Free Grapes of Wrath Essays: Steinbeck's Biblical References


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Biblical References in The Grapes of Wrath


The plot of John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, can easily be related to many biblical references as well as it could be applied to the daily struggles of the lives of Christians. Two particular portions of this novel stick out more than any other. Those are the characters of Jim Casey and Pa Joad. Many say that Jim Casey’s character could possibly be symbolically tied into the biblical hero of Moses. In the Bibles book of Exodus, Moses guided thousands of people (God’s family, the Israelites) out of severe slavery and harsh treatment in Egypt. From there he led them into the promised land of Canon that flowed with milk and honey. Much is the same when looking at The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck could possibly be trying to infer the Joad Family as being the struggling Israelites. Casey acts as a leader who directs the Joads out of famine and hard times during the 1930’s in Oklahoma and into California where they can begin a new life with hope and future. This book can also be symbolic to the day by day walks in Christianity. For example when Pa Joad needs helps and seeks guidance, it is Jim Casey who he turns to. Those who follow Christ call upon God in desperate times. Steinbeck infers that Casey, who happens to be a preacher, is somewhat of a Christ figure to the Joad family. He even throws a hidden clue in his name. The initials of Jim Casey are the same of those of Jesus Christ. Steinbeck implies that Pa Joad is symbolically a typical Christian who is struggling in a world of sin. The famine and horrible conditions of the great depression stand for the sin that is surrounding this battling Christian. So as a final resort this child of God turns to Jesus Christ for salvation and release from the sin in his life. These two characters display both the giving and receiving sides of God’s love towards his children.

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Jim Casey gives his guidance and direction as Pa Joad and his family takes in his advice. The same is for Christians. Steinbeck shows us plainly when we are in need of help we should not stay in sin but instead turn to Jesus for our answers. Just as Moses guided the Israelites into Canon and Casey helped direct the Joads to California, Jesus shows Christians the way to salvation.


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