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 cases 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 frequently 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.
Bibliography The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck.