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The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck, is a classic American book that suggests the severity of excessive misery and stimulates empathy for the fights of migratory farmworkers (Steinbeck). It is about a time when a period of drought and long winds affected large parts of the American Midwest. This forced many people in the lower Midwest to move elsewhere with hopes of finding productive lands on which to make a living. This review focuses more on the themes included in the book.

This book involves many characters, and how their behavior shows the author’s views on how everyone can do something great for society. In his book, John shows that no matter how bad a character is, they reveal their good side that can help positively influence society. A character like Tom Joad is portrayed as short-tempered but shows mercy and kindness. He changes from caring only for himself to seeing the entire world as his family. He reflects Steinbeck’s philosophy during his self-development and mental growth. Another character is Jim Casy, who is a preacher and a teacher. He plays a significant role in molding Tom into a reasonable social worker. He sacrifices himself to save Tom for the welfare of the people. His character can be termed as having a selfless heart (Steinbeck).

Noah Joad, the eldest brother of Tom, is another character in the book. He is described as tall and strange, though he can be considered an introvert since he doesn’t like saying much about himself. He is also independent and enjoys making decisions (Steinbeck). He decided to leave the entire family for the life of a hermit. Rose of Sharon is another least likable character in the book. She and her husband cares little for others and carries on with their fiction of a married life despite the disasters they’ve witnessed. She’s obsessed with associating everything that happens to her family with her unborn child, making her indifferent. This annoyance leads to self-pity as she notices more trouble curbing her family.

Rose of Sharon shows her humanity and the will to help others when she offers milk to a dying man to save his life. Casy is the reason behind her decision to serve humanity. All these characters portray Steinbeck’s views of individual responsibility to society. Every main character in his book ended up doing something significant to the community. This is how Steinbeck used his book to express his views. He believes that our responsibility as a society is to be willing to sacrifice our well-being or lifestyle for the need of others. If we are involved in people’s lives, we can change their lives by helping them with their needs (Steinbeck).

In Steinbeck’s book, “the grapes of wrath,” one of the themes portrayed is greed. It represents greed and selfishness in the characters as they undergo hard times. Cultural and economical pressures bring it up. It started as farmers became poor in the dust bowl, and banks began using tractors for farming the land requiring fewer people and giving them more money. It is evident through the characters in the novel (Steinbeck). A character like the tractor driver only thinks of his situation by plowing through the farmer’s property. He only thinks of how he’ll get paid three dollars a day and doesn’t care that the Joads will lose their property.

The Joads also portray greed when they are willing to leave a family member behind without any care that he wouldn’t be able to provide for himself. Police officers show greed because migrant workers took money from the proper taxpayers. They start killing these workers and sending some to jail to get them away from the farms. This theme is supported through symbolism and imagination because it uses characters in the novel. The reader can picture the police officer’s behavior, especially the part where he tears the driver’s license and tells him to go back and come with a driver’s license (Steinbeck). He can show people’s motives in life when the time for hardships comes. Here we can picture how people, including family members, will change for the worse and use every means possible to help themselves.

This greed tears apart families and brings anger to people. Why? Because In the end, we see that the Joads family suffers a great deal. As a result of greed, Rose of Sharon’s husband leaves the family despite his wife being pregnant. Steinbeck wanted to show that greed and generosity are opposite powers that force structural change to survive. Every character that showed greed did that as an act of survival. Greed pushes you to a point where your life is the only thing that matters to you. In his book, it is said that Casy’s philosophy is the product of such a greedy culture (Steinbeck). Greed also causes conflicts, the central problem in Steinbeck’s story.

Conflicts lead to depression faced by the Joads family, making them leave their homes and go to California to look for jobs so they can manage their families. Greed can make one forget your family or even lose the one thing that made you human. You lose the importance of family, like Rose of Sharon’s husband. He didn’t even feel the need to wat and meet his unborn child. The police officers didn’t think twice while destroying that driver’s license. He didn’t care that he was destroying the only hope for the driver. The characters here are not monsters, but they slowly start changing when greed fills their minds. The book is a reflection of our society today (Steinbeck).

The Great Gatsby

It is a book written by Scott Fitzgerald. It illustrates the first-person narrator Jay Gatsby’s interactions with Nick Caraways and Gatsby’s possession to win his ex-lover daisy Buchanan. This novel discovers worldwide themes of human recklessness, the desperateness of communal concepts, and man’s fight with time and destiny. This review focuses on the significance of Myrtles’ death and Wilson’s crime. It also shows how the poor and the rich are lost in the chaos of the roaring twenties (Fitzgerald).

