Marxism in the Grapes of Wrath bye John Steinbeck

Topics: Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism Pages: 3 (1151 words) Published: March 5, 2005
Capitalism was chosen as the best economic system when the founding fathers were trying to determine the future of America. A capitalist is someone who owns a production system and who gains money through misusing the effort of workers. Through capitalist economic relations, socialistic ideas are broken down to bias earnings of an individual. Through creating such divisions as the upper, middle, and lower class, the theory of Marxism analyzes what ways capitalism can be used against the people. In the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck confronts this ideal and reveals what he believes regarding this subject. The Marxist theory of criticism examines the economic and governmental system that Steinbeck uses throughout the novel and reveals that Steinbeck does indeed believe that capitalism is naturally flawed.

Steinbeck starts his grand confrontation with capitalism, by creating the feeling that there are two classes with a third stuck somewhere between. In the start of the novel, Tom Joad wants to hitch a ride with a driver who has a "No Riders" sticker on the truck. Tom make the driver become tied and twisted in his emotions and moral feelings when saying, "sometimes a guy'll be a good guy even if some rich bastard makes him carry a sticker...the driver considered the parts of this answer. If he refused now, not only was he not a good guy, but he was forced to carry a sticker, was not allowed to have company" (7). The driver is forced to believe that in order to be a "good guy," he must put aside pride and help out a fellow man. Tom tries to make the driver realize that a man does not need to work for "some rich bastard" to be a decent person. It is also interesting to note that Steinbeck sees that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". He shows that those who have higher authority tend to take advantage of others for their own selfish desires. One character of the intercalary chapters notes that the greed of the upper class dominates society and...
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