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Rhetorical Strategies: the Grapes of Wrath(Unrevised)

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    In the novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck shows a variety of rhetorical strategies and devices in the first fourteen chapters, such as, symbolism, diction and personification to help the reader be more intrigued. Through out the entire novel symbolism allowed Steinbeck to continue to tell the narrative of Tom Joad on the surface, while underlying, more depth social ideas about the time period. In chapter four, when Tom Joad was walking toward his childhood home to look for his family, “the flourlike dust spurted up in front of his new yellow shoes, and the yellowness was disappearing under gray dust. (Steinbeck 23). On the surface this may seem just like another piece of description about shoes and gray dust, the presence of symbolism is important. Yellow, represents power, energy and hope for a new life. Tom Joad bought these shoes after he is released from prison, the fact that they are clean and new represents the type of life he is searching for. In chapter two, Steinbeck seems as though he is making it a point to describe Tom’s new clothes, especially his new shoes. The truck driver that Tom gets a ride from even comments on his “dusty yellow shoes” saying, “you oughtnt’ to take no walk in new shoes. (Steinbeck 12). This simply is describing a main character in the novel; the turtle, which is referred to having a, “creamy yellow, clean and smooth. ” (Steinbeck 24) under-shell in chapter four. It has a bright yellow underside which symbolizes newness and power, it’s back is “brown-gray, like the dust. ” (Steinbeck 24) This goes along with Tom’s shoes, which are yellow, and are also covered with gray dust. Diction is used very heavily in this novel. Specifically in chapter four, Jim Casy, a former preacher, who used to have strong belief in religion, says that he, “ain’t got the call no more.

    Got a lot of sinful idears, but they seem kinda sensible,” (Steinbeck 27). The word usage of this makes a comment that would normally seem depressing seem some what amusing. If you actually look and try to decipher the meaning of what Jim had said, you would see that it refers to the way the people of the Great Depression lost their morals, and the traditional ideas of right or wrong. The generation of the depression, in all, lost of their hope, faith and their religion. Casy lost his religion, which can be shown in chapter six as well. Jim Casy ays that the people on the road “gonna need help no preachin’ can give ‘em. ” (Steinbeck 71). Diction also allows Steinbeck to go deeper in his ideas about society and the time period. The use of words and phrases such as, ‘ain’t’ or ‘preachin’, creates curiosity for the reader. If Steinbeck had used an average, educated or formal diction, the novel would not have been as effective, or as interesting. People use personification usually to help get their point across more efficiently. Particularly in chapter one Steinbeck used a couple of sentences that helped show the reader more intensity in what he was saying. The air was thin and the sky more pale; and every day the earth paled. ” (Steinbeck 1). Clearly that states the sky and the Earth are becoming pale. To my knowledge the only thing that can become pale is a human. “the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth. ” (Steinbeck 1). The Earth could not be scarred; mind it is living, but the Earth can’t feel the anything. It’s a place, it does not hold any emotions. Many authors use rhetorical strategies and devices to better their writing. It gives the reader a better understanding of the story and a deeper meaning behind it.

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    Rhetorical Strategies: the Grapes of Wrath(Unrevised). (2018, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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