The Bleakness Of Loss Of The Grapes Of Wrath Essay

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The Bleakness of Loss In “The Grapes of Wrath”
Death is inevitable. Although death is a universal experience, each family grieves in the face of death itself. The Joads of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (GW) are victimized by the loss kin and suffer as a result. Steinbeck is pessimistic about the Joads’ quest for the American dream. It is the pursuit of this fruitless dream that hastens the loss of family members.
The elders’ death early in the journey is foreseeable from the moment they are uprooted, because the family’s journey is not theirs. Like all elderly people, they are uncomfortable with a change in their lives. As literary critic Carroll Britch asserts, “Old folks normally fight to stay put” (100). Ma affirms, “We’re Joads. We don’t look up to nobody. Grampa’s grampa, he fit in the Revolution. We was farm people ‘till the debt” (GW 307). The elderly remain unchanged in the face of great upheaval. Conversely, the family has to progress from previous lives as farmers to continue in their journey. Howard Levant, a literary critic, also maintains that “Grandpa and Grandma are torn up by the roots and die, incapable of absorbing a new, terrible experience” (123). Casy asserts, “You fellas can make some kinda new life, but Grampa, his life was over an’ he knowed it… He died the minute you took ‘im off the place” (GW 146). There was no hope for the grandparents to make a new life in California. Instead of undergoing the human experience of grief, the family pursues…

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