Posts Tagged ‘the grapes of wrath’

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“The family looked at Ma with a little terror at her strength.”

November 25, 2008

My relationship with with this book started out as an apprehensive glance at the thickness of the book, at the size of its tiny, almost non-existent margins. Then we read the first two chapters in class and I was engrossed in the language and vivid imagery it brought to my mind. The dust covering absolutely everything, the angry men, the bare feet, toes with thick nails drawing in the dust, the red sunlight.
I tried to stay with this attitude, but then it got too long and repetitive, their accents started to annoy me. I missed seeing g’s at the end of verbs and d’s at the end of the word “and”.
I finished it off with determination though, despite an inkling of annoyance at all the characters and even kept a notecard of my favorite passages. The one thing I liked throughout was his paragraph or more long descriptions of people. Every detail in the face beautifully described. Every time a new character came up, even if they appeared for just one scene, they got a full description, and I could really see them in my head.
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Excerpt #6:
Joad had moved into the imperfect shade of the molting leaves before the man heard him coming, stopped his song, and turned his head. It was a long head, bony, tight of skin, and set on a neck as stringy and muscular as a celery stalk. His eyeballs were heavy and protruding; the lids stretched to cover them, and the lids were raw and red. His cheeks were brown and shiny and hairless and his mouth full – humorous or sensual. The nose, beaked and hard, stretched the skin so tightly that the bridge showed white. There was o perspiration on the face, not even on the tall pale forehead. It was an abnormally high forehead, lined with delicate blue veins at the temples. Fully half of the face was above the eyes. is stiff gray hair was mussed back from his brow as though he had combed it back with his fingers. For clothes he wore overalls and a blue shirt. A denim coat with brass buttons and a spotted brown hat creased like a pork pie lay on the ground beside him. Canvas sneakers, gray with dust, lay near by where they had fallen when they were kicked off.
The man looked long at Joad. The light seemed to go far into his brown eyes, and it picked out little golden specks deep in the irises. The strained bundle of neck muscles stood out. (19)

Excerpt #7:
The film of evening light made the red earth lucent, so that its dimensions were deepened, so that a stone, a post, a building had great depth and more solidity than in the daytime light; and these objects were curiously more individual – a post was more essentially a post, set off from the earth it stood in and the field of corn it stood out against. And plants were individuals, not the mass of crop; and the ragged willow tree was itself, standing free of all other willow trees. The earth contributed a light to the evening. The front of the gray, paintless house, facing the west, was luminous as he moon is. The gray dusty truck, in the yard before he door, stood out magically in this light, in the overdrawn perspective of a stereopticon.
The people too were changed in the evening, quited. They seemed to be a part of an organization of the unconscious. They obeyed impulses which registered only faintly in their thinking minds. Their eyes were inward and quiet, and their eyes, too, were lucent in the evening, lucent in dusty faces. (99)

Excerpt #8:
The company’s store was a large shed of corrugated iron. It had no display window. Ma opened the screen door and went in. A tiny man stood behind the counter. He was completely bald, and his head was blue-white. Large, brow eyebrows covered his eyes in such a high arch that his face seemed surprised and a little frightened. His nose was long and thin, and curved like a bird’s beak, and his nostrils were blocked with light brown hair. Over the sleeves of his blue shirt he wore black sateen sleeve protectors. He was leaning on his elbows on the counter when Ma entered. (373)
-The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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