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Digital Note Taking Step 2: Topic Realism in The Grapes of Wrath Step 3: Works Cited Information Owens, Louis. "The Culpable Joads: Desentimentalizing The Grapes of Wrath ." Critical Essays on Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath . Ed. John Ditsky Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1989. 108-116. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism . Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 135. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 108-116. Literature Resource Center . Gale. Ronald Reagan High School. 29 Mar. 2009 < p=LitRC&u=tlc209105863>. Step 4: Direct Notes The Grapes of Wrath is one of John Steinbeck's great experiments, perhaps his greatest, a novel that exploded upon the American conscience in 1939, bringing home to American readers both the intimate reality of the Joads' suffering and the immense panorama of a people's--the Dust Bowl migrants'--suffering. In spite of howls of outrage from opposite ends of the novel's journey--both Oklahoma and California--America took the Joads to heart, forming out of The Grapes of Wrath a new American archetype of oppression and endurance, survival if not salvation. What has been little noted in this novel, however, is the care Steinbeck takes to counterbalance the narrative's seemingly inevitable drift in the direction of sentimentalism as the story of the Joads and of the migrants as a whole unfolds in all its pathos. While Steinbeck is undeniably intensely sympathetic in this novel to the suffering of the croppers and to the plight of the seemingly powerless "little people" caught up in the destructive path of corporate America, he is at the same time painstakingly careful not to sentimentalize these figures, a fact of utmost importance to a critical understanding of The Grapes of Wrath. Through the interchapters we feel the scope and dimension of the Dust Bowl drama; through the narrative chapters we experience the tragedy of one family on a personal, intimate level. A second very important function of the interchapters, however, one that has gone largely unnoticed, is that of offsetting the intimacy of the narrative chapters, of creating necessary distance between the reader and Steinbeck's representative family, the Joads. Steinbeck uses the interchapters skillfully as a means of preventing the reader from identifying too closely with the Joads. Again and again, just as we begin to be drawn fully into the pain of the Joads' experience, Steinbeck pulls us away from the intimate picture into the broad
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realism2 - Digital Note Taking Links to Create Your...

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