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The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Literary Elements

How certain literary elements help strengthen "The Grapes of Wrath"


    "You got to have patience. Why, Tom- us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people- we go on."
    "We take a beatin' all the time."
    "I know. Maybe that makes us tough. Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good, an' they die out. But, Tom, we keep a-comin'. Don' you fret none, Tom. A different time's comin'.
    "Well, anyways they never shoved us north. We still go where we want, even if we got to crawl for the right," (383-384 Grapes of Wrath).
    "His truth is marching on," (Battle Hymn).
     The tone in this piece is somewhat proud and defiant. Ma knows that they will always live on, no matter how poorly they are treated because they are the only truly good people. Tom starts to realize this as well, and in the last sentence, he shows that they will keep pushing on and never stop, much like God in the "Battle Hymn."
"To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth. The plows crossed and recrossed and scattered weed colonies and grass along the sides of the roads so that the gray country and the dark red country began to disappear under a green cover." (3)The Grapes of Wrath
" Men and women huddled in their houses, and they tied handkercheifs over their noses when they went out and wore goggles to protect their eyes." (5) The Grapes of Wrath
     In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck uses imagery to show the reader what the times were really like and allows the reader to put themselves right in the situation that the farmers and their families are in. The visual pictures that he paints makes it so that one can pretend that they are standing at the scene watching what is going on at each and every moment. Throughout the entire novel, the author does an excellent job of doing just this so that the reader can fully understand exactly what is going on at each moment. In the quotes from above, the readers can visually see how the amounts of dust were destroying the land and just how horrible it was for the people.
"Tom laughed, Me too, I guess. " His pick arced up and drove down, and the earth cracked under it. The sweat rolled down his forehead and down the sides of his nose, and it glistened on his neck. 'Damn it,' he said..." (407) The Grapes of Wrath
" 'Thank ya,' said Ma. She hurried on out and half ran to the tent. 'Pa,' she called. 'John, git up! You, Al. Git up an' git washed.' " (412) The Grapes of Wrath
     The way that The Grapes of Wrath is written is very informal, as noticed in the quotes above. Steinbeck uses dialogue which helps with the informalness of the novel because most of the novel is conversations between the characters.The informalness of the book helps to make the book seem more realistic and also allows for the reader to really understand what is going on. Because everything is informal, different things, like the second quote above, makes the situation where Ma is yelling at everyone to wake up and get ready just like a home of today; The mother is trying to get family members up to do things and they all complain and moan. Everything is written clearly and the vocabulary of the book is very simple. The simplicity in vocabulary makes it so that the readers can understand what is going on without being confused over different words that are uncommon to the times of today.

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By RH and MB