The Change of Faith in The Grapes of Wrath Problems are inevitable in life, and a great deal can deter people from their natural hopes and traditional faith. The depression that the Goads go through creates questions about beliefs and religion, and shows how it truly affects their lives. Steinbeck communicates how it is difficult to maintain a strong sense of faith through continual hardships without renewing traditional beliefs in The Grapes of Wrath. The transformation of the migrants’ faith in the novel is expressed through biblical allusions.
When the Goads are forced to leave behind their traditional lifestyle and begin a difficult Journey, they start to question their faith in a higher power. Reverend Jim Cays, a ride-along with the loads, is expected to be an image of Jesus Christ. He searches for something different in the novel, creating Christian allusions in The Grapes of Wrath. As Cracker writes, “Cays search[sees] for faith with hints such as his repeated statement that he has ‘been a-going’ into the wilderness like Jesus to try to find out Simpson'”(342).
Cays begins to dismiss the traditional religion and earaches to find something new that may be able to solve the migrants’ problems, as well as his own. Cays conveys the newfound fact that many people have lost their faith, including himself, “[t]he spirit anti in the people much no more; and worsen that, the spirit anti in me no more” (Steinbeck 20). This conversion of religion shows that Steinbeck meaner for his ideas to create an evolution. The traditional form of faith and church is no longer available in the new lives and adversity of the loads’ journey.
Ma Goad is another member of the Goads’ Journey that begins to question re faith. Steinbeck creates the image of Ma Goad with the Christian values she holds, and the biblical attributes she has; she is someone that can withstand all difficulties and forgive anyone. As members of her family begin to deviate from the group, she starts to question whether the Journey was worth the loss. Ma struggles to keep her family together throughout their perilous Journey because her faith is in the survival of her family, “[t]o her, the family itself is the only stable value left in a changing world” (Cubby 314).
Ma Goad seems to realize that the California dream ay be too good to be true, even before they arrive. She tells Tom her doubts as they leave their old home, “I’m scared of stuff so nice. I anti got faith. I’m scared someone anti so nice about it” (Steinbeck 91). In the beginning of the novel, Ma Goad is a strong woman. She seems to be the most imperative throughout the novel, and she stays strong unto the end. Her strength changes from the old faith that had taken her through their previous life, to the new, demanding strength of a role model in her family.
As Goldstein writes, “[a]s a symbol, Ma is the optimistic pioneer woman paving west with her family to find a better life” (156). Ma Goad believes that faith is necessary to continue on in their Journey. These biblical allusions are used throughout the text, often generating themes in the interchanges. Steinbeck includes various literary devices in The Grapes of Wrath to convey his message of ever- changing beliefs, including interchanges. He uses an interesting technique in his interchanges, forming major ideas and themes through normal events in life that are reoccurring changes, one of them being the fable in chapter three.
Steinbeck includes a story about one day in a turtle’s life, and the troubles that it faces while traveling. The turtle is hit by a traveling car and is thrown to the side of the road, but it continues to rise back up and struggle on, “[t]he old humorous eyes looked ahead… ” (Steinbeck 16). The traveling turtle symbolizes how life goes on, through all of the uncontrollable hardships that everyone faces. The Goads are similar to “the land turtle,” as they are both “carrying life to the Southwest” in search for a better life or something new (Brown 49).
The interchanges in The Grapes of Wrath also tell the reader about the events of the depression, outside of the Goads’ lives. Each interchanger forms a picture of the proceedings of the migrants’ new world, creating pathos of the reader. Steinbeck considers how migrants would be able to keep their faith, as they are bombarded with troubles and problems, “[t]he people in flight from the terror behind-strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refined forever” (Steinbeck 122). Belief cannot grow without rills, and reliable faith is made by having it falter.
But how can the migrants and the Goads withstand the trials of the depression in The Grapes of Wrath to continue on to endure their new lives? When there are times of hardship, people can often forget the courage that they need to continue on with life, to survive and continue fighting. Steinbeck shows how the migrants must have undying faith to be able to overcome their troubles and build a new future. The migrants need to create new beliefs to withstand and overcome their excessive problems of their contemporary fife. Works Cited Brown, Joyce Compton. Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath. ” Explicator Volvo. 41. Issue 4 49 Obscenest 5 October 2012 http://info. Org Cracker, Ken. “Exodus Inverted. ” Religion and the Arts Volvo. 13. Issue 3 (2009): 340- 357 Obscenest 5 October 2012 http://info. Org Goldstein, Mimi Riesel. “indestructible Women in The Grapes of Wrath. ” Readings on The Grapes of Wrath. Gary Winner Deed. Literary Companion Series. San Diego: Greengages Press, 1999. 156-164. Cubby, Ian. “John Steinbeck. ” 50 American Novels. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1979. Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.