Myrtle Wilson, George Wilson, and Jay Gatsby are victims in the novel. They are a combination of their delusion and the deception of others. Myrtle, the wife of George Wilson, is a victim of the selfish abuse of the higher classes. She’s drawn by Tom’s social standing and financial resources, which makes her want to leave her husband because he does not make enough money, nor does he have a busy social life to keep her happy (Fitzgerald). She is not a kind character, being herself hard and neglectful of others’ emotional state. Her fate is among the most tragic since she is a victim of her husband and people she has never met. She is considered a constant prisoner.

George Wilson is another victim in the novel. He intends to avenge Myrtle’s death and find the driver of the yellow vehicle. He is depicted as a fragile man who adores his wife and is grief-stricken by knowing she is disloyal. As a result of his jealousy, he locks his wife in a room above the garage (Fitzgerald). He shoots himself after stalking Gatsby and shooting him because he believes he is the one who killed his wife. Like his wife, he is also a victim of the intemperance of the rich. Jay Gatsby is another victim Nick views as a flawed, vulgar, and dishonest man. He is shot to death in the swimming pool of his castle by George Wilson, who believes he killed Myrtle. However, Tom is to be blamed for his death, for he told George that Gatsby’s car was the one that hit Myrtle.

In The Great Gatsby, the poor and the working class are lost in the chaos of the roaring twenties. The poor are affected since it was during the 1920s that the American economy grew to 42%. The poor are lost because they do not have cars to go where they please and do what they want. They cannot listen to radio stations since they cannot purchase these items. They Are also behind because they do not know of the availability of birth control pills that make it possible for women to have fewer children. Even if they knew they wouldn’t be able to afford them. The working class is lost in the chaos because of the invention of new machines and technologies like washing machines and vacuum cleaners that eliminated the drudgery of household work (Fitzgerald).

The significance of myrtles death is portrayed as a symbol of destroyed womanhood. She dies running out to Tom’s car. She dies brutally, but her death gives more significant meaning because one realizes that being materialistic brought her to her end. Chapter two states that she aspired to wealth and privilege. The significance of Wilson’s crime reminds readers that while the rich through parties and live without consequences, people of the low class are living in a much severer truth. Wilson is poor and deprived of hope (Fitzgerald). His abilities emit from both his character and his physical look.

The Great Gatsby is filled with symbolic references to color and light. These colors represent possessions and riches and ancient wealth. Gold and green used in the book tell old wealth and new fortunes. Gold is for Daisy and her husband Tom’s old wealth, and green is for the newly gained Gatsby’s wealth. There are four primary colors mentioned: red, yellow, blue, and white. Fitzgerald uses colors in the novel to signify the limits of social class, the moral decay and innocence of some characters, and the expectation and longing of Gatsby himself. The color blue in The Great Gatsby can symbolize hope for the future. It means a lost time, a pure color in the valley of ashes (Pruitt). In chapter 2, the author mentions the blue eyes of doctor T.J. on a billboard. He describes them judgingly as if they are always watching and looking at you.

White is another color that represents innocence, purity, and honesty, although it represents false purity here. Daisy and Jordan show it off. Daisy wears white to symbolize dignity and purity. She wears white when she sees Gatsby for the first time and when Nick visits her in the East Spur. Jordan wears white because she is said to be Daisy’s friend, and her fingers are powdered white over their tan (Pruitt). Red, a color closely related to blood, represents rage, danger, and violence. In The Great Gatsby, red is used as Tom’s color because it reflects his personality. He is cruel, selfish, and arrogant. It is used when nick talks about Tom’s house and the interior of the several rooms he walks through with Nick.

The color yellow, the most common in the novel, symbolizes luxury. It describes Daisy as a greedy woman who is after money, Material things, and high social standards. The author says the color is that of Chicago cars, a city where so many ugly episodes took place. These include Gatsby’s shabby business dealings and Tom’s affairs with the maidservant.

In the novel, color and light function like a symbol, e.g., the color green which is associated with money. The green light, which represents riches, is used by Gatsby, believing that it will enable him to take Daisy away from Tom (Pruitt). He is disregarding the main distinction between wealth and class made by the other characters in the book.

In conclusion, the novels teach that no matter how much treasure or achievement we gain, we always chase after more because it’s human nature not to have enough. This is seen in the character Gatsby who, despite having all the wealth in the world, couldn’t stop chasing after daisy, his one true love.

Works Cited

“Characters in the grapes of wrath with analysis.” Literary Devices, November 26, 2019,

Fitzgerald, F. S. The Originals: The Great Gatsby. Om Books International, 2018.

—. “How ‘The Great Gatsby’ Chronicled the Dark Side of the Roaring ’20s.” History, November 16, 2018,

Pruitt, Sarah. “How ‘The Great Gatsby’ Chronicled the Dark Side of the Roaring ’20s.” HISTORY, November 16, 2018,


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