Across the horizon: the rising sun and endless possibilities
 
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Reports & Essays: Literature - Classic Books

"AND""OR"

The Grapes of Wrath
(Essay #2) AN UNDAUNTED JOURNEY Throughout history, man has made many journeys, far and wide. Moses' great march through the Red Sea and Columbus' transversing the Atlantic, are only but a few of man's great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox's run across Canada while having cancer is one such journey. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and overcome immense odds, similar to a salmon swimming upstream to fullfill its life line. Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they had to possess during their travels. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck shows the Joads endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel. This effectively forshadows upcoming events by telling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters and then narrowing it down to how it affects the main characters of the novel, the Joads. Setting the tone of the novel in the readers mind is another function of Steinbeck's intercalary chapters. In chapter three, Steinbeck describes in detail the long tedious journey of a land turtle across a desolate highway. From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many setbacks. All along the way he is hindered by ants, hills, and oak seeds under his shell. The turtle's determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck, driven by a young man, swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle's shell was clipped and he went flying off the highway. This did not stop the turtle. He struggled back to his belly and kept driving toward his goal, just as the Joads kept driving toward their goal. Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many great hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, was the Joads desolate highway. The truck driver represented the Californians, who buried food and killed livestock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. Sickness was their ants and hills, but even through all of this the Joads persevered. They were driven by great motivating powers - poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, "the garden of Eden." The Joad's journey is second to none in terms of adversity and length. The Joads incredible ability to overcome all odds and keep going is epitomized in intercalary chapter three. Steinbeck uses his rendition of facts, the "turtle" chapter, to parallel the Joads' struggle to reach the promised land. Just as the turtle endured, so did the Joads. They never digressed from their straight but narrow path to California.

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