Theme Of Humanism In The Grapes Of Wrath

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In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Rose of Sharon’s relatable character represents hope for humanity as America grows unstable. This novel takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930s as well as during the Dust Bowl. Throughout this struggle, migrants from all over pack up their belongings and move to California in search of work. Within this novel, the Joad family migrates from Oklahoma to California after giving up their lives on the farm to find jobs. Rose of Sharon is an important character in Steinbeck’s novel because she undergoes a transformation in this story. In the beginning, she is a self-indulged pregnant woman with a husband and hopes for their future in California; however, at the end she experiences the real struggles …show more content…
Tom Casy’s religious realization within the first chapters of this novel open up the realm of Humanist views. To him, there is no higher power because the Holy Spirit lives within every living, breathing human. Humanism is the idea that in times of struggle, the people do not look for comfort in a god, but they find it within themselves through self-realization and determination. The most obvious comparison that can be made is the fact that Rose of Sharon is a woman. According to Casy, “a girl is so full of the Holy Sperit that it’s spoutin’ out of her nose an’ ears…There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.” (22-23) That being said, Rose of Sharon has a literal burst of passion living within herself waiting to make its impact on the world. Although she only cares for her baby and acts in favor of her baby, she is really fostering the future and what could be. She is someone that all of the migrants can relate to. When a desperate migrant searching for a way to live sees her anywhere, her pregnant figure reminds them that life is continuous. The life she holds within herself brings people together, and that is how she embodies humanism. One example of this effect of unification is when Pa needs to build a mud wall around the camp to keep it from flooding. Desperately, he reaches out to the other people in the camp and exclaimed “We got to build her. My girl …show more content…
Like the plant Rose of Sharon, her character is able to survive for a long time without sustenance. When Connie left her in the dust, she kept up hope thinking “maybe he went to get them books to study up…Maybe he was a-gonna surprise us.” (277) Rose of Sharon is as optimistic for the best as all the other migrants. Connie is just a specific name in her story, but there are many migrants out there going through the same things and using the same tactics. Pretending that reality is not what it seems warps emotions and hides the truth. In one of the inner chapters, it was recalled that “only a baby can start. You and me--why, we’re all that’s been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that’s us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can’t start again.” (87) During such a hard time, the idea of a pregnant woman or a new life reminds the migrants of starting anew and leaving the past behind. Rose of Sharon’s baby was a reminder to everyone that life will continue despite the unbearable circumstances. The spirit of the migrants and their work ethic will live endlessly within the new generations with a long lifetime ahead of them. Now, one of the most important moments of this book fully captures the essence of Rose of Sharon. After losing her baby, the one piece of hope that she

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