Achievable Idealisms According to John Steinbeck
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  • 1. Achievable Idealisms Page 1 of 3Achievable Idealisms According to John Steinbeck Lindsey Purves March 16, 2012 Mr. Kabachia Humanities 30
  • 2. Achievable Idealisms Page 2 of 3 The theme of Idealism versus Truth is a common one that shows up in many texts,The Grapes of Wrath included. In this classic, written by John Steinbeck, we are introducedto many individuals who hold idealisms in their hearts and minds as they travel toCalifornia from their taken-over homes. Rose of Sharon is a soon-to-be mother who wishesto live in the perfect home with the perfect husband. Jim Casy wishes to unite the“migrants” to achieve a better life for them in California. Truth about life may stop an idealdead in its tracks if those who hold these idealisms do not think reasonably and don’t doanything to bring their ideals to life. Throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck describes the ideals everyone has asthey move to “beautiful” California. Every one of the “migrant” people wants to live a happylife somewhere where they are treated with respect, not like creatures lower even thanhorses. The sad truth of it all is that this is not the case in California. The inhabitants ofCalifornia see the foreigners to their land as a threat to their way of life and so they useforce through their police forces to beat the people down, often times literally, and in turndestroying the ideals of the humble people from the eastern states. The ideals of the Californians are not so different than those held by Rose of SharonJoad. Rose of Sharon wishes to live in a fancy house with her husband to support andprovide everything her and her child want. The problem with this ideal life is that Rose ofSharon is depending on Connie, her husband, to study how to repair radios and get a job inthe city so that he can buy her all of these things. Connie is only dreaming of doing all thesethings and never actually makes a move to start studying, ending up leaving his wife andunborn child to go off on his own. Rose of Sharon is so set on achieving her perfect life that
  • 3. Achievable Idealisms Page 3 of 3not even her husband abandoning her can sway her thoughts on the matter and it takes thedeath of her infant, months later, to finally snap her out of her state of mind and realize thetruth: she will never have this picture-perfect life, not unless she does something about itherself and even then may never reach her goal. In comparison to Rose of Sharon, the former preacher Jim Casy, has much morereasonable ideals. Jim Casy had the idea that if all the “migrant” people banded togetherand did something together as a group to change their lives in California, they could all livea happy life. Casy started small by gathering a group of men working at a peach farm toprotest the drop in wages. The protest group was able to temporarily bring the wages backup to five cents/box of peaches picked, just enough to keep the pickers alive. UnfortunatelyCasy soon died from a blow to the head and was unable to reach his goal of uniting the“migrant” people together.He was able to pass along his message of strength in numbers toTom Joad though. Tom later then went on to continue what Jim Casy had started, and in away Casy was able to accomplish his idealism. “An’ I been wonderin’ if all our folks gottogether an’ yelled, like them fellas yelled, only a few of ‘em at the Hooper ranch…” (pg. 571of The Grapes of Wrath) Steinbeck portrays Casy’s ideals as being more reasonable through his action,compared to Rose of Sharon’s inaction. He holds more faith in idealisms that are withinreason and that are actually trying to be carried out by an individual.