Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive as soon as you use a storyboard. In this activity, college student will identify themes and also symbols indigenous the novel, and support their choices with details from the text.

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Themes come Look For and also Discuss


Pursuit that the American Dream In the 1930s, when plenty of families just a short time before had assumed they had achieved the Dream by purchasing land and also building homes on it, suddenly uncovered their civilizations uprooted by the Depression, and then by the Dust Bowl. The Joads’ quest of reclaiming the American Dream take away them to California, wherein they just want a opportunity for a living wage and some happiness. This is no unlike many civilization who move to America today, and also it gives the Joads expect in the challenge of an otherwise hopeless situation.


Almost indigenous the outset of their journey, the Joads shed their dog and Grandpa. This is adhered to shortly through Connie abandoning his pregnant wife increased of Sharon, young name deciding to leave his family members at the border, and then the fatality of Granma. On optimal of every one of that, they need to leave behind your friends, the Wilsons, because Sairy Wilson is too sick. As soon as in California, the Joads space met with hostility and also corruption, and are can not to find work. Jim Casy also takes the blame because that a fight that breaks out through a corrupt deputy and also is arrested. In despite the of every one of this, the Joads continue to persevere in their search for a much better life: they go from the peach farm to a noodle farm, come a boxcar, and eventually come a barn where rose of Sharon is able to assist a starving man. While we might never recognize what wake up to the Joads, one point is for certain: your sheer will and also their sort hearts are their best assets.

The Struggle against Injustice

The smaller farmers room being compelled out by larger farmers; the larger farmers room printing 5,000 advertisements because that 800 job openings, which are illustration over 20,000 people to California; the bigger farmers room taking advantage of the migrant workers and also paying them below livable wages; anyone that rises up or tries to make trouble is carted off by corrupt law enforcement officials, who are in the farmers’ pockets. These space the injustices that the Joads witness, and also which Jim Casy rises increase against. The is ~ Casy’s death that Tommy realizes that this is his calling, too, and that, prefer Casy said, they room all simply a item of a enlarge soul. Tommy tells Ma, “I to be thinkin’ just how it was in that gov’ment camp, just how our people took treatment a theirselves, an’ if they was a fight they solved it theirself; an’ they no no cops wagglin’ your guns, but they was far better order than them cops ever give. Ns been a-wonderin’ why us can’t carry out that every over. Throw the end the cops the ain’t our people. All job-related together for our very own thing - all farm yard our very own lan’.”

The importance of Family

Ma Joad i do not care distraught when she realizes, as they cross right into California, the their household seems to be falling apart: Grandpa and also Granma are dead; Noah leaves the family; Connie abandons his pregnant wife; and also their new “family” members, Ivy and Sairy Wilson have to stay behind. Ma knows that without their family members sticking together, they will certainly not survive. Tommy depends on his family members to aid him after ~ he kills the police officer that murders Jim Casy; increased of Sharon relies on her family when she husband operation off, and then she gives birth to a stillborn. The household comes together and also forges a brand-new family with the Wainwrights, especially when Al falls in love through Agnes. Finally, their family proceeds to hold together when they come across the starving man and also his son, and invite them into the folds of your family, too. The toughness of the Joad household is what offers them the will certainly to proceed to persevere.

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Motifs, Imagery & Symbols

The Joad Farm

The Joad farm yard has remained in the household for three generations, and way everything to Pa and Grandpa. Being operation off their land by a heartless bank with nobody to turn to deals Grandpa fairly a blow, and also Pa a new set of challenges. Ma seems most dismayed through this ns of household history, and she marvels if California will be all it’s cracked approximately be.

Highway 66

Highway 66, the key migrant path to California, is a road of hope for the migrants in search of a far better life after ~ the loss of your homesteads and also jobs. The migrants end up being a sort of family among themselves, forging new friendships v others in need. The Joads uncover this friendship with the Wilsons, who kindness during Grandpa’s fatality is no forgotten.

The Grapes (and other Fruit)

A final important symbol is the grapes and also other fruit that California’s promises. The expression “the grapes the wrath” originates from “The battle Hymn that the Republic.” transparent the start of the novel, Grandpa muses around getting to California and also eating as numerous grapes as he can get his hand on. Later, Steinbeck uses the grapes to signify the farming unrest in the clash between the migrant workers and the larger farmers, who room withholding an chance of a better life from these destitute and also desperate people. Steinbeck stated that he chosen the track “because it is a march and also this book is a sort of in march - because it is in our very own revolutionary tradition and also because in reference to this book it has a huge meaning.”