How is the the theme of hope portrayed in The Grapes of Wrath?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In chapter 1, we are told that the women searched the men's faces after the dust storms because "the corn could go as long as something else remained".  Hope is what the women searched for because with hope, they could endure hardships.  In chapter 28, in Tom's famous "I'll be everywhere..." speech, he expresses his hope and the hope that Jim Casy had for a brighter tomorrow, a better condition for all people. Ma expresses hope many times in the story when she talks about how if they all work together then change can be accomplished. It especially comes through in her "We are the people" speech in chapter 20. One of the most poignant displays of hope is in the closing scene of the book.  Rose of Sharon, having recently given birth to her stillborn child, along with her family comes across a starving man and his son in a barn.  The man can no longer keep food down because he's denied himself food in order to give food to his son.  Rose of Sharon nurses the man.  The small smile on her face shows hope as she gives life back to the man.

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