John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath is in direct correlation with his view of the rich and the poor. Steinbeck vividly depicts the wealthy as being monsters and portrays the lower-class okies as being un-sung heroes. Steinbeck uses figurative language throughout the course of the novel in order to create these images. Steinbeck incorporates his views of social classes into his novel in order to forewarn society of the dangers of the separation of social classes. In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck introduces lower class America as the gallant heroes, and upper class America as the evil influence behind social segregation.
John Steinbeck is very fervent toward the manner in which the wealthy treat the poor because of the iniquities that manifest themselves in the upper class portion of our society. The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. – John Berger
John Berger and John Steinbeck have parallel minds when it comes to the manner in which the 20th century treats the destitute individual. The difficulty in this matter comes with the fact that there isnt a single individual to blame. Instead, society as a whole is to blame. Natural scarcity isnt even an issue when it comes to Americas potential. If the price of food is too low we solve the problem by throwing out food that could have been used to feed the famished mouths of our ravenous society. Steinbeck depicts even a ravenous individual as a virtuous member of society.
The Grapes of Wrath is such an involved novel because of the many themes that present themselves on so many different levels. The palpable reason for high-class societys iniquities is greed, but Steinbeck introduces many other ideas. One of the ideas that Steinbeck expresses through the novel is the idea that there is almost an innate malevolence that encompasses the wealthy. Aside from Steinbecks malice view of the wealthy, he despises the men that work for the big corporations and believes that they are just as responsible for their actions.
These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters. Many of the men that work for the banks and corporations create a scapegoat by placing all of the blame on the banks and corporations, as if a bank or corporation is one person to blame. Once Steinbeck creates a malign illustration of the wealthy, he goes on to create a benign image of the poor.
The lower class, as a single component, is never described as being wicked. The poor are always generous and ready to help others. The lower class virtuous attitude is greatly emphasized by comparing them to the wealthy. The okies are only able to make it through life by helping each other. It is through this realization that the okies obtain their strength. One of the messages that Steinbeck tries to communicate to the reader is the reassurance that when the poor help each other they are accomplishing more than what a little bit of money could have done for them.
Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it once and for all. Almsgiving leaves a man just where he was before. Aid restores him to society as an individual worthy of all respect and not as a man with a grievance. Almsgiving is the generosity of the rich; social aid levels up social inequalities. Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and sets him on the same level with the rich. – Eva Peran Aid is one of the exceedingly important aspects of life that people tend to overlook. The poor are more inclined to give aid to each other than the wealthy are inclined to give aid to the poor.
When a patrician lends a hand to a beggar the boundary between the rich and the poor is broken. I think that one of the problems with Steinbecks view of the rich and the poor is that he sees the entire spectrum in black and white. If you are rich, you are bad. If you are poor, you are good. If you look at the world with this frame of mind you will emphasize the message that you are trying to convey to the world, but you will overlook the exceptions. I think that a persons wealth has a lot to do with his frame of mind, whether he is rich or poor.