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Four Powerful Women in Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Essay

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One of the most important attributes seldom attributed to women is the innate ability to keep the family as a cohesive whole. Women are the rock in the midst of familial turmoil, the solid foundation on which a husband or head of a household can stand firm. Fully assured that womanhood will stand back of the ranks and take care of domestic needs. Women have qualities that keep the family strong, these unique attributes can divided into several standards. One being the physical aspect of “mother” nature, two virginity representing the religious type of the standard, three is the young bitch who represent the physical state while four is the old bitch who also has a spiritual side of the woman standard. In the Grapes of Wrath by J. Steinbeck these four standards are possessed by the characters which take on responsibility and eventually help the family succeed in achieving the American dream.

The rock of the family, Ma Joad is a woman of hope and strength. Ma represents the “mother” nature archetype and also has the characteristic of staying strong when depended on by her family and also guiding her family that is attributed to this standard. The sentence structure used to describe Ma by Steinbeck proves the importance of Ma’s character. “. " Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work...her ankles, and her strong, broad, bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floor", by Steinbeck using these features to describe her as a mom he shows that Ma has the ability to thrive and survive in hard situations as well as that she has control of her family (95). Steinbeck’s later goes on to describe in detail her feet being one with the earth, showing her “mother” nature standard. Mother Nature produces, births, sustain...


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... of the trials and hardship endured along the road to get to the Promised Land (California), the Joad’s survive as a family. It may not have been the perfect expedition and migration which was intended but when all hope was lost Ma was there to lead and comfort. The need to push on and reassurance that things would be ok was prevalent after the deaths. When one life ended another was started, and when situations were at their worst, there came a helping hand and were saved. These women are the foundation to the Joad family and help them successfully live their dream to make it to California. Without these four women possessing these archetypes they may have never made it as a family, with such hope and dreams as they did.



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




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