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Family - 1

  • Date Submitted: 12/16/2012 11:19 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.6 
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Although reservedly defined, the concept of family fully encompasses John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Water quenches thirst, air replenishes the lungs, and shelter protects the body. Each called upon as a lifeline for survival, family serves to be just as important of a salvation within Steinbeck’s classic piece of literature.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a family is, “a group of persons related by blood or marriage,” a definition of narrow parameters (Morris 304). Generally, the idea of family unites one’s parents, siblings, spouse, children, and often extended relatives, but rarely reaches the embodying term which includes those not of the same bloodline or by marriage. Translating the concept differently, family is also defined as, “the members of one household,” or, “a group of like things,” by The American Heritage Dictionary (Morris 304). In the terms of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, family portrays a support system more than a small cluster of relatives. In conjunction with this perspective, the concept of family is defined by individual perceptions of the idea rather than what family is not.
The Grapes of Wrath is a tale of a family. It is a tale of a family, among many other families; yet, that holds minute importance. As first depicted by Steinbeck, Tom Joad is returning to McKibben 2
his family. Not simply is he returning to his parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives,   he is returning to a support system, despite that, “[he] killed a guy,” (Steinbeck 13). Sure, The American Heritage Dictionary’s definition of a family that “persons related by blood or marriage,” mirrors the Joads, but that is not the novel’s prominent definition of family (Morris 304). Family serves as the “function,” of each individual together, related or not. Family is the function of “Pa [getting] up and a [lighting] another lantern. Noah…[bringing] out the bow-bladed butchering knife and [whetting] it on a worn little...


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