Depiction Of The Great Depression in Cinderella Man And The Grapes of Wrath
In the 1930s, America faced a huge economic downfall, where millions of people ended up losing everything. During that time period, an overwhelming majority of the American people started doubting the reality and legitimacy of the American dream. Even some of the richest people lost everything and became dirt poor due to the depression. A common though flowed through the country, that the term rags to riches is reversed and became riches to rags, leading to a disbelief in the American dream. Such an idea clearly appeared in the Cinderella Man movie and the Grapes of Wrath chapter. The two sources mentioned, saw and felt everything that the economic depression had to offer. People began to interpret the dream in various forms. For some the American dream became just a regular fantasy, for others the idea of the American dream became the light in the end of the tunnel. Both the Cinderella Man and the Grapes of Wrath plots demonstrate difficulties during the great depression that the people faced but each story line depicts a ton of an absolutely unique series of events and alternations that the characters had to encounter.
In Cinderella Man and in The Grapes of Wrath, main characters face similar drastic inconveniences regarding the reality of the American dream and other equally important situations. As people attempted to clench on to the rags to riches idea during the great depression, continues trend of constant losses followed every U.S. inhabitant. After the economic crisis arrived, people started losing houses in an unimaginable pace, “an entire family with two kids had to migrate to a small basement room with extremely cheap living conditions”. (Ron Howard) Thereafter, losing a huge house with prosperous lifestyle and transitioning to a pathetically cheap location, is one of the most severe life changing event in a person’s lifetime. The reality struck in an accelerated manner, when Jim realized that an insufficient money was remaining to support his kids. Also, during the finical misfortunes Americans lost housing capital due to other people, “The iron guard bit into the house-corner, crumbled the wall, and wrenched the little house from its foundation so that it fell.”(Steinbeck 38-39) Therefore, the poor farmer family lost the house, as a result of fellow Americans trying to keep their jobs. The destruction of property really played a role in the views of the tenant. The reverse term riches to rags became clearly visible to the poor man, due to the fact that a transition from having a house to having nothing occurred, Both the farmer and the famous boxer lost everything and considered the American dream to be just a fantasy at that horrifying moment. Overall losing a house and all the positions is terrifying but maintaining and adopting new values during hardships is crucial as well.
The characters developed some very unique values that usually tend to be hidden. A great deal of persistence was demonstrated by Jim, when the financial situation became unbearable, “After being a glorious boxer, Jim had to go work at the docks with a broken arm for an insufficient salary.”(Ron Howard) Thus, Jim attempted to beat all odds and feed his family and try to restore the foundation for his shaken up American dream. The occupation at the docks proved an extremely difficult challenge due to fractures in Jim’s right arm, and a lot of work was done by an untrained left. Even thought, the world appeared lightless, the boxer remained true to his family and ideals because that was literally almost all that was left after the economic depression. Furthermore, a lack of giving up was shown by the tenant, “Maybe we got to fight to keep our land like Pa and Grandpa did.”(Steinbeck 34) As a result, the farmer is prepared to pursue his specified values and keep the land, in his case the American dream away from the bank. The monster owned the land but the tenant considered the spot to be home because his relatives occupied the land even before his own family. The two characters chare the urge to protect the things that are valuable to them and to also preserve their American dream in the face if their families. Bothe the movie and the book share many unique aspects, but contrasting elements are also present between the two.
The financial position of the characters in Cinderella Man and The Grapes of Wrath differ significantly in the beginning and the end of the sources. In the first few moments of the two sources the money and capital of the farmer and Jim appear to be polar opposites. The start of the movie reveals the kind of money Braddock has, “Jim comes to a huge house in a nice three piece suit and has good food and expansive alcohol for dinner.”(Ron Howard) Therefore, as a boxer that has seen no knock outs, Jim earns a very good contract salary. The Braddock’s family feel financially stable in the American society and idealistically feel of the American dream completion. Furthermore, the farmer at the start of the chapter processed only a small house and a bug plot of unhealthy land, “Sure, cried the tenant men but it’s our land. We measure it and broke it up.”(Steinbeck 33) Thus, the farmers refused to give up the land to the bank because the plots were established and got taken care by the farmers and their families. The land is everything to the tenant men due to the fact that a lot of work and dedication was placed in the cultivation process. The American dream for the poor farmers lies within the soils of the property that they own. Overall the begging of the two sources differ a lot but the ending also provides a few major differences for the viewer.
The resulting scenes of the movie and the book demonstrate a huge variation. Towards the end of the movie Jim establishes the lost confidence, “the boxer comes back with a big win and earns $250 to push himself of the ground.”(Ron Howard) As a result, Jim gets a sufficient amount of money to pay his debts and begin building his American dream from the start. Jim never lost confidence in the government and his own ability, and with the family Jim built everything back. In the same time the farmer stares after the tool of destruction, “And all of them stared after the tractor.”(Steinbeck 39) This explains that the farmer lost the property and the legitimacy of the American dream to the bank. The moment the farmer fell into the clenches of anger and depression the losses started to occur. The farmer looks in horror as his house and life crumbles and falls right before his eyes, and the urge to fight and negotiate disappears with his house.
In the midst of the great depression many themes of the American dream got lost but also some were found. Characters from both sources experience loss, economic instability and change in inner self, but also the characters saw many different living conditions and various goals to be achieved. The application of the reality of the American dream was put to the test hundreds of times. Many Americans gave up and lost everything, however a lot also kept going and built themselves back up. Overall instances of hardships happen daily but the humans are intelligent creature, which learn to fight and overcame obstacles and pursue their dreams. All people share desires and urges to succeed, however it is up to the people to find a proper way to achieve certain goals.
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