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Unformatted text preview: Realism vs. Transcendentalism in The Grapes of Wrath I. The Grapes of Wrath is a novel written by John Steinbeck in the 1930s during the period of the Dust Bowl. The novel describes the trials and tribulations that the Joad family as well as other families encounter in their migration towards California in search for a place to live, work, eat, and earn sufficient income. The purpose of the novel is to expose the horrific challenges that migrant workers endure, while large companies and authorities retain all the wealth. Steinbeck depicts the unity and brotherhood among the migrant people as a prominent theme throughout the novel. He accurately depicts the arduous situations which most migrants had to bear during the Dust Bowl. While strong transcendental forces seem to drive the novel, Steinbecks emphasis on comprehensive details and powerful images demonstrate that the novel is predominantly realistic. I I. Transcendentalist A. Universal spirit (Carpenter) 1. The idea of one big soul is depicted along with the thematic idea that single life has meager purpose unless it takes part in, and contributes to, a greater community. The readers are shown that any form of human life is as sacred as any divinity (The Philosophical Joads). 2. Maybe all men got one big soul everybody is a part of (Steinbeck 33)....
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