The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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What are the three most significant intercalary chapters and why?

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robin-lowe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a great question! In my opinion, chapters 1, 29, and 9 are the most significant.

Chapter 1 presents the setting: at first,the reader sees the rain leaving the landscape, the weeds and crops dying, and the wind howling. The Dust Bowl has begun. Steinbeck illustrates a very sad and somber mood in just the first three pages. Even though the dust covers everything from the earth to the people, Steinbeck illustrates the strengh of these people by using adjectives such as "hard and angry and resistant" (Steinbeck 6). Plus, the women and children watch the men to see if they would "break," but "no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole" (Steinbeck 7). This "wholeness" juxtaposes with Emerson's "Oversoul" theory, where all life on earth is connected as one bond--one completeness. This becomes evident in chapter 29 because Steinbeck goes back to the women and children watching the men to see if "the break" will come. In chapter 29, Steinbeck states that "the break would...

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mrerick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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