“The Grapes of Wrath”

This paper gives a description of the character Al Joad and a description of the setting of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”

Description of character: Al Joad Al Joad is a fairly skinny guy of medium built who starts out being a cocky, self-conceited character. His only justifiable reason for acting cocky is that his brother, Tom, killed a man and went to jail. Al respects his brother and thinks of him as a man for having killed another man. The fact of the matter is that Tom was only acting in self defense. After a man came after Tom with a knife, Tom hit him over the head with a shovel, and killing him in the process. Al would receive complements all over town from people who recognize him and being the brother of a man that was a killer. As soon as Tom Joad comes home from prison, Al is a changed person. He is no longer cocky and he almost resents his brother coming home so soon.

As the Joad family is forced to leave their home land and travel to California, Al takes on a great responsibility. His job is to drive the family and take complete care of the truck that they are driving. Al takes his job very seriously and gets upset when anything happens to the car. Emotionally, I would say Al has become very strong throughout the novel. He starts out pretty depend on the “glory” of his brother, but he takes his responsibilities seriously. I see Al as being a crucial character later in the novel. He is the kind of person that needs motivation from the start, but once he gets going, he won’t stop. Setting Description Oklahoma could best be described as one large dustbowl. All rain has ceased to fall. The dry wind wisps through the air and gathers dirt. If you listen closely enough, it sounds as though there are people moaning whenever wind is present. The heat is so humid that any source of water is dried up, and the plants wither away.

All of the corn crops are gone as well as all other crops. The dirt is like sand; it has no moisture or fertilization. It is grainy and hard as though no water has ever moistened it. Day after day, storm clouds can be seen lingering overhead. You could swear it would rain any minute, but it never does. The humidity only increases and the fine dust particles become part of the air; which only makes things worse. Not only is it unbearably hot, but it is terribly difficult to breathe. Life cannot exist in such unbearable conditions. For this reason, life moves on and leaves behind the giant dustbowl.

Share this Post!