Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Tom Joad

In the beginning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, there is this guy, Tom Joad. Tom is almost a sort of self-aware person, and he has an enormous sense of self-interest but not too interestd in himself. After being held in jail for four years, he claims himself to devote his time and energy to the present moment. What life has in store for him does not matter. He lives by these rules because he tries to find a way of coping with his fears of insanity. He fears that by thinking of anything other than the right now, - a week or so into the future, for example - he will think too much about it, and he will become paranoid about it until the point where he goes crazy. But, unfortunately, Tom's life holds so much more in store for him than just living from each day to the next. As The Grapes of Wrath progresses, Tom Joad rids himself of this way of living from day to day, and he replaces the old philosophy with thoughts of bettering the future. In the journey to California, Tom becomes a devoted follower of Jim Casy, a former preacher at a church, and he is one big factor to the change of mind within Tom. Jim's beliefs are of relationship and interhumanism. He believes that no one can do much good alone, but that everyone needs some help in changing the world. He also says that one can only achieve godliness and self-fulfillment. All the difficulties the Joads face during their travel to the west push Tom farther and farther into the followings of Jim Casy. Tom eventually realizes that he can no longer stand back and watch as all of the world's injusticies pass by him in such a dark haze. He even feels bad that he cannot work to support his family if it means taking from another family like his family has been doing.

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