The Grapes of Wrath

Nourishment as a Symbol in The Grapes Of Wrath 9th Grade

Nourishment as a Symbol in The Grapes Of Wrath

In The Grapes of Wrath, families traveling to California suffer starvation and exhaustion because of malnourishment. The Dust Bowl is a physical embodiment of their starvation. Possibly more important than the physical nourishment is the mental and emotional aspects of nourishment, specifically pertaining to the Joad family. Because of their ongoing starvation, their troubles with crossing America and dealing with the law and the spiritual turning of Tom, Steinbeck explores many different kinds of nourishment in the Grapes of Wrath.

Physically, the traveling people are starving, because they cannot farm the land that belonged to them. The land itself is starving, due to the good soil being blown away, leaving deadened dirt and sand. These factors exacerbate each other: the bad soil leads to starvation employment, which means the farmers cannot re-invigorate the soil, which continues the cycle. In The Grapes of Wrath, Tom Joad personifies this struggle. He expects to return to his home and continue farming, but instead is thrown into a world where he cannot work. It is symbolic of birth, in a way. Tom goes from being cared for and nurtured in jail, and gets used to a life with...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 728 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4232 literature essays, 1407 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in