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The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

Study Help Essay Questions

1. What is the purpose of the intercalary chapters? (See essay on structure and refer to commentaries following each intercalary chapter.)

2. How does the economic decline of the Joad family correspond to the disintegration of their family?

3. Describe Tom's spiritual journey from inner, intuitive morality to an outward expression of morality that encompasses all of humanity.

4. Describe briefly the social and historical background in which The Grapes of Wrath was created. How did this affect the novel's public and critical reception? How has this reception changed as the historical events that shaped the novel have receded into the distant past?

5. Explain the symbolism of the turtle in Chapter 3.