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The Grapes Of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

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This paper seeks to give a comparison and examination of The Grapes of Wrath as a novel and its adaptation as a film. The Grapes of wrath (1940) is director John Ford’s most famous black and white classic drama – the classic adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1940 Pulitzer award-winning, widely read 1939 novel. This film is popular for its socialistic themes of pre-World War II Hollywood. Just like the novel, the film tells an account of the Joads, an Oklahoma family unit, who after losing their farm during the infamous Great depression in the 1930 decides to become migrant workers and relocate to California.

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On the other hand, The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck” \o “John Steinbeck”John Steinbeck. The film focuses on a poor family of the Joads, sent away from their HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma” \o “Oklahoma”Oklahoma residence by HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought” \o “Drought”drought, economic destitution, and changes in the crop growing industry. They decide to relocate to California alongside others refereed to as the Okies in search of better tidings and opportunities in their life. As he wrote this great novel that is frequently studied in American high schools and colleges he had the intent of getting at the people who he calls ravenous, who were responsible for the Great depression and the its effects (Steinbeck 1961). Due to this, the launching of the book led to a lot of support for the novel especially among people who regarded themselves as ordinary and majorly the working category. Therefore this project tries to outline the critical adaptation of the film into novel.

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The title of the film was taken from Battle Hymn of the Republic, by Julia Ward Howe. On the screen, the film pragmatically recreates the socio-economic blow of the Great Depression and a mid thirties famine upon one representative family – the Joads. Its theme of an oppressed people’s classic move to a new home is taken into equivalent with the Biblical story of Exodus. Their family name, Joad, is also equated to the Biblical character of Job (IMDB 1940).

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This project discusses the differences between the film and the novel, and includes a times past of Route sixty six. It points out that it was this novel that served to celebrate Route 66 in the American realization. Hundreds of thousands of citizens migrated to California to escape the despair of the Dust Bowl, thus Route sixty six is a symbol of the road to opportunity.

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It should be noted that, normally John ford’s screen play is usually astonishingly pragmatic to its Steinbeck’s source material. Not present in the novel or the play is a tacked-on finale in the film that confidently and sentimentally affirms the strength and human decorum of the person spirit. In the film, the predicament of the Joad family is universalized as a microcosm of the thousands of other tenant farmers during the country’s time of disaster, who suffered from repression imposed by the banks and big automatic farm interests. The dispossessed, migrant family’s departure from their gusty and sandy land, and their slow degeneration provides insight into the thousands of Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Panhandle, and W. Kansas families who were ejected and displaced from their farm lands, and required to search westward in the uncongenial Eden of California for jobs and endurance with thousands of other migrant workers.

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Themes are essential and repeatedly widespread ideas explored in literary work. One of the themes in the novel, The Grapes of wrath is Man’s Inhumanity to Man. It depicts Steinbeck consistently and woefully points to the fact that the migrants’ great suffering is caused not by bad weather or meager misfortune but by their fellow human beings. Historical, social, and economic conditions separate people into rich and poor, landowner and tenant, and the people in the central roles struggle ferociously to preserve their positions. In his brief history of California the element of portraying migrants suffering is also majorly depicted in the film. This is purposefully adapted by the producers of the movie in order to comfortably maintain the major theme.

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The film commences with a historical introduction. In the fundamental part of the United States of America lies a limited area called The Dust Bowl because of its lack of rain. Here drought and poverty combined to deprive many farmers of their land. This is the story of one farmer’s family, driven from their fields by natural disasters and economic changes beyond anyone’s control and their great journey in search of peace, security, and another home.

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Ford attempted to establish a sense of historical context by inserting two paragraphs of prose on the screen immediately following the opening credits. They stated that in the most central are of the United States is a certain place fondly called the dust bowl since it hardly receives rain. Because of this the tough experiences of drought famine and poverty combine to deny many farmers and farm owners the utility of their lands. Here drought and poverty combined to deprive many farmers from their land. This is an account of a particular family’s account that were forced out of their lands by natural causes, disasters and economic alterations that was beyond what they could manage to a very hard journey looking for harmony, safety and another abode.

