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In Dubious Battle is a 1936 novel by John Steinbeck, detailing a Communist strike of fruit-pickers in California.
The young protagonist of In Dubious Battle is Jim Nolan, who is mentored by Mac the establishment Communist, and becomes dedicated to those ideals. He is similar, although less sympathetic, to Jim Casey from Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Casey and Nolan are both on voyages of self-discovery, although they arrive at different places, and they both participate in strike activities at fruit-picking farms. Casey's discovery is of transcendentalism, allowing him to become fully selfless in the concern of others, and he is killed for his altruism. Nolan's discovery is of Communist principles, allowing him to develop an pragmatic ideological view of the world; Nolan uses other people to further his agenda and has little sympathy for the strikers except as they offer him a chance to promote his philosophies. Both characters feel that they have a mission to spread their ideas to others.
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