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The Battle Hymn of the Republic


The Spiritual Side of "Battle Hymn" and "Grapes"


"Our God is marching on."
"His truth is marching on."
             ~"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
"What if some time an army of them marches on the land as the Lombards did in Italy, as the Germans did on Gaul and the Turks did on Byzantium? They were land hungry, ill-armed hordes too, and the legions could not stop them. Slaughter and terror did not stop them. How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him- he has known a fear beyond every other,"
              ~ Grapes of Wrath pg. 323
The God of the song will never stop fighting for his people and their needs. Much like him, the farmers in the novel can't stop. The farm owners and police are starting to realize that it will be impossible to stop a man that has endured so much pain from reaching his goal. The people will never stop until they know that their loved ones have been taken care of and are safe.
"He has sounded forth the trumpets that shall never call retreat."
                              ~Battle Hymn
"He hath loos'd the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword."
                              ~Battle Hymn
"Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad an'- I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build- why, I'll be there. 
                              ~Grapes of Wrath
         In the song, Howe does not talk of a forgiving and loving Christ, but of one that fights for the needs of his people. In Tom's speech in his last scene of the novel, he takes on the image of Christ and finally realizes that he needs to fight for the rights of all the workers and continue Casy's fight. Tom mentions Casy and he now knows that the only right thing to do is to fight. The workers need to be protected and their rights have to be fought for and protected.

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By RH and MB