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Essay/Term paper: Character analysis & setting description for grapes of wrath

Essay, term paper, research paper:  The Grapes of Wrath

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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.
 

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