Bible and Literature - Grapes of Wrath.odt

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17 Apr 2012
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March 5, 2012
Bible and Literature II
Grapes of Wrath
Controversial book when it came out – politics
Especially the ending
Farmer's association were an extremely right-wing & racist
John Steinbeck – like so many of his generation was brought up in a religious home where the bible was
there all the time
For modernism in terms of style and content – all these writers were brought up during a period
when the bible was really important
No way they couldn't avoid absorbing it
“I absorbed [the King James Version of the Bible] through my skin”.
Context: Social Gospel Movement
What is the social gospel movement?
1890s-1930s and on
Became a really important movement – movement where people took the idea of Luke's gospels and
put forth the message that people's duties are to get ready for the second coming, by making a
benevolent and caring society
Conditions were very terrible at this time
Part of spiritual revival – especially in protestant churches – God at work in social change, concern
but also improvement for the poor
NDP has roots in social gospel movement
Study of ethics and sociology come out of this movement
Often associated with a protestant movement
Also important part of the Catholic Church
Peace movement, trade unions, etc
Groups that reflect this movememnt: Salvation Army, Settlement Houses
Other Important Context:
Depression
Worldwide depression with terrible unemployment
Idea of safety net developed at this time
Rise of Left-wing politics
Steinbeck was never communist although he was followed by the FBI for years – strong
supporter of democratics and FDR (Franklin D Roosevelt)
Beginning of Trade Union
When Steinbeck started writing this novel there were waves of strikes
Songs:
Woody Guthrie – Jesus
Incredibly influential
How the radical like Woody Guthrie saw his role
Ballad of Tom Joad: Woody Guthrie
Tells the story of the movie
The Ghost of Tom Joad: Bruce Springsteen
2 biblical references
“promised land”
80 yrs after the book was published
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