The Grapes of Wrath VS The Great Gatsby Reflective Essay

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The Grapes of Wrath VS The Great Gatsby Reflective Essay Powered By Docstoc
					Jeremy Quick
January 22, 2011
4th Honors English 12

                        Reflective Essay- The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby

          “The American Dream”. This statement probably means a lot of things to many different people.

In this context, it means the social class of an individual and/or family in America. Upper, middle and

lower class are the different social divisions people are usually “placed” in. A person’s place on the

social-wealth spectrum can define things in his or her life that can change it forever. It can define where

you go to school, what kind of house you live in, and how your family is taken care of. A lot of books

were written in the past that reflect the idea of social class and how it affects the American Dream,

novels such as The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby.

          John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath to reflect on the American Dream of social class and

how the Great Depression butchered it for Tom Joad and his family. The Joad’s, a regular farming family

that lived in the panhandle of Oklahoma were subject to catastrophes that the early 30’s brought upon

the American population. Southeastern Colorado, Southwest Kansas, and the panhandles of Oklahoma

and Texas were known as “the dust bowl”; they were subject to violent dust storms that covered the

entire area in sand, dust and debris. “’She was a good well,’ he said. ‘I can’t hear water.’ He seemed

reluctant to go to the house. He dropped clod after clod down the well.” (Steinbeck, pg. 41) This quote

shows the damage the dust storm did and signifies the major decline of the American Dream for the


          Personally, I believe the American Dream has a lot to do with geographic location. People in the

South have very different values and/or morals compared to someone living in the North. I feel that I

have different values living in Mt. Pleasant compared to someone who lives in Shepherd. Living in Mt.

Pleasant, there are different resources and different things to do; while in Shepherd, there aren’t as
Jeremy Quick
January 22, 2011
4th Honors English 12

many things to do. Relating back to the book, people living in the panhandles had different values than

people living in California. At the time, California was prospering with jobs, people, and excitement.

That’s why, toward the middle of the book, the Joad’s begin their voyage to California to look for jobs,

which would create money and ultimately lead to a better American Dream for their family.

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