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Movie Essay For Grapes Of Wrath

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Sociology

M, 2-5

Grapes of Wrath Essay

This assignment allowed me the opportunity to use my sociological perspective to analyze the film 'The Grapes of Wrath'. The Grapes of Wrath is a book made into a movie, based on the great depression of the 30's. It follows the Joad family, who has been forced off their family farm by the government, as they try to find a new settlement and head west to California after receiving flyers for high wage work in fruit orchards. This true story does an outstanding job portraying society, and holds numerous examples any Sociologist can study.

For this paper I am going to look at the portrayals of the wealthy and poor, how land ownership is defined by the different characters and how their difference of opinion on the issue is resolved, how family is portrayed, how death and dying are portrayed, what are the interactions like among men, among women, and finally, what is the role of regional identity in the lives of people in the 1930s and what importance does regional identity plays in today's society. After looking at all of these issues I feel that I will have given a broad enough yet comprehensive analysis that any sociologist can agree with. I am going to make a progression of topics beginning with importance of issue to society, on the importance of issue to individuals and family; starting with the portrayal of the wealthy and poor in the 30's

Within the first scene of the movie I could easily tell that there was a division amongst the people, and as the movie plays out the largest division can be seen between the wealthy and the poor. As the depression has sunk in many of the norms that were in place had been abolished and these two groups of people communicated in a very uneasy way. At that point the wealthy felt sympathy for those forced into poverty but the overall attitude was better them and not me. The wealthy communicated with the poor on a courteous enough basis, however they were quick to imply that they were only willing to help them out to a very limited extent; making sure that it was understood that they were not willing to take any chances on their own behalf. The poor on the other hand, interacted with the non poor with a sense of hopelessness and disbelief that they were so unwilling or unable to help them out. Mutual was the feeling of the relationship between the people as neither of them trusted one another, but was quick to try to exploit profit from the other group. In that sense it was a working relationship in which the wealthy needed the poor for cheap labor, and the poor needed the wealthy for employment. However, like any relationship there are certain rules that should not be broken, and as one watches the movie the first and most important rule is placed in land ownership.

The depiction of land ownership in The Grapes of Wrath sets is of the utmost importance. Land is viewed by everyone as something that is owned and can't be taken away. However, for those living in poverty, their land is owned by the wealthy and the government, and regardless of how much of a claim a family feels they have over any given portion of property, those with "more rights" seem to be able to take it away from them. I can't help but feel an immense amount of anger when I see people having property of any kind stolen from them simply for corporate and government gain. I especially feel sorrow when I saw the Joad family land superintendent tell them they need to get their belongings out of the house and to find somewhere else to live, with no form of compensation. I would think that such travesties would be nonexistent in today's society, but repossessions and urban renovations are making more and more homeless families.

Family, however spastic it might have been portrayed at various times, remained a constantly important theme throughout the entire story. The family relationships varied remarkably during different intervals, as is common in today, however, the variations seemed to be much more drastic than I would expect in today's society. The movie begins with the family all together in the house just waiting, wondering what was going to happen next. It was obvious that the mother and father were the main heads of the house, the grandparents overall had the final say. But that quickly deteriorated as the family got the grandfather drunk and passed out to carry him along on their voyage. And as the two grand parents passed away, it was the mother that the family, mainly Tom, turned to for guidance. Family also had several seemed to evolve from previous notions of blood or love ties, to anyone willing to come along on the journey to California, and anyone willing to help out. Another essence of family importance in noticed when the husband of the couple that had accompanied the Joads on their journey had abandoned his new wife and their expecting child. I think this is a good example of how romantic and family love had been torn apart due to the horror of the great depression.

More evidence of the power of the great depression can be seen in the depiction of death and dying and the relationship between people and beliefs. When the grandfather dies from the grief of the loss of his farm, the family has no choice but to bury him off the side of the road, with nothing more than a note requesting that the finder of his corpse give him a proper burial. Such images are contradictory with the earlier illustrations of a man being born in his farm and dying a good death and being buried on his farm, with his legacy behind him. Another interesting illustration is seen in the Casey's

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