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Word Count: 786
One would say that on a literal level The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is about the Joad familys journey to California during The Dust Bowl However it is also about the unity of a family and the concept of birth and death both literal and abstract Along with this the idea of a family unit is explored through these births and deaths As can be seen in The Grapes of Wrath the Joads are a very tight-knit family Yet on their trip to California they experience many losses and additions to their family In general Steinbecks novel abides by the circle of life When a birth occurs a death follows and when a death occurs a birth follows However in The Grapes of Wrath the number of deaths outweighs the number of births as a way to show the negative impacts of The Dust Bowl The first birth in the novel occurs in Chapter Eight when Tom Joad returns from jail to his family Prior to Toms homecoming Ma Joad had been deeply concerned about making the journey to California without him because she did not want the family to break up before the start of their journey even occurred The idea of Tom Joad returning at this point is considered a birth because the Joad family is now complete This starts the novel giving the reader a better sense of the closeness of the Joad familyIn addition the first reference to death occurs in Chapter Ten Grampa decides that he does not want to leave his land and go out west This heres my country I blong hereI aint a-goin This country aint no good but its my country 152 Once again as to not split up the family Ma Joad drugs Grampa in order for the family to place him on the truck without his knowing This drugging is a symbol for not only the death or loss of the Joads
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