The Grapes of Wrath-the Biblical Symbols

Essay by myqueen77College, UndergraduateA+, January 2003

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Biblical symbols are numerous in The Grapes of Wrath. The novel's title, for example, is taken from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" ("Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored").

Of great significance within the range of biblical symbols, of course, is that of Christ, represented in the novel not only by Jom Casy, but aslo by Tom Joad, Rose of Sharon, and even Ruthie. Christ came as a leader for masses of people, and as a sacrificial figure whose death would offer man a new beginning and a second chance. Jum Casy is such a figure in the novel. You can't miss his eye-catching initials--J.C. Jesus used many parables, which are brief stories, just as Casy often did throughout the novel. Like christ, Casey has gone away to ponder his faith, or as Casy put it, "Here's me, been a-goin into the wilderniess like Jesus to try to find out somepin'".

And like Christ, Casy has discovered within himself a commitment to mankind. He tells tom of the realization he came to: "I figgered about the Holy Sperit and the Jesus road. I figgered, "Why do we got to hand it on God or Jesus? Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit--the human sperit--the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever' body's a part of.' Now I sat there thinkin' it, an' all of a suddent--Iknew it. I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it." He compare himself to Jesus throughout the novel. He tells the entire Joad family: "I benn thinkin'--I benn in the hills, thinkin' almost you might say...