“The Grapes of Wrath” Summary Writing Guide

The first step of the process of writing great The Grapes of Wrath summary is reading the book. This is one of the best books by John Steinbeck. It was published for the first time in 1939. This book evokes the emotions and harshness that families went through during the Great Depression. It arouses sympathy for migrant farm-workers due to the struggles they endured. This book is now considered an American classic.

When writing The Grapes of Wrath summary, students should tell readers how the author narrates the migration of a Dust Bowl family from Oklahoma to California and the hardships that the family endured subsequently. They should also explain the interspersing prose-poem interludes that the author uses to explain the circumstances that the protagonists contend with in this novel.

The Grapes of Wrath Summary Intro

An ideal summary should discuss the Dust Bowl family and its life as discussed in the novel. This family sets out on the historic Route 66 that led them to California without a direction and almost penniless. This family hopped to find high-paying work to start afresh.

The Grapes of Wrath characters are based on realism and the novel speaks of the far-reaching effects of corruption and greed that trickled down to destroy the work-class or farmers. Character analysis should be one of the key points in your summary. Told in the third person, this novel follows this family as it searches for life meaning and value. The family is ready to risk everything just to work, afford essentials, and start afresh. Despite being beaten down several times, the family does its best to stick together.

The Grapes of Wrath Setting and Symbols

When writing a summary of this novel, students should explain the setting. This will put the story into context for the readers to understand better. The Grapes of Wrath first edition presents the setting of the Great Depression in America. This depression lasted from October 1929 during the Stock Market Crash to when World War II started 12 years later. This was a long period when the American Midwest was affected by high winds and drought. This included Oklahoma and it’s what created the Dust Bowl. Consequently, many people moved from elsewhere to Midwest in their search for fertile land where they could make their living.

One of the major characters in The Grapes of Wrath is Tom Joad. This is the hero in the book although he attacks a police officer at some point. He also beats a man to become a fugitive that dwelled in a cave. Although his actions are illegal, they are considered morally just.

One of the most vivid The Grapes of Wrath symbols is the final tone of the novel.

Rose of Sharon Joad recently had a stillborn baby, breast-feeds a starving, sickly man on an old barn floor. This image enables Steinbeck to powerfully dramatize the plight of migrant workers during the depression era as they desperately try to make a living. This is one of the symbols in The Grapes of Wrath that the author uses to show that he felt that the society abandoned the migrant workers.

Why Is The Grapes of Wrath Important?

In this novel, John Steinbeck writes about the plight of the working class or farmers who had been beaten down by life in ways they couldn’t control. This is depicted by The Grapes of Wrath themes and the sharp realism that matches the usual style of Steinbeck perfectly. It’s not surprising that this novel ended up becoming an American classic.

Dust Bowl had wreaked havoc on many people across the United States’ Great Plains when Steinbeck started to write this novel. Most themes in The Grapes of Wrath are based on the experiences of the people that were kicked out of their land, exploited, and taken advantage of. The book further explores their plight when moving west to search for better lives and work.

How Is The Grapes of Wrath Structured?

This is an important question to ask when writing a summary of this novel. Well, this novel starts with the release of Tom Joad from prison. He embarks on finding his way to his family. Tom had been imprisoned on manslaughter charges. He meets Jim Casy on the way. He learns about the eviction of his family from their farm.

Upon arrival, Tom and his Uncle John find their family. Farm labor jobs entice them and they prepare to relocate to California. Casy and Joad head out and join the exodus of tenant farmers that were also heading west. They face many challenges along the way. They also get warnings that the farm jobs they expected to get in California are quite illusory. Grandma and Grandpa Joad die along the way. Noah, who is Tom’s elder brother, abandons the enterprise.

Other The Grapes of Wrath characters emerge upon their arrival in California. They include Floyd Knowles and Rosasharn. It’s also here where they encounter more challenges. For instance, they realize that the jobs they expected are scarce and those available have poor pay. Families are starving and dying in makeshift camps.

A good summary should highlight the challenges encountered by The Grapes of Wrath characters and how they overcame them. It should also bring out the major The Grapes of Wrath themes and expound on them. Essentially, readers should feel like they have read The Grapes of Wrath full text after reading the summary.

The Grapes of Wrath Analysis

A good summary should provide an analysis of this book to enhance the comprehension of the readers. For instance, what does The Grapes of Wrath mean? What prompted the author to choose this title for the novel?

The Grapes of Wrath meaning lie in The Battle Hymn of the Republic. That’s where it was pulled from. Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1861. This was after visiting the Union army camp near Washington D.C on the Potomac River. This hymn ended up becoming the anthem that the abolitionist cause and Union soldiers sang during the American Civil War.

In this book, The Grapes of Wrath can be interpreted as the self-interest, greed, and selfish ways that he banks and landowners used to exploit immigrants leading to their suffering. But, The Grapes of Wrath ending can be described as remarkable. That’s because Reverend Casy and Tom reunite. Casy is murdered by the authorities while Tom kills a police officer.

The Grapes of Wrath Test Questions

When writing a summary of this novel, students should consider questions that readers might have in mind. Such questions include:

  • Why did The Grapes of Wrath win a Pulitzer Prize on May 6, 1940?
  • How has the author used suspense in The Grapes of Wrath?
  • Which are the most popular The Grapes of Wrath quotes (max 150 words)?
  • How has the author used different literary devices to convey his message?
  • Which are the major themes in this novel?

Such questions can help in writing a summary that conveys the main messages of the novel. Also, students can opt to write The Grapes of Wrath chapter summary. However, they should explain the role played by different characters, the setting, themes, and stylistic devices that the author uses in every chapter.

A summary of The Grapes of Wrath shouldn’t be difficult to write. All a student needs is to read, understand, and analyze the novel. They should depict their understanding of the novel and how the author uses different literary devices and characters to convey messages. You can also contact our English homework helpers 24/7. Students with difficulties getting the book in their local area can download The Grapes of Wrath PDF version online. That way, they can read and understand the book before writing the summary.

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