Symbols In The Turtle, By John Steinbeck

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The turtle is one of the very first symbols presented to the reader in the book. Steinbeck describes the turtles hardships to crossing the highway, ranging from the highway itself, to the drivers on it. After being knocked off the highway, the turtle is flipped over onto its shell, but eventually recovers and attempts to cross the highway again. The turtle in this case is symbolizing the tenant farmers and their journey West. There are many hardships that the turtle faces, ranging from small annoyances such as the burrs and red ant, to major setbacks like the truck driver. Similarly, the farmers experience many struggles on their journey West. These include risks of starvation, need of shelter, and other hostile people. Both the turtle and …show more content…
In the end of the book, Rose of Sharon’s final act represents humanity and generosity. Rose of Sharon has just had one of her greatest fears confirmed: She has had a stillborn baby, and she believes it is a result of her sins. She is devastated at her loss, as the baby was her light at the end of the tunnel, especially after Connie left her. She had nothing else to look forward to except for her future child. After this loss, she no longer whines as much. She is much more quiet. Then, the Joads are forced out of their boxcar homes after they begin to flood, and they take shelter in a barn. When they enter the barn, they find an old, starving man, and his child. The old man gave all his food to his son and began to starve in the process. Now he is on the brink of death, and requires someone’s help. Rose of Sharon sees this and realizes she can help. Her breasts are still full of milk and she now has no child to nourish. She decides to think of everyone else’s needs instead of just her own. She breast-feeds the man, despite his protests. This is a symbol of humanity, as Rose of Sharon already has little to give and is also in need of help, but she sees this man needs help worse than she does, and gives him her milk. This charity restores hope in humanity, especially after other farmers are the ones that forced them into their position of …show more content…
The bank “monster” is used to symbolize the inhumanity of corporations. Even though the bank that is described in Chapter 5 is owned by humans, the men are describing it as inhuman, as a monster. The bank men are speaking as if they do not want to kick the tenant farmers off, but the “bank monster” is forcing them to. The bank monster is a hungry beast that “breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don’t get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so.” (41). The bank men are in complete disregard of the poor situation of the tenant farmers, as they want to get their profits, and their “monster” needs the profits to survive. The naming of the bank as a monster is just further solidifying the symbolism of

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