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In its vivid description of a place called dust bowl, the prose serves to narrow the scope of the tragedy about to be witnessed to a detailed, isolated part of the nation. The simple past tense used in the final sentence of the first paragraph accentuates a feeling that this is all over by the time of the film. The second paragraph prepares us not for Steinbeck’s picture of failure on a national scale but for the story of one farmer’s family who are victims of changes past anyone’s control, and who will set out on a heart-breaking journey looking for tranquility, safety and another abode. 

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One can notice in these introductory lines of the film that the director’s attempted to vigilantly avoid affixing specific blame in this potentially controversial film. The possibility of social change wrought by violent conflict suggested in the novel will not even be hinted at. Another element that differentiates the novel is this aspect: The movie only focal point on the Joads, a migrant family from the HYPERLINK “http://www.ptsi.net/user/museum/dustbowl.html”Dust Bowl region, while the novel’s spotlight shifts from the Joads to the condition and circumstances of all the migrants who went to California in the 1930s.

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In the inter chapters of the novel the fortune of many migratory workforce is illustrated vividly. Furthermore, Steinbeck presents the reader with a comprehensive depiction of the historical setting of the 1930s: he describes the windy and dusty storms, the ejection of the farmers from their homes, the tractors who destroy their farms, Route 66, the major migrant road to California, the reception of the so called Okies in California. In these inter chapters Steinbeck is critical the way tenant farmers are cared for and the way authoritative, affluent people exploit the pitiable poor migrants.

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The novel inter chapters and the special focus on the novel and film showcases that, the film version barred many small episodes from the novel, among them episodes presenting unfair business activities. The objection about the unwarranted practices of used-car salesmen; the argument with the camp owner about overpricing; the portrayal of the company-store credit uproar, the deceitful scales on the fruit farms; and even the practice, an the part of an otherwise kind luncheon manager, of taking the jackpots from his slot equipment – none of these was ever proposed for the shooting screenplay.

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These episodes appear in chapters of the novel. Although elements of the inter chapters were ultimately included into the film, mainly in the few shots, the ultimate effect of such condensing was to spotlight entirely on the Joads rather than Steinbeck. Some inter chapters from the novel are taken into the film version and the characters are altered: the unspecified characters of the novel inter chapters turn into the Joads in the film. In a solitary scene in the one in the grocery store: in the novel an anonymous migrant asks for a loaf of bread while in the film Pa Joad asks for it (Sobchack 1979).

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Who is to be held responsible for the ruined earth in the infamous Great Depression? In the book it is clear that the Okies are to some degree responsible for the ruined terrain because they have used up the land, they have cottoned out the earth. This is one of the reasons why they have to move west, subsequently using the conventional path called route 66. Steinbeck made a factual statement in the novel that together the sharecroppers and the American system of land management are to be held accountable for the ruined earth. The film cautiously avoids blaming anyone in particular. By avoiding blaming anyone, the reminder of collective guilt is omitted

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In the novel Jim Casy, a former reverend, inquires the Joads if he can accompany them on their way to California. The Joad family unit discusses whether they ought to take him or not. As it turns out, there are wiles for and against taking Casy with them. Pa Joad is so worried that there won’t be enough room for somebody else because they are already twelve people. Ma is one of the family members who requests Casy to join them. She however notifies him that it is not for her to decide. There has to be a family council. During the family council, it turns out that Grandpa also wants Casy to travel with them to California. Pa Joad doubts that there might not be adequate space left for Casy. Again it is Ma Joad who defends Casy’s wish for joining them, and her word counts.

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In the film, Casy does not require to ask if he may accompany them. The Joad’s invite him to journey with them. It is actually Pa Joad, the one family member who had the most doubtful about taking Casy along in the novel, who asks Casy to join his family in the big screen version. A Contrast of Ma Joad’s ‘ We’re the people’ dialogue in the novel and in the movie is also shown. In the novels account, the situation about a poor man’s living is shown. When an infant is born there also is another man who dies. When he finds himself a farm to cultivate it’s taken away by the mighty. The woman’s place is the world is great since continuity is pre determined and continuous just like an unending river channel. The novel does not conclude with this dialogue. After Ma’s speech Rosasharn’s toddler is stillborn and the Joads have to take haven from the downpour in a barn.

