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What does Steinbeck imply is the cause and what are the results in chapter 14?The...

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vinceocam | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 26, 2011 at 9:17 AM via web

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What does Steinbeck imply is the cause and what are the results in chapter 14?

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Chapter 14 of The Grapes of Wrath expresses in almost Biblical tones the overarching theme of this great novel:  Men when unified have strength and dignity, for there is a spiritual neccessity to work.  This unification of the workers comes as a result of the dispossession of the farmers in Oklahoma and the Midwest.  With this disenfranchisement of the farmers, there is a hunger of the body and of the spirit.  Muscles ache to work, and spirits ache to have a house is the cause.

This expository chapter clearly sets forth Steinbeck's socialist perspective.  For, he writes of "the great owners" who know nothing of a change, having lost touch with the common man in their wealth.  In their alienation, these "Okies" find comfort and some safety with others. And in their unity there is strength:

The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one.  And from this first "we" there grows a still more dangerous thing....results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive. 

The leaders who have emerged in various times in history were the result of the discontent of people that brought about change.  The leaders that Steinbeck mentions emerged as a result of a cry for change and the need for someone to manage the methods for the change.

This chapter exemplifies what R. Moore mentions in his essay, " The Grapes of Wrath:  Biblical Symbolism in the Grapes of Wrath" as a messanic message: 

....[it] is an emphatic reminder of the individual's place in the scheme of humanity.

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