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The Grapes of Wrath – Essay Topics (Day 1)

Rough draft due January 29.  Final draft due February 2.

  1. Is Steinbeck fair to the California owners?  Does he present them all as heartless, cruel, and exploitative of the poor? 
  2. How does Steinbeck present religion in this novel?
  3. Why is it appropriate that Grampa and Grandma never make it to California?
  4. Define an epic. Do you believe The Grapes of Wrath attains epic proportions?
  5. What signs of hope appear in the novel to reassure us that humanity’s on-going struggle with adversity will be successful?
  6. Account for the title. What wrath does Steinbeck identify?
  7. Discuss what the family council meeting, before they set out, tells about the way of life and culture of the Joads.
  8. What is Jim Casy’s role in the novel? How does his moral philosophy govern the novel as a whole?

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