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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck by Mind Map: The Grapes of Wrath by John
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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


Setting is an important element. The Dust Bowl and influx of farmers to California are an essential element of the plot and how Steinbeck portrays the American Dream


The West- Hope, also condemning

The turtle- The families migrating west

The Joad family dog being run over by a man in an expensive roadster- How the Okies are to be treated in California

Rose of Sharon- Loss and grief, rebirth

• Tom Joad recently released from jail for manslaughter, travels home in Oklahoma. • Oklahoma affected by dustbowl • Meets Jim Casey- former preacher, doesn’t see all in life as holy- who goes with him to his home • Sees his home deserted, learns that everyone has headed to California because there is nothing really left in Oklahoma • Finds his family, packing to head to California, where they hear there is work and arable land • Grampa Joad dies during the journey to California • Travel in rickety used truck • When they’re almost there, they hear that there may not be as many jobs as they’ve heard, and that there arnt enough jobs for the amount of people migrating • Noah and Connie abandon the family, fearing that they’ve gone for nothing • Locals are hostile towards the immigrants from Oklahoma, call them Okies. • Jim Casey arrested for attacking police officer • The camps they arrive to work in a way to keep the immigrants dependent on the owners, and very poor so they have no option of leaving • The Joads live in a government camp for a while, but leave after they think the police are going to shut it down. • Find jobs as fruit-pickers, run into Jim Casey who has been released from prison. He has been rallying workers, therefore has the police after him. • They later have him killed in front of Tom, who kills one of the police officers, and then has to go into hiding • The family has to move again cause of Tom, until one day Ruthie tells their neighbors that her brother is nearby and is a fugitive • Tom is warned and leaves to assemble the workers • The season for picking is over, and fear ensues that there will be no work • Rose of Sharon who was pregnant over their journey, gives birth during the flood to a stillborn child • The family finds shelter in a barn where a child and his dying father are taking refuge • Realizing she can help him, Rose of Sharon feeds the man, as she is now producing milk because her body was prepared for the baby which passed away.


Tom Joad- Jailed for manslaughter, released at beginning of novel. Strong thoughtful, but because of prison has a mentality of only caring of the now. Changes into someone who cares about making a better future. Creates unions for the field workers. Learns from Casey, who teaches him of brotherhood and how a single person cannot have a very profound effect on the world. Begins to care about the well-being of others more than himself and his family.

Ma Joad- Loving mother figure, as Pa becomes less of the head, she assumes his position.

Pa Joad- The trials faces by the family make it hard for him to continue being the head of it. Really loses this position when after he cannot get a job, escapes into his mind. Character doesn’t grow, but shrinks over the novel.

Jim Casey- Former preacher, acts as mentor to Tom. Thinks of holiness of life, not of the afterlife. Organizes the migrant workers, which leads to his death, but Tom Joad takes over where he left off.

Rose of Sharon- Begins the novel as a high spirited rambunctious girl, whose pregnancy changes her into a women. Helps others live, even after just losing her own child.

Grampa/ Granma Joad

Al Joad


Literary Techniques



Destruction of the American Dream

Unity through strife


Writing Style

Descriptive, sometime ominous writing. Plenty of symbolism and second meanings