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Grapes of Wrath. By: Steph, Krysta, Danea, Kelly. Character Development, Plot, Conflict Mood, Narrative tone Setting, Theme, Imagery Literary and Figurative Devices. Character development, Plot, Conflict. Character Development

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grapes of wrath

Grapes of Wrath

By: Steph, Krysta, Danea, Kelly

Character Development, Plot, Conflict

Mood, Narrative tone

Setting, Theme, Imagery

Literary and Figurative Devices

character development plot conflict
Character development, Plot, Conflict

Character Development

In chapters 6-10, we get introduced to Muley Graves, Ma, Pa, Granma, Grandpa, Al, Uncle John, Rosasharn, and her husband Connie. John Steinbeck does a great job describing the characters in great detail. The readers get a clear image of what each character looks like and what their main traits are. This is the initial meeting of all the characters so the readers developed their first impressions of these characters in these chapters. The Joad family all share similar ideals. All of them have a strong sense of morality, and each member has a sense of where they belong in the family. Steinbeck makes sure to point out that Ma is the ‘citadel’ which just means she is the rock. She is the thing that keeps them safe and together. Tom is a very thoughtful, generous, and honest man. Pa is the leader of the family, and a god kind-hearted man. Grandpa and Granma both have very sturdy ideals and are not going to change for anyone. Grandpa is very stubborn and likes things to be done the traditional old fashion way. Granma is also old fashioned, but she is a very religious person. At this point in the novel; Casy does not have a large effect on the Joad family, but as he ventures on with them to California, he will begin to impact them even more than ever. He is no longer seen as the unmoral preacher, but they now see him for just Jim Casy.



The main idea of the story is set up in these chapters. We the readers begin to embark on the Joads long journey with them. This section is where the foundation of the Joads’s trip to California is rooted. Steinbeck introduces the characters here, and we get our first taste of the Joads. The readers find out that the family has been moved off their farm, which is the whole premise of the novel. We begin to learn just how close this family is and just what they are getting into. We also get to develop the sense of togetherness this family has, and how accepting they are. These chapters are essentially the ‘set-up’ chapters, where we get all the background information for the rest of the novel. They actually take off for their trip in this section and this is where the rest of the novel will take place is with the Joads, their vehicle, and their family.


The bank is one of the main sources of conflict in these chapters. The banks is what gets the whole story rolling, because without the banks, the Joads would still be living on their farm resuming life as normal. The monstrous banks take the Joads land and make them find an alternate living situation and find a new life. They need to create a new way to make an income, since they no longer have their own land to farm. The cotton that the banks are planting is depleting the soil of essential nutrients that is needed to sustain the soil nutrients for future use. Another conflict in these chapters is with the people and the car dealerships, and the pawnbrokers. Family after family gets scammed out of their money, because they have no other choice. They need to buy the high priced car to get to California where they can start their lives over, and they need to sell their possessions for cheap to get what little money they can. The banks provide the biggest conflict for the Joads, because they would not be in such hardships if the banks had not have kicked them off their own land. They might not even have to face some of the conflicts they do if it wasn’t for the banks wretched actions. All that they have left now is their vehicle and each other. This can be related to another adversity they face. The Joad family is separated from the wealthy society. No longer can they two classes mingle but only be destined to stay separated since these families now have no permanent residence.

mood narrative tone
Mood, Narrative Tone

Monsters can be found in horror movies, in our closets, or within ourselves. Sometime the “monster” is the more dominant personality which we see portrayed in the novel The Grapes of Wrath, when the banks come in and take the land from the land owners. Normally we think of banks as buildings, non animate objects, but the author manages to manipulate the readers emotions in such a way that the banks are seen as monsters . The readers reaction is to sympathize with the characters . During chapters six to ten, the reader is drawn into feelings of sympathy towards Tom and his family, because they are forced to leave everything behind. To add sadness, Tom can’t just leave because he is on parole. The author introduced the “monster” in Tom’s characters by having him jailed for murder, yet is able to have the reader suddenly empathize with his human side by switching the role of the monster onto the banks. Suddenly this man who was seen as bad, the reader now feels sadness for, a feeling like being torn from the warmth of one’s bed and thrown into the cold ,harshness of the street, with nothing but the clothes on his back and the responsibility of his families well being on top. The mood of the novel has a great deal of impact on the reader because everything the author writes that impacts the characters also, when written well, impacts the emotions of the reader.


