Emerson's Theory Of The Oversoul By Jim Casy

735 Words 3 Pages
Jim Casy's personal philosophy draws heavily from Emerson's theory of the Oversoul, which states that every individual is eternally connected every other living thing in the universe. It contains and unites all souls and acts as the animating force behind them. Through Casy, Steinbeck seems to steer the reader towards the idea of a communal spirit--a large group of people coming together to make up one body, or spirit, that is more powerful than the sum of its parts. The concept of an Oversoul parallels that of Casy's idea of the "Holy Sperit": the idea that "all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of." (24). Being part of the Holy Spirit, by extension, means accepting all parts of people. Therefore, "there ain't no sin and there ain't …show more content…
At first glance, this comparison seems quite ironic considering Casy's own rejection of Christianity, however, his character arc seems to parallel much of Jesus Christ's life. For one, Casy mentions his time in the wilderness before returning to public life, which can be seen as a parallel to Jesus Christ. While their journies aren't carbon copies of one another, they definitely follow the same pattern. Christ retreated into the desert praying to the Father for forty days before returning to his public life of preaching. This is similar to Casy's own disappearance from normal society in pursuit of the true meaning of holiness. Also, Steinbeck portrays Jim Casy as that of a natural leader, and an advocate for his people. As a preacher, he felt as if it was his duty to share his knowledge with those around him so as to guide them via his words. He also becomes involved in a labor strike, during which he sacrificed his life. This act of sacrifice further links him to Jesus, especially seeing as Jesus also gave up his life to save mankind. In Casy's last words before his death, he tells the cop, "You don' know what you're a-doin'." (386). This line is reminiscent of Jesus's last words prior to his crucifixion: "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do" (Bible, Jn. 23:34). This shows that Jim Casy and Jesus Christ were not only similar in life, but also in death. Just as Jesus Christ was a martyr for his people, …show more content…
It is Casy who encourages him to transform from a slacker to a man of action. Although Tom has been shown to be quite indifferent to Jim's teachings, he has definitely remembered them. When he meets Casy during the strike at Hooper Ranch, Casy explains the importance of organizing workers in order to improve their living conditions. After Casy's death, Tom is compelled to remember his teachings and think about them. Upon escaping to a cave after murder, he has a lot of time to reflect upon these things. In Chapter 28, Tom talks to Ma about the things Casy preached, including how each person had a piece of one big soul. He wonders why people couldn't live on their own and work together towards one common goal, as seen in the government camp. This comment is quite similar in philosophy to that of many of Casy's teachings, and marks Tom's desire to follow in Casy's footsteps. Tom decides to take up Casy's fight, and tells Ma not to worry because "...like Casy says, a fella ain't got a soul of his own, but on'y a piece of a big one... Then it don't matter. ... I'll be ever'where--wherever you look. Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Whenever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there" (419). This leaves the reader with a feeling of hope, and further strengthens Steinbeck's idea of a "we" as opposed to an

Related Documents