In his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck brings a variety of diverse characters to the reader. The majority of these characters' individuality lies within whom they symbolize. What I'm trying to say is that the character in the novel represents another being outside of the novel.
The setting includes a large part of Oklahoma, portions of other states, and a large area of California. The early narrative chapters focus on land near Sallisaw, in the east-central part of Oklahoma.
The westward journey of the Joad family covers some eighteen hundred miles through portions of seven states: The huge territory covered in chapters twelve to eighteen is described in great detail.
Steinbeck lists names of places, state roads, and highways, as well as describing the national Highway 66, "the path of a people in flight," and the main route westward.
The poetic descriptions of the land through which Highway 66 passes create a sense of expansiveness and spaciousness. He migrates with his family to California where he hopes to find work picking oranges. He loses his identity when his life as a farmer is disrupted, and he cannot adjust to the new circumstances which face him.
Ma Joad A strong, stern woman who is the binding force of the family. Her concern for the family prompts her not to reveal that Granma has died until they have safely crossed the desert. Grampa Joad The grandfather and original settler of the farm which has been lost due to the dust storm in Oklahoma.
He is the titular head of the family but no longer rules. Although he talks about how he will sit in a wash-tub full of grapes in California, when the time to leave arrives, he refuses to go and has to be drugged with medicine to be taken along. He dies on the first evening of their journey and is buried in a field beside the road.
Granma Joad A firm believer in religion. She dies while the family cross the Californian desert.
Noah Joad The eldest son who fulfills a minor role in the novel. He is unobtrusive and uncommunicative. Although not stupid, he is strange. Pa attributes Noah's strangeness to the night of his birth when Pa panicked and tried to pull and twist Noah during the delivery. Noah decides to stay by the Colorado River as he lacks the will power to continue the tiresome journey to California.
Tom Joad The chief protagonist of the novel. He is the second son and makes his appearance in the novel after spending four years in McAlester, an Oklahoma state prison, for killing a man in a drunken brawl. His character undergoes development in the novel when he decides to act upon Casy's ideas and take over his work.
When Tom returns from prison, he finds her pregnant. She has great hopes about her life in California and tells Ma that she wants to live in a town rather than in the country with the family. Her child is stillborn and in the final pages of the novel, she is seen breast-feeding a starving man.
Al Joad A sixteen year old boy.At the novel's end Tom is continuing Jim Casy's generous work of uniting the poor hand laborers. The Grapes of Wrath Character Analysis - Jim Casy: The Preacher The grapes of wrath 5 by John Steinbeck in In it garnered him the Pulitzer Prize.
The Grapes of Wrath /5(5). Tom Joad is the protagonist of the novel and the narrative action chronicles his development from a self-absorbed egoism to a concern about humanity at large. The novel opens with Tom as the representative walking man, who along with the Joads and the other migrants, will be sent on a quest to understand the implications of his relationship with the land.
Jim Casy is the moral spokesman of the novel and is often considered a Christ-figure. The initials of his name, J.C., are the same as Jesus Christ, and like Christ, he wanders in the wilderness.
In Christ-like fashion, Casy sacrifices himself when he turns himself in to save Tom after an altercation with a deputy. Specifically, he shares his theories with Tom, who is an impatient, but not unwilling listener. At various points, Casy's teachings reflect the various philosophies of transcendentalism, humanism, socialism, and pragmatism.
Jim Casy is the moral spokesman of the novel and is often considered a Christ-figure. Casy also happens to be the spiritual compass of the Joad family and of the entire novel. Casy trumpets a kind of philosophy similar to that first drummed up by the famous American philosopher and thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Free Study Guide: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - Free BookNotes Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page CHARACTER LIST Major Characters. Pa Joad Jim Casy The preacher who baptized Tom Joad. He has given up his calling as a preacher because he felt hypocritical because of his promiscuity.