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Essay on Adversity in The Grapes of Wrath and The English Patient

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During the early 1920s to late 1940s, people in the whole world suffered from the two darkest periods in the humankind history. One period was, from 1929 to 1932, the longest and deepest economical depression, the Great Depression. The other, right after that, was the most widespread and deadliest total war, the Second World War. In those periods, people were devastated; millions of millions people died, some died from hunger, others died in the war. Some survived, but they surrendered; lived like a walking dead. The physical harm was not deadly enough for people, but the mental harm was. Those people who did not have a strong sense of love, moral, or spiritual belief died mentally. They were, weak-minded and shiftless, the ‘sheep’. In contrast, there were the real ‘goats’; they were enduring and constructive. They fought against the evil and followed their beliefs tight to avoid being lost in the dark. These people knew how precious love, moral, or belief could be in the adversity and, thus, made an utmost effort to uphold these senses. Whether one can hold one’s own in adversity depends on how strong one’s love, moral, or belief are.
The Grapes of Wrath, a novel is written by John Steinbeck, sets the Great Depression as the background. When Steinbeck was young, he was a ranchman in California. He witnessed the migrant laborers who worked in the farms and he had noticed the social inequalities among different classes of people. The story he wrote is about, during the Great Depression, a poor migrant family, the Joads, encounter all kinds of difficulties when they moved from Oklahoma to California to seek for jobs and their future. Coupled with that, The English Patient , is written by the famous Canadian author Michael Ondaatj...


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...so that they lose themselves in it. Hence, hardships test out that the ones who lose belief lose oneself, the ones who keep belief hold one’s own.

Consequently, love, moral, or spiritual belief are the three senses that can brace people up in adversity. The stronger these senses are, the stronger the person is. The Grapes of Wrath and The English Patient portray many vivid characters. Each of them undergoes various plots and encounters all kinds problem. While the fates are testing them, some stand up and overcome, and others escape and hide. At this moment, who are the ‘goats’ and who are the ‘sheep’ has never been so clear.




Work Cited

Ondaatje, Michael. The English Patient. New York: Vintage International, 1993. Print.


Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. Web. 25 September 2014.




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