In "The Grapes of Wrath," what does Steinbeck reveal about the Joads when they befriend the Wilsons?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck, throughout the novel, shows, through the Joad family, the idea that if people would work together for the common good, everyone would be better off.  When the Joads meet the Wilsons in chapter 13, the Joads and the Wilsons both have their problems and they help each other.  The Joads have Grandpa who is dying and needs a place to rest.  The Wilsons generously offer their tent even though Sarah Wilson ("Sairy") is sick herself.  The Wilsons have a car that has stopped running and the Joads have Al who is good with cars to help them get their car running.  There is immediate acceptance between the two families because simple courtesies are given and respect is shown.  Steinbeck felt that was all that was needed to get along - courtesy and respect.  Many times in the novel, he brings out the theme of respect for the individual person and the theme of success and happiness through mutual effort.  Steinbeck shows, through this scene, that the Joads epitomize all that is good about mankind and all that is needed for everyone to be happy and have what each needs.  The Joads are the vehicle through which Steinbeck brings out what he wanted to display in this novel:  that the migrant people were really good people who had simple needs, had respect for others, were willing to work hard, and were willing to work together to achieve a common goal.

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The Grapes of Wrath

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