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Man and Nature in The Grapes of Wrath Essay

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Man and Nature in The Grapes of Wrath


   In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck uses both obvious references and subtle contrasts to emphasize the main theme of the novel: the sanctity of man's relationship to the natural world and to each other.

 

Machines have no place in this relationship. They act as a barrier between men and the land. They are dangerous because they perform the function of men with greater efficiency, but they lack the spiritual element that makes the land so valuable. Chapter five uses imagery to detail the evil inherent in the plowing of land by a machine:

 

"Behind the tractor rolled the shining disks, cutting the earth with blades-not plowing but surgery, pushing the cut earth to the right where the second row of disks cut it and pushed it to the left; slicing blades shining, polished by the cut earth. And pulled behind the disks, the harrows combing with iron teeth so that the little clods broke up and the earth lay smooth. Behind the harrows, the long seeders- twelve curved iron penes erected in the foundry, orgasms set...


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