Plot[ edit ] The narrative begins just after Tom Joad is paroled from McAlester prisonwhere he had been imprisoned after being convicted of homicide. On his return to his home near Sallisaw, OklahomaTom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together. Graves tells them that the banks have evicted all the farmers, but he refuses to leave the area. Tom finds his family loading their remaining possessions into a Hudson Motor Car Company sedan converted to a truck; with their crops destroyed by the Dust Bowlthe family has defaulted on their bank loans, and their farm has been repossessed.
Plot summary[ edit ] The story concerns mainly Ethan Allen Hawley, a former member of Long Island 's aristocratic class. Ethan's late father lost the family fortune, and thus Ethan works as a grocery store clerk.
His wife Mary and their children resent their mediocre social and economic status, and do not value the honesty and integrity that Ethan struggles to maintain amidst a corrupt society. These external factors and his own psychological turmoil lead Ethan to try to overcome his inherent integrity in order to reclaim his former status and wealth.
Ethan's decision to gain wealth and power is influenced by criticisms and advice from people he knows. His acquaintance Margie urges him to accept bribes; the bank manager whose ancestors Ethan blames for his family's misfortunes urges him to be more ruthless.
Ethan's friend Joey, a bank teller, even gives Ethan a lesson on how to rob a bank and get away with it. On discovering that the current store owner, Italian immigrant Alfio Marullo, may be an illegal immigrantEthan makes an anonymous tip to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
After Marullo is taken into custody, he transfers ownership of the store to Ethan through the actions of the very government agent that caught him.
Marullo gives Ethan the store because he believes Ethan is honest and deserving. Ethan also considers, plans, and mentally rehearses a bank robbery, failing to perform it only because of external circumstances.
Eventually, he manages to become powerful in the town by taking possession of a strip of land needed by local businessmen to build an airport; he gets the land from Danny Taylor, the town drunkard and Ethan's childhood best friend, by a will made by Danny and slipped under the door of the store.
The will was drawn without any spoken agreement some time after Ethan gave Danny money for the purpose of sending Danny to receive treatment for alcoholism.
Danny assures him that drunks are liars and that he will just drink the money away, and this is indeed confirmed when Danny is found dead with empty bottles of whiskey and sleeping pills. In this manner, Ethan becomes able to control the covert dealings of the corrupt town businessmen and politicians, but he is confident that he will not be corrupted.
He considers that while he had to kill enemy soldiers in the war, he was never a murderer thereafter. Ethan learns that his son won honorable mention in a nationwide essay contest by plagiarizing classic American authors and orators, but when Ethan confronts him, the son denies having any guilty feelings, maintaining that everyone cheats and lies.
Perhaps after seeing his own moral decay in his son's actions, and experiencing the guilt of Marullo's deportation and the death of Danny, Ethan resolves to commit suicide. His daughter, intuitively understanding his intent, slips a family talisman into his pocket during a long embrace. When Ethan decides to commit the act, he reaches into his pocket to find razorblades and instead finds the talisman.
As the tide comes into the alcove in which he has sequestered himself, he struggles to get out in order to return the talisman to his daughter. Baker — banker Alfio Marullo — Italian immigrant owner of grocery store Literary significance and criticism[ edit ] Edward Weeks of the Atlantic Monthly immediately reviewed the book as a Steinbeck classic: Steinbeck's return to the mood and the concern with which he wrote The Grapes of Wrath ".
If at times the critics have seemed to note certain signs of flagging powers, of repetitions that might point to a decrease in vitality, Steinbeck belied their fears most emphatically with The Winter of Our Discontenta novel published last year. Here he attained the same standard which he set in The Grapes of Wrath.
Again he holds his position as an independent expounder of the truth with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American, be it good or bad. Saul Bellow also lauded the book, saying: American criticism of his moralism started to change during the s after the Watergate scandal ; here is how Reloy Garcia describes his reassessment of the work when asked to update his original Study Guide to Winter: I did not realize, at the time, that we had a condition," and he attributes this change of heart to "our own enriched experience".
Narrative point of view[ edit ] Steinbeck makes use of an unusual structural device in Winter, switching between three different styles of narrative points of view. The novel is presented in two halves, Part One and Part Two, and each half starts with two chapters written in third person narration.
After these two chapters in each half, the point of view changes to first person, narrated by the protagonist, Ethan Hawley.
There are two exceptions to this: The three different narrative styles are therefore:Context. John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, He attended Stanford University without graduating, and though he lived briefly in New York, he remained a lifelong Californian.
From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Grapes of Wrath Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays. Similar to an analysis essay, an explication essay examines sentences, verses or passages pulled from longer literary works, to interpret and explain on a detailed level.
These mini-essays, typically a single page or less, require a close reading of the text to perform a proper interpretation of the quotation.
The. Nov 11, · The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck (Full name John Ernst Steinbeck Jr; also wrote under the pseudonym Amnesia Glasscock) American novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, journalist. Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store.
Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. Teacher Resources Interview with Directors Shillinglaw and Gilly on NEH EdSITEMENT: Tracking John Steinback in "The Grapes of Wrath" How to Organize a Steinbeck Book or Film Discussion Group (PDF, KB) Followup: Impact of Institute on Teaching.