Throughout the novel “The Grapes of Wrath” Steinbeck uses a variety of rhetorical strategies such as symbolism, diction and personification to intrigue the reader. He also use’s a number of rhetorical modes such as ethos, pathos and logos. For example in chapter 12 he uses diction to convey his purpose and in chapter 11 he uses descriptive language and personification to establish a sense of loss, while in chapter 9 he appeals to pathos. In chapter 12 I think that Steinbeck uses diction to establish the tone of the chapter. Highway 66 is a famous road; it carried thousands of people west towards California during the dust bowl. The families who crowded into their used cars and learned how to listen for any kind of breaking down sounds. On the road they met mechanics and a car sales man who again try to rip them off, these merchants practically tell them that there is no hope or opportunity in California but they keep on going. In the chapter Steinbeck uses distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression. In chapter 11 Steinbeck establishes a sense of loss by using very descriptive language and personification. In the chapter he describes the houses that the tenant farmers left behind, he says the houses slowly deteriorated, local kids came and broke the windows with rocks, and the mice moved in and got cozy. The wind slowly began to pull the roof of the building, everything is empty! By saying that the mice moved in he uses personification everyone knows that mice can’t literally move in. He also uses very descriptive words to create an imagine in your mind.
In chapter 9 the tenant people pick through their belongings, deciding what few precious items can be taken on the journey west. That which does not fit must be left behind or sold for a few miserable dollars. Buyers worry over the tangible evidence of the tenants' existence, farming tools, dishes, furniture. They don't realize that they are acquiring not only "things" but also the tenants' past, their toils, their passions, and their bitterness. The most personal effects cannot be sold and must be burned.
Steinbeck uses language to covey his purpose by bringing emotions in to play or “pathos” . The loss of dignity that results when the tenants are removed from their land bring pathos into play as readers tend to put their self in that situation. Their dignity is trampled as they are forced to strip themselves of personal items, which by way of their connection with the land, define them. Shame, desperation, and fear characterize the families as they try to sell their belongings. Steinbeck carefully & strategically placed rhetorical strategies and modes throughout the entire book to make it interesting and extremely captivating. I hope my analytical essay gives you a better understanding on chapters 9, 11 & 12.