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The rhetoric by ma in the film however talks about a different thing. It is a reconnaissance of the situation back then and how it had been. The situation of the migrants was so harsh and for quite sometime they thought that there was no one at all who cared about their needs. There are those people who are affluent, but they are born and eventually die. Their off springs do not show the ability to hold the family’s continuity and so everything else dies out. The speech by ma is one encouraging the migrants that actually with all this happenings it is them that continue to exist and their numbers cannot be defeated at any time.

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The movie split ends with this speech as Red River Valley hits up in the background. Zanuck himself decided to flex out and underscore the now-famous ‘We’re the people’ speech by Ma Joad by introducing its positive endurance message at the end of the film (Chambers 1940). The connotation of this final discussion are that there will always be rich and poor, aristocrats and peasants, but that the aristocrats will ascend, dispel themselves and vanish, while the peasants will keep slogging down a long, hard road.

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The film just like the novel is deemed to be double coined. It suggests the confidence of quest and delivery, and as a film of American agrarianism it faces the certainty of the loss of that dream. Though the novel’s depression and positivism have been eradicated in the film, they have been replaced with poor imagery of the harsh environment.

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Family member’s dissertation is also an element that has greatly been changed from the novel into the movie. It has been taken majorly as a form of classical adaptation from the novel to the movie. In the novel definite desertions within the family occur before or during the Homerville camp set while in the film all defections occur or are exposed after this scene. Noah merely departs from the film without any justification, while in the novel Tom tells Ma why Noah decided to leave.

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There are more instances of dissimilar endings in both the novel and movie adaptation. This distinction between novel and film lies in its diverse endings. While the novel ends with Rose of Sharon giving her breast to a ravenous stranger in a barn, a scene that has very often been condemned, and the film concludes with the Joads parting the security of the government site, but in the tendency of an cheerfulness all the way. The movie finally ends with Ma’s famous ‘We’re the people’ speech. Thus the movie ends exclusive of the disparaging flood, without the figurative still birth, and without the ending gesticulation of widespread love. The audience leaves this movie stirred and reassured, but not, as Steinbeck must have wanted, provoked.

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The sense of approaching adjustment, massive change, which enlarges towards the conclusion of Steinbeck’s novel, simply can not be established in the film. The novel’s organization shows the Joads faced by larger injustices and mistreatment. In the novel, the Joads are forced to leave the government camp where they have had security and admiration for the first time on their passage. From the settled camp they go to the fruit farms of the strike-bound Hooper Ranch. There, Casy is killed, Tom kills Casy’s murderer, and the family takes off to the box car camp where they will make their efforts for survival. Conditions for the migrants go from bad to worse.

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The notable setback in the film of the novel’s Government Camp and Peach Ranch order is the screenwriter’s attempts to make the Joad’s communalism more provoked and more progressive. In the film account, the Joads are taken from the hell of the peach ranch (called Keene Ranch in the movie) to the rustic shelter of the Weedpatch Camp. In the movie, the camp manager is a virtuous individual with a resolute likeness to a beardless Santa Claus. The Grapes of Wrath as a novel argues that in order to survive religiously man must consign himself to other humans and his surroundings, whereas the film version focuses on the contemporary figure of the introverted individual who will make things right.

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References

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Chambers, W. (1940). Cinema: The New Pictures. Retrieved October 30, 2010, fromhttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,884004,00.html

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Internet Movie Database. (1940). The Grapes of Wrath. Retrieved October 30, 2010, fromhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032551/

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Sobchack, V. (1979). The Grapes of Wrath (1940): Thematic Emphasis Through Visual Style.American Quarterly. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 31(5), 596-615.

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Steinbeck, J. (1961). The Grapes of Wrath. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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