Julia Ward Howe vs. John Steinbeck "Mine eyes have seen the glory", are the words that begin The Battle Hymn of the Republic. A song that is about being virtuous and about an unrelenting faith in god. The Grapes of Wrath is a novel written by John Steinbeck that portrays 1930's and the Great Depression. The styles and form of writing and portraying themes are different. Julia chose to write lyrics for a melody that was well known while John chose to write a many page book. Both The Battle Hymn of the Republic and The Grapes of Wrath are works that were made to inspire the reader or singer to push forward.
To understand the hymn it is important to understand its origin. This is difficult because historians must find the origins of the lyrics and the melody. Both authors have yet to be proven in their identity. The lyrics were written by Julia Ward Howe. This fact is something that they are sure of. The melody however, still remains a mystery to many people.
Historians have successfully traced the song to John Brown's Body. This piece was first published in 1858. It had been sung in many versions for a large amount of time during the Civil War. "And soon thru-out the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free" are lyrics that were used by the Negro regiments. As music researches looked deeper into the song, they found that john Brown's Body had an extreme melodic similarities to an older revival hymn. This hymn was entitled Say, Brother, Will You Meet Us".
The earliest written verses appeared in 1858. The first copyright was registered on November 27th 1858, by G.S. Scofield in New York City" (Allen 1). Lieutenant Chandler, in writing of Sherman's March to the Sea, tells that when the troops were halted at Shady Dale, Georgia, the regimental band played 'John Brown's Body,' whereupon a number of Negro girls coming from houses supposed to have been deserted, formed a circle around the band, and in a solemn and dignified manner danced to the tune. The Negro girls, with faces grave and demeanor characteristic of having performed a ceremony of religious tenor, retired to their cabins.
It was learned from the older Negroes that this air, without any particular words to it, had long been known among them as the 'wedding tune. ' They considered it a sort of voodoo air, which held within its strains a mysterious hold upon the young colored women, who had been taught that unless they danced when they heard it played they would be doomed to a life of spinsterhood (Allen 2-3). However this was also later proven as not having enough supportive proof.