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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

  1. B
  2. C
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B
  6. C
  7. A
  8. A
  9. C
  10. A

11. You have plenty of options on this question because you can define a hero in several ways. Is a hero someone who lives according to a set of beliefs, maybe even dies for his principles? If so, then Casy would have to be your choice.

If you say a hero must be a tower of strength and protector of the weak, use Ma.

Tom qualifies if you think that his effort to change others as well as his willingness to change himself gives him heroic stature.

But if a hero must possess the quality normally associated with "heroism"- i.e., bulldog courage- all three would do. It takes courage to go on and on like Ma. Tom bravely defends Floyd and takes up Casy's cause in spite of the danger to himself. Casy sacrifices himself, first for Tom and then for the strikers.

12. Crises sometimes bring people together. But not the Joads. Their crisis was too deep and went on too long to keep the group closely knit.

Dissolution starts almost immediately after the Joads get on the road. Death claims Grampa and then Granma. Breaking their ties to the land and to each other almost guarantees the old couple's demise. They can't be expected to adapt to the Joads' new way of life.

Lack of will sends Noah down the river, and Connie gives in to fear. Both lacked the backbone of the rest of the family.

Casy leaves for jail in order to save Tom. Later, Tom leaves to save himself. Neither really had a choice. Casy sacrificed himself because he needed to find purpose in life, as well as to demonstrate his love of people. Tom went away so he wouldn't be taken away.

Al's departure has nothing to do with courage or cowardice. He simply wanted to get married.

13. What is love, anyway? Casy would probably say that you can't define it, but you certainly can demonstrate it. He shows his love for people by doing things for them. His expressions of love almost always involve some self-sacrifice. It could be a relatively minor deed, as when he allows Granma to talk him into saying grace. Praying makes him feel like a hypocrite, but he'll do it for Granma.

Leading the strike at Hooper Ranch is an act of love, too. He ignores the perils of organizing workers because he knows that a successful strike will change the people's lives.

In a sense, kicking the kneeling deputy in the back of the neck was a loving act, too, since its purpose was to save Floyd from being shot. Finally, what else but love could have led Casy to let himself, instead of Tom, be arrested?

Near the beginning of the story, Casy claims to love mankind, but he doesn't know how to show it. Ma Joad teaches him, however. Think of what Casy says after he hears that Ma cradled Granma's body all through the nightlong ride across the desert.

14. The most obvious family in the novel is the Joads, all three generations of them, from Grampa to Winfield. The book tells the story of their flight from the Dust Bowl and their experiences in California. Their disintegration as a traditional family suggests what is happening to the whole society.

Then, you have the "Joads plus," consisting of the core family and others. Casy is adopted as a member. The Wilsons and Wainwrights become temporary partners. When families join with others, their chances of survival multiply. In that sense, the labor union is a type of family, too.

Ma Joad attains an even larger vision of "family." It includes "anybody." It is family unity and strength imparted to the whole human race, and is dramatically symbolized by Rose of Sharon's nursing of the dying stranger.

15. Failure is a slippery word. If all your efforts to achieve a goal come to absolutely nothing, is that failure? If you strive to reach a goal but end up with something different but equally worthy, is that failure? What if you end up with something better? You missed your goal, but did you fail? Answer such questions before you decide whether Ma Joad was a failure.

Another way to tackle this question is to ask whether Ma's dissolving family ever had a real chance to remain intact. Consider the roving of the migrants. Does instability breed more instability? Is there anything else that Ma could have done to keep the Joads together? If so, perhaps she did fail. If she did all that could be done, perhaps you'd have to draw another conclusion.

Finally, what does Ma herself think about losing her immediate family? At the end of the book she talks about "anybody" being part of the family. Would someone who thinks she's failed with a few people turn around and enfold all of Mankind in her arms?



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© Copyright 1985 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc. Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
Further distribution without the written consent of is prohibited.


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