Literary styles in The Grapes of Wrath

Literary styles in The Grapes of Wrath

When John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, our country was just starting to recover from The Great Depression. The novel he wrote, though fiction, was not an uncommon tale in many lives. When this book was first published, the majority of those reading it understood where it was coming from-they had lived it. But now very few people understand the horrors of what went on in that time. The style in which Steinbeck chose to write The Grapes of Wrath helps get across the book’s message. John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath, is a narrative about the travel of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California. However, between many of the narrative chapters, Steinbeck inserts interchapters, which interrupt the flow of the narrative to provide the author’s commentary. This technique is very effective because the interchapters create an image of the economic and social history that impact the story. They provide a broad picture of what is happening to the mass of migrants traveling to California on Route 66. Without the interchapters, the reader would be given a limited view of how life was for the migrants, and Stienbeck would not have been able to provide very effective commentary. Early in the 1930’s Steinbeck wrote, “The trees and the muscled mountains are the world-but not the world apart from man-the world and man-the one inseparable unit man and his environment. Why they should ever have been understood as being separate I do not know.” Steinbeck strove to reconnect them, and it shows in his writing. Intermixed with the plot are corollary chapters. The purpose of the corollary chapters is to put the events of the story in perspective to the circumstances of the country, so everyone would be able to understand the context of the book. The corollary chapters tell little pieces of the “common story”, the story held in common. They don’t give specifics-they give generalities. The first chapter gives the background to all of the followi…


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