IRP: Grapes of Wrath

Ryan Wallace Period 3

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Similarities and differences between the novel and film:

Differences: In, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck the first part of the film follows the book mostly accurately. While, the second half and the ending of the movie are quite different from the book. The producers and writers of the film decided to change the order of the book around to make a happy setting where the Joad family will end up in a camp that is well take care of and is decent to live in. However, in the ending of the book it tells of the despairs the family faces and how sadly the Joad family ends splitting up. Also, due to the highly controversial ending of the novel it was not included due to the graphic nature of Rosharn the pregnant daughter of Ma and Pa Joad is still able to lactate and feeds a dying man with her breast. The film seems to be much more hopeful, than the novel which is actually kind of depressing.
Also mentioned heavily throughout the novel Steinbeck uses political references and are cut from the film due to the Red Scare which caused many directors uneasy to include them. Also, the novel focuses more heavily on the people and the land the people lose from the tractors that push them off their land. Whereas, the film focuses more on the Joads than anybody else.

Similarities: In the novel and the film they both use vivid imagery to describe/picture the events that the Joads face. Obviously the similarities are mainly shown in the novel but the minut details are glossed over quickly, while in the novel one detail could take at least thrity pages like the death of Grandpa Joad.

Why might the director have approached the film the way he did? Is it for the betterment of the work?

During the time of the filming of the Grapes of Wrath the director, John Ford, might have approached the film the way he did becuase even though Grapes of Wrath was a massive success Ford wanted to depict a story that was at least happy and the American public could relate to. The novel was one of the best sellers of the time due to the nature of the story relating to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Also, when Ford was making the film he had to make sure to tone down the political references that were heavy throughout the novel. John Ford did all this for the betterment of the work of the film because he viewed that even though the novel was great in his own words it wasn't entirely appropriate to follow every detail during the 1940's especially since the the ending of the novel was quite graphic and would have outraged the public if filmed.

Consider critical acclaim for both the novel and the film. How do outside sources feel about each individually? Both?

The widely commercial success of the movie version gained critical acclaim for the caliber of the acting that was achieved in the film. It has often been criticized for not truly following the original book. But due to the time the film was filmed it made it difficult to fully tell the real story due to the Red Scare and other problems that were affecting Hollywood at the time of the filming. Also, the American public wanted something that was more joyous and to have a happy ending but compared to the book, where it ended with the Joads fighting for their lives after the severe flooding forces them to leave their trailer they have been living in.


When, The Grapes of Wrath was first published to the public it was often praised for the insight into the lives of the farm workers, known as the Okies, and criticized for the pro Communist beliefs that are believed to be written by Steinbeck in the novel. Ultimately, just what The Jungle did for inhumane working conditions of poor immigrants and unfair wages, Steinbeck portrayed the unfair treatment and conditions of the farmworkers in California.

Themes

A major theme in The Grapes of Wrath is the survival of family. The Joads do whatever it takes to keep their family together during their tough and rigorous journey to California that is often met with many problems from death to finally finding a camp that was actually treating them right instead of inhumanely. Religion is also a theme in the novel/film because the Joads always have faith in the upper power even though as you turn the page you always have to expect something tragic is going to happen to the poor Joads.

Works Cited

The Grapes of Wrath. Dir. John Ford. Prod. Darryl F. Zanuck and Nunally Johnson. Screenplay by Nunally Johnson. Perf. Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Shirley Mills, John Qualen, Eddie Quilan. Twentieth Century-Fox, 1940.


Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 1997. Print.