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The Grapes of Wrath Allusion-Oversoul


The Philosophical Joads
Steinbeck and Nature's Self
Moral and Anagogical
Literary elements
Often times, vocabulary of a novel contains a deeper meaning then first conveyed in our minds as readers. Therefore we must look into possible religious meaning, historical references and even allusions to understand the author's message.

  • Instinct welds the group to a unit, and the contempt, fear and hostility encountered by searching for work and food reinforce the bonds of group solidarity by fermenting anger and uniting them. This is the basis for the shift in the Grapes Of Wrath from farmer to migrant and from the "I" to "We" which demonstrates the emphasis on the Oversoul as it is expressed through individuality combined with group effort in working together.
  • There is a display of growth of group consciousness controlled most evidently by Ma Joad who feels responsible for maintaining the family together. Yet not all members of the Joad Family obide by this style of living for example, Granpa resistance to leave overpowers the instinct to survive as a family, and Noah's struggle with the journey controls his comfort and in effect he decides to leave the family.
  • The emphasis on the holy spirit is evident throughout the Grapes of Wrath and can be seen in Jim Casy's quote "Maybe its all men and women we love, maybe thats the Holy Sperit- the human spirit- maybe all men have one big soul everybody's part of.." (Steinbeck 33)
  • Manself relates even further to the allusion of the Oversoul as it describes the individual's goal towards reaching the oversoul. Steinbeck writes "For man, unlike any other thing in the universe, grows beyond his work..fear the time when Manself will not suffer for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, distinctive in the universe."(Steinbeck 204-205)