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How are the Joads and the turtle alike in The Grapes of Wrath?
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- The turtle always seems to be going somewhere and is unwilling to cease in its determination to get there, one way or another.
- The turtle has both a hard shell and a soft under-belly and, when threatened, retreats inward to find safety.
High School Teacher
The Joad family and the turtle both refuse to stop as they struggle to achieve a goal. The turtle's qualities are discussed at length, both in the non-narrative chapter that describes it and in the following narrative chapters when Tom finds and picks one up.
These ideas are also true, at least metaphorically, of the Joad family. The family acts as its own protection and has a hard-shell of determination as well as a vulnerable side.
The patient turtle proceeds along a difficult journey over the dust fields of Oklahoma, often meeting obstacles, but always able to survive. Like the Joads, the turtle is moving southwest, away from the drought. When a trucker swerves to hit the turtle, the creature survives, just as the Joads survive the displacement from their land. Later, Tom finds a turtle and Casy comments: “Nobody can’t keep a turtle though. They work at it and work at it, and at last one day they get out and away they go—off somewheres.” The turtle is hit by a truck, carried off by Tom, attacked by a cat and a red ant, yet, like the Joads and “the people,” he is indomitable with a fierce will to survive. He drags himself through the dust and unknowingly plants a seed for the future.
Posted by e-martin on July 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM (Answer #1)
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