Of Wrath By SteinbeckExplain how the behavior of the Joads shows Steinbecks view of theresponsibility of the individual to society as a whole. Chapter 14 made aninteresting point. At one point in the chapter it was stated that a farmer losthis farm. As this mans family picks up their belongings and heads west theymeet up with another family dealing with a similar situation.
Now these twofamilies share a common bond. A brotherhood is forming. This is the catalyst. Nolonger is it one farmer saying he lost his land but two farmers united sayingthey lost their land. Much the same transformation happens to the Joad familyespecially to the characters of Ma, Young Tom, and Rose of Sharon. At theonset of the novel we see the Joad family struggling just to keep theirimmediate family together. They are focused on just themselves.
By the end ofthis wonderful book we see the Joad family branching out in many different waysto embrace all of mankind as one big family. Ma Joads main concern at thebeginning of the story is her family. She wants to keep the unit together andworks diligently to achieve this goal. However, one by one, family members leavethe group for various reasons leading to the slow but sure disintegration of theJoad clan. The first to go is Noah; then Grandpa and Grandma die;Connie walksoff and leaves Rose of Sharon; Young Tom leaves because he has gotten intotrouble again; and Al becomes engaged and decides to go with his fianceesfamily. Ma deals with each loss as best she can.
As the story progresses, wefind Ma Joad becoming more and more concerned with people outside the familyunit. She feels the need to share whatever meager food and belongings her familyhas with other families enduring hardships. She saw the needs of her own familyat the beginning of the story and by the end of the novel, she sees the needs ofher fellow man.
Young Tom appears to be self-centered when he if firstintroduced. He has just left prison after serving four years for murder. Tomwant to enjoy life to the fullest and to be with his family. He is verydisturbed to find the family home deserted and almost destroyed. He by this timehas reacquainted himself with Jim Casey, an ex-preacher. The more Tom listens toJim and his views on life, the soul of man, and the fellowship of mankind, theless he focuses on himself and his needs.
He then begins to focus on the plightand abuse of the homeless farmers. He starts to realize that in order for themigrant workers to survive and succeed they must unite. He knows that if theyband together as one, they can demand that their God-given rights under theconstitution be honored. They can begin to gain respect from their fellow man.After Jim is killed, Tom takes up the cause of his people. He plans towork with them.
Just as Jim taught him, Tom realizes that man is no good aloneand that every mans soul is just a piece of a bigger one. Rose of Sharon istotally focused on herself from the beginning. She is pregnant for the firsttime and in love with her husband so her little world is complete. Sheconstantly bemoans the fact that she needs nutritious food so her baby will behealthy. She is always concerned that what she does or what others do to herwill hurt her baby in some way. She is so wrapped up in herself and the baby sheis carrying that she does not realize that her family is falling apart. Shewhines and moans her way through most of the book until her baby is born dead.
The death of her child seems to transform her. At the very end of the novel shebreast feeds a dying man. To me this is symbolic of drinking from the milk ofhuman kindness. She gives of herself to save another human being. She too islearning about the fellowship of man.
In conclusion, as the Joad familyseemingly disintegrates, they actually merge in to a larger, more universalfamily the family of man.English Essays