Essay on the Grapes of Wrath.I have to write an essay discussing how the family tends to dominate The Grapes of Wrath, but the idea of the family changes from the beginning to the end of the...

 Essay on the Grapes of Wrath.

I have to write an essay discussing how the family tends to dominate The Grapes of Wrath, but the idea of the family changes from the beginning to the end of the novel. Physical changes, Leadership changes and "I" becomes "We", those are the 3 things i narrowed it down to.

Expert Answers
jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "I" becomes "we" idea is an excellent one.

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is a tale of perseverance and survival as well as a story of the search for meaning and purpose in life, for a single family and a nation.

As the novel begins, the Joads, like so many of their friends and neighbors, are at a desparate turning point in their lives. They are forced to give up the home they have loved and lived in all their lives to find a new life somewhere to the west. They have to give up not just the life they lived but most of the possessions they had, possessions they felt were theirs, things that, for years, had helped define themselves as individuals, like Mama's earrings... So much of themselves had to be left behind. The past "I" was to exist no longer.

Faced with the travails of the journey and the day-to-day struggle to survive, the old individual "I's" of the family slowly fused into a more powerful and purposeful "we."

And, the novel suggests, this is what was happening to large segments of the USA at this time of economic depression. The good life that had made so many comfortable and fat and self-centered was dissolving, and a new way of seeing the us in the US was evolving, too.

So, in many ways, the Joads were but a microcosm family of the bigger family that was to become, hopefully, a better and more cohesive United States of America.

Read the study guide:
The Grapes of Wrath

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