Character Analysis

Garrett White - Mr. Barriere - English 11A C - 13 Jan. 2016

Rose of Sharon - The Grapes of Wrath

Rose of Sharon developed and changed greatly throughout The Grapes of Wrath. Her maturity and experiences throughout the novel show an exceptional amount of development and symbolism in her character.

Rose of Sharon - Beginning Chapters

Rose of Sharon was introduced to the reader in the beginning chapters of the novel. Pregnant and with companion of her immature husband, Connie, she is shown as a very self-centered character. The entire trip to California consists of incessant complaining of the part of Rose of Sharon, which reinforces the view of her as self-absorbed and not practical.

Character Evolution once in California

Rose of Sharon continued with her immaturity once the Joad family reached California. "Me an' Connie don't want to live in the country no more. We got it all planned out what we wanna do..." (Steinbeck 188) Rose of Sharon thinks about the comfort and desires of only herself and her husband when the family reaches California. She does not take into account the rest of her family, what is in the best interests of the greater cause, rather what is in the best interests for herself and her husband.

Character Development After Events in California

Rose of Sharon began realizing the flaws of her character when events began occurring in California that she had not expected beforehand. Connie left her, which came as a shock to her. This was when her eyes were opened to some of the ignorance of her recent past. However, her over concern with her pregnancy becomes annoying to those around her. As confronted by a a woman in the camp about her child's spiritual state in regards to dancing, "I tell ya, ya eternal soul ain't got a chancet in this here camp." (Steinbeck 320). Her character develops an obsession of sorts with keeping her child safe, and it extends to questioning every action as if it would be of harm to her unborn child.

Character Position at the End of The Novel

Rose of Sharon displays quite a character change in towards the end of the novel. She delivers a stillborn baby. Although the reader might expect a more self-absorbed reaction to this, Rose of Sharon focuses more on the needs of the family than herself. After the family meets the dying, starved man at the barn in Chapter 30, Rose of Sharon suckles him. "Ma's eyes passed Rose of Sharon's eyes, and then came back to them. And the two women looked deep into each other. The girl's breath came short and gasping. She said 'Yes." (Steinbeck 454). This selfless act shows the reader an allusion to the Virgin Mary holding Christ after crucifixion, the way Rose of Sharon holds the man. Rose of Sharon develops into a character that performs selfless acts that show her development overall as a character.

overview of rose of sharon's character devolopment

From Oklahoma, Rose of Sharon was a self-absorbed young woman. She would constantly be concerned with her own self interests rather than those of her family. However, throughout the evolution of her character, she begins to grow as a person and look out for the general welfare of her family, and humanity, instead. In Chapter 31, her use of her breast milk, which would be of no use to her dead child, she willingly sacrifices to the dying man. This shows her concern for humanity. Growth, team-work, and concern for others are base values that The Grapes of Wrath is based on, that is embodied into Rose of Sharon.