be able to accomplish their mammoth task, is true. This is displayed
by her not allowing the two cars to split and arrive at California
at different times, when one of the cars breaks down, as they are
leaving Oklahoma. Pa Joad was a hardworking man, who is uplifted
from his normal way of life, and is forced to account for his family
not starving. He does not handle this move very well, and throughout
the book, he is confused, and not as headstrong as Ma. Tom Joad is
a very complicated individual, who is a tremendous asset and at the
same time, a tremendous burden. His parole cuases his family an
unneeded worry, while his ability to get work while very few people
do, also benefited the family. He is the main protagonasist for his
family, with his independent nature, and the main follower of Jim
Casy's philosophy on human nature, with Jim being much more of a
talker, and an idealist to actually put what he preached into action.
Jim Casy has fequently been compared with Jesus Christ, and his
lifestyle of preaching and leading people in a revolt, as well as
sacrificing himself for Tom and the Joad family demonstrates this
common held belief well. He also had a follower, or disciple in Tom,
who after Jim's death carries his message, and aids others with it.
The Joad family along with Jim Casy show the benefit of people
uniting in order to accomplish goals, and this is a lesson that
the reader can take away from this "classic" American novel.