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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Family and Friendship

In The Grapes of Wrath, there are two sets of people: the Joad clan, and the rest of the migrant workers. Although the Joads are connected biologically, the book suggests that it is not their blood ties that keep them together, but it is really their true friendship and loyalty to each other that keeps the family together as a single unit. In the life of a migrant, like the characters in the novel, the normal group of family members combined in one house is a thing of the past since there are no walls to define the family. The life on the road demands walls to be broken and new friendships to be built as each real and migrant family member grows closer to the other. Who knows when it could be necessary to have friends of another family? Well, for example, Ivy and Sairy Wilson need a friend when they continuously have problems with their car. It proved useful to have the Joads right there, even though they had never met, but luckily for the Wilsons, the Joads happen to be a loving family with outstretching arms to everyone. In the first moment of their interactions with the Wilsons, the Joads accept the new family members as just that, with practically no bumps in the road. In that first encounter, both families joined in harmony to collect each others' hardships and commit to the survival of all members. This same adjoinment for the common good is present in the migrant community as well: "twenty families became on family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream." Facing many difficulties, the ability to keep one's self composed is the ability to love every neighbor. As Tom puts it, every person is his person. Everyone should be warm and hospitable to each other in order to secure their own survival.

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