Extended Character Analysis
Jim Casy is a former preacher and friend to the Joad family. He is a kind and thoughtful man, who spends a great amount of time reflecting on his actions and the world around him. He engages constantly in an internal struggle with his ideologies. Near the end of the novel, Casy becomes a strong and influential man of action.
Jim Casy as a Flawed Man of Faith
Casy left the church after becoming unsure of his Christian religious practices and beliefs. Casy feels that his heart is no longer in the Christian religion. He also struggles with his past actions, feeling that he acted hypocritically.
Despite having left the church, Casy's role within The Grapes of Wrath parallels that of the biblical Jesus Christ: from sharing the same initials to wandering alone in contemplation to making the ultimate sacrifice.
However, Casy’s religious theory is that humans on earth are truly divine. He claims that he doesn’t love Jesus, as he doesn’t “know nobody name’ Jesus.” Casy's morality is not binary; he doesn’t see people or things as black or white, good or bad. His theory lies in the gray area, accepting of all people and actions, seeing good and bad things as just “stuff people do.” Casy chooses to love people as they are, even if some are bad and sinful. Casy is a teacher and helper to many throughout The Grapes of Wrath, as he strives to help those who are less fortunate until his death.
Jim Casy as a Mentor to Tom Joad
Casy is a mentor for Tom Joad. He teaches Tom the value of community and instills in him a passion for taking action for the good of the people. Casy’s actions and teachings are responsible for Tom’s character growth throughout the novel, culminating in Casy's death near the end.
Casy serves as a foil to Tom for the majority of the novel as well. Casy is reflective and ideological, often thinking things through and making moral observations. Tom, on the other hand, is active and intuitive, and he tends to act before thinking through the consequences of his actions. For all that Casy teaches Tom, Casy also acquires some of Tom’s pragmatism and passion near the end of The Grapes of Wrath, when he attacks...
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