The narrative tone during the chapters six to ten literally radiates from the pages. It is so powerful it overwhelms any existing emotions the reader starts with. The narrative tone during these chapters is depressed and gloomy. For example the grandpa’s tone during these chapters is that of great despair because he didn’t want to leave his homestead, somewhere he had been born and spent his entire life. Despite the great changes to the land grandpa was quoted to say, “this country ain’t no good but it’s my country.” The reader felt the misery and the fear of being removed from something familiar, something safe, even though what the characters had come to know as their land was changing dramatically. The author played to the reader’s senses by describing the tractors ploughing over the land to stimulate the characters emotions also being ploughed over. When an author is able to set a strong tone or mood it can have powerful impact on the reader, which is in my mind a successful novel.

setting theme imagery
Setting; Theme, Imagery

Setting (Imagery)

The writer is effective in word choices and figurative devices in order to create the image wanted for his readers. He allows readers to place themselves into the setting of time, allowing the novel to be more comprehendible. Steinbeck influences reader’s thinking through the work of one’s imagination. Imagery is clearly painted out in our minds like a work of art on a canvas through this novel.


  • In The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck’s effective use of devices creates that image so real that you feel like you are standing within the setting.
  • Steinbeck used the same structure as government systems used to paint a picture of how the family structure was in that time. His use of a literal hierarchy created a picture such like:
  • As we read in the novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck placed a rusty old truck in the centre of the family in chapter eight. The truck is a symbol of the families bond and the hardship.
  • In Chapter 8 Steinbeck introduces us to the Joad family. Steinbeck sketches a good number of memorable characters in a single chapter.


The biggest theme carried through the chapters 6-10 was hope. The Joads experience many hardships, deprivations, and deaths, and at the end of the novel are barely surviving. However, the mood of the novel is optimistic. This positive feeling is the result from the growth of the Joad family as they began to understand a larger group consciousness. The development of this theme can be seen particularly in Ma Joad, from her focus on keeping the family together to her appreciation of the need of identifying with the group.

literary and figurative devices
Literary and Figurative Devices

Literary Devices:

Intercalary Chapters: Every other chapter was written as an intercalary chapter. This was very effective because it created a different view point for the reader. During the story chapters about the family the author writes in such a way that connects the reader to the main characters of the book. When Steinbeck switches to the intercalary chapters, he gives the reader a broader picture of what is happening on a larger scale. This literary device makes a connection between the story and how the author personally feels about the “banks” and the “monsters” not just affecting the Joad family, but the entire body of people in the area.

Archetypes:Muley Graves: this name is considered a literary archetype as it portrays specific traits of his character. Muley represents his stubbornness. He is as stubborn as a mule. This trait, however, leads him to his last name Graves. Because he is so stubborn, he stays around instead of leaving to California with everyone else. He wanders like a graveyard ghost and this foreshadows his death in the story.

Jim Casy: his role in the story is to be the “Christ-like” figure. Even his initials represent this archetype, being J.C. Casy was a reverend but now has been wandering through the desert wondering if what he believes is true. He has a new idea about life and people want to follow him. He also feels the need to be around people to give them hope and talk to them.

Connie: Rose of Sharon’s husband is introduced differently in the story than Tom and the rest of his family. The way they are described assures you that they are hard-working, trustworthy, honest, and manly, but when Connie is introduced you get the impression that he is a “pretty boy”. He is not hard working or has an honest heart like the Joad men, and his name reflects this as well.


Figurative Devices:

Truck: The Joad family gathers around the truck for their family meeting rather than a table as they would normally because in this scene the truck is the only thing that matters anymore. The house is empty, their possessions are moved out and sold, and they’re leaving the farm. The truck is all they have left.

Seating Positions: During the meeting each member of the Joad family has a specific placing according to their power status. Although Grampa doesn’t actually have any power in the decision, he sits above everyone else on the truck out of respect and age. He has the right to the first comment on the matter even though Pa is really the head of the house now. When the family decides that Jim Casy can come along to California with them, they make room for him in the circle around the truck, symbolizing him now being included in the family and having a say in their discussion.

Tractors/Monster: Steinbeck is effective in referring to the tractors and people running them as “the Monster” because it creates a feeling of hatred in the reader towards it. The way that the people in those tractors just plow over the farm houses and crops and tear up the land makes them seem inhuman and emotionless, making them like a monster.