Steinback’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” Essay
Updated: Aug 9th, 2020
The Grapes of Wrath
Ideas depicted in The Grapes of Wrath are still relevant today. Social inequality, violence, poverty, and financial collapse are the today of the United States. The movie represents rural poverty as the foundation of social conflict. However, the primary emphasis is made not on the gap between rural and city dwellers, but on migrants and challenges they face every day. As people are caught up in poverty, they do not have adequate access to social protection, sources of income, and even food or hygiene (Dela). It means that their common life is filled with violence and struggle. The lack of financial resources is what affects people in the first place. In most cases, the influence is negative because living in a constant need cannot but lead to fighting each other in order to gain sources for living. Nevertheless, positive changes can as well be stimulated by poverty, as the existing social conflict entails sympathy for poor migrants – those who are degraded and exploited by people with more resources and authority. So, launching the struggle for social equality is the main consequence of interactions between people belonging to different social classes.
To sum up, this movie is a powerful remainder of a significant success that was achieved in the sphere of guaranteeing social justice and protecting human rights. However, at the same time, watching it now, in the era of official equality, is helpful for realizing that even though everyone is legally equal and all critical challenges are filed as history, the problem of rural poverty and migrant exploitation remains and these people are degraded due to the lack of adequate financial resources that are necessary for carving out decent living.
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying is a perfect representation of the elements of social justice. For me, this piece of writing best describes participation in social decision-making, as it is highlighted that options for the wealthy and the poor differ. For instance, the ability to affect others’ lives is given to those who are wealthier, as well as the poor cannot control their decisions and the course of their lives (recall the scene when Dewey Dells seeks an abortion with money from Lafe). Moreover, the poor are forced to accept their lifestyle and constant need that as well means that they take no steps to break out of this vicious cycle and alter social reality (recollect how Cash becomes disabled because of the lack of finance to fix his broken leg). Finally, those living in poverty are forced to agree to any opportunities of income they are offered because they do not have options for changing their lives and participating in social decision-making until they look like people with money (think of Anse accepting an offer of lumber jobs or him taking Dewey Dells’ money to obtain new life).
This piece of writing has larger implications because “rich town ladies can change their minds [while] poor folks cannot” (Faulkner 4). Nowadays, the ability to participate in the social decision-making process is significantly affected by the level of income, social status, and volume of accumulated wealth. However, what remains unchanged is the fact that the poor are forced to cling on to the slightest opportunity to change their lives. As they are busy with seeking financial stability, they cannot afford the luxury of fighting for social equality and the right to become a part of social issues settlement.
Dela, Shantay. “The Grapes of Wrath 1940 Full Movie.” Online video clip. 2015. Web.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. 1957. Web.
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