The Grapes of Wrath

Chapters twenty one and twenty-five in Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” can both be considered to be intercalary chapters which stop the story to give insight on what’s going on in history at the time the book is taking place. Both of these chapters share many of the same qualities but still maintain different points of view.

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These chapters do share much in common, for example they both express feelings of anger and helplessness. Both of these chapters explain the hardships of moving to California in search of jobs that were not there. As it says in chapter 21 “And the roads were crowded with men ravenous for work, murderous for work.” Streams of people lined the streets in search of jobs all in search of the same thing, a life where they can live in peace. As the masses continue west in search of fertile land, hunger and desperation begin to change them into angry mobs, which are helpless of their situation. Another similarity was that in both chapters the people are always dealing with an evil corporation. Most of the time, the large landowners and banks that put the little person out on the street represent the evil corporations. Both chapters extend on the greed and selfishness of the large corporations that take advantage of the hundreds of incoming workers and put the little man out of business. Another similarity found in chapter’s twenty-one and twenty-five is the emotional distress displayed in both chapters. Many people do not know the hardships people faced in the west and the corruption that existed there. Such as in chapter 25 “Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out.” The wealthy people had so much control on the prices of goods the poor farmers could not do much but to accept the polices of the rich man..

Unlike chapter 21, chapter 25 seems to have a lighter mood. The chapter begins by describing the beautiful spring coming to the farms in the California valley. Most of the chapter is the rebirth of the spring plants and all the new foliage coming to life in the valley. The hard work of the farmers has brought to life the plentiful harvest of these plants as the farmers struggle to improve on their crop. Chapter twenty-one on the other hand takes a more melancholy look on historical background of the migrants who moved to California. These people are changing as they move when hunger turns into anger. While chapter twenty-one seems to be dreary and depressing, chapter twenty-five seems to be cheerful and uplifting. Another difference between the chapters is the focus of each of them. In chapter twenty one the main focus is to describe the moving westward of the settlers and the pain they endure as they are unable to find jobs. Though they are scattered throughout California without jobs and on the filled with despair they still remain untied as one. Chapter twenty-five’s focuses mainly on the struggle between the large landowners and the small farmers. The small farmers are losing their land and, in turn their money while. To worsen the situation the wealthy farmers own the canneries and the other farmers cannot compete. The final difference between the two chapters is the point of view. Chapter twenty-one is mostly told from the point of view of the large farmer while chapter twenty-five is told from the small farmer. The small farmer in chapter twenty-one describes their scenery as they enter a new state with little money and high aspirations. It goes on to describe the tremendous struggle the farmers had to endure and had to compete with the large landowners for a little food. While on the other hand chapter twenty-five tells the struggle of the large farmers as they had to deal with making money but all the while taking advantage of the poor migrants. Forcing them to awful conditions and for little wage and while doing so refusing to let them pick the fruit for their families.

As you can see chapters twenty-one and twenty-five in Steinbecks “The Grapes of Wrath” have much in common but differ in many ways also. These contrasting chapters keep the story interesting while giving information about that time in history.

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