The Grapes of Wrath Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What is the purpose of the Christian parallels in The Grapes of Wrath? There are many parellels with the Bible in the Grapes of Wrath. What is the purpose and what message is John Steinbeck trying to convey?

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In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck likens journey of the Joads to the exodus of the Israelites.  Just as there are the Twelve Tribes of Israel, so too are there twelve Joads on the trip to the Promised Land: Ma, Pa, Tom, Al, Granma, Noah, Ruthie, John, Winfield, Rose, Connie, and Jim Casy.  This journey from Oklahoma to California is analogous to the escape from Egypt to Israel in the Old Testament.

Jim Casy, of lapsed preacher, whose initials are "J.C." (for Jesus Christ) is the Christ-figure who will sacrifice himself to help the laborers and the one to show Tom the way.

Enotes says it best:

The biblical symbolism in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath can be viewed as essentially messianic in nature. However, this is not to say that the message or point of the novel is in itself religious. Walter Fuller Taylor, in his commentary on the work, makes the relevant point that Jim Casy, a figure who is depicted in a very Christ-like manner by Steinbeck, actually denies any similarity between...

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