The Grapes of Wrath

The Fundamental Features of Human Unity: An Analysis of the Meaning of Family in The Grapes of Wrath 11th Grade

A family functions like a grapevine; its coarse green vines intertwine from the dusty dirt that conceals the intricate network of roots to the first cluster of sweet grapes that grow in the hot California sun. Similar to the growth pattern of a grapevine, the assemblage of a family gathers in clusters. Though some grapes may separate or drop off or lose their ripeness, each individual grape is a product of the plant that cannot be taken away. Family is synonymous. As many miles or as much as one pursues to separate himself from his heritage, he cannot; for the blood of a human connects with those around him. People in this world are united. The clusters of grapes grow close together, and the grapevine itself extends and connects with other various grapevines. In The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck, the theme of family plays a central and fundamental role in the novel.

At the beginning of the narrative, the Joad family has a traditional patriarchal family structure in which the males lead as the dominant heads of the home; however, this time-honored system will not last on the pilgrimage to California. This adjustment shows that a male-dominated structure is not necessarily crucial in a family setting. The Joads’...

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