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Grapes of Wrath - Jim Casy Chracter Analysis
John Steinbeck passionately describes a time of unfair poverty, unity, and the human spirit in the classic, The Grapes of Wrath. The novel tells of real, diverse characters who experience growth through turmoil and hardship. Jim Casy- a personal favorite character- is an ex-preacher that meets up with a former worshiper, Tom Joad. Casy continues a relationship with Tom and the rest of the Joads as they embark on a journey to California in the hopes of prosperity and possibly excess. Casy represents how the many situations in life impact the ever-changing souls of human- beings and the search within to discover one's true identity and beliefs. Casy, however, was much more complex than the average individual. His unpredjudiced, unified, Christ-like existence twists and turns with every mental and extraneous disaccord.
Jim Casy is an interesting, complicated man. He can be seen as a modern day Christ figure, except without the tending manifest belief in the Christian faith. The initials of his name, J.C., are the same as Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was exalted by many for what he stood for was supposed to be , Casy was hailed and respected by many for simply being a preacher. Casy and Jesus both saw a common goodness in the average man and saw every person as holy. Both Christ and Casy faced struggles between their ideals versus the real world. (Despite Casy's honesty, goodness, and loyalty to all men, he would not earn a meal or warm place to stay. Although Jesus had many followers, still others opposed his preaching until the very end. ) These prophets attempted to disengage man from the cares of the world and create a high spiritualism that stemmed joy from misery. (All the migrants found pleasures along their trips and kept their hope and spirit throughout the journey. Thanks to Jesus, the saddest, dullest existence has had its glimpse of heaven.) Casy once remarked, "I gotta see them folks that's gone out on the road. I gotta feelin' I got to see them. They gonna need help no preachin' can give 'em. Hope of heaven when their lives ain't lived? Holy Sperit when their own sperit is downcast an' sad?" Casy wished to reach out to others in spite of his own troubles. He wanted to give them sprit, hope and rejuvenate their souls. Jesus too felt that need and can be considered "the great consoler of life." The Life of Jesus by Ernest Renan tells of Pure Ebionism, which is the doctrine that the poor alone shall be saved and the reign of the poor is approaching. This secures a definite parallel to Jesus Christ and not only Jim Casy, but the entire book, The Grapes of Wrath. The rich people, banks, owners, and institutions have taken control of the country and nature, but as the book says, "And the association of owners knew that some day the praying would stop. And there's an end." This means that these people will always carry on, one day they will take action, there will be a fight, and quite possibly an end to the misfortune and a reign of prevailing prosperity. Christ once said, "When thou makest a dinner or supper, call not...thy rich neighbors...But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed." John Steinbeck and Jim Casy along with many other migrants believe in charity, helping others and an end to the insatiable appetite for money and self-indulgence. When Casy is saying grace in chapter eight, he compares himself to Jesus: "I been in the hills, thinkin', almost you might say like Jesus wen into the wilderness to think His way out of troubles." Casy was beginning to feel confused, troubled and stressful about his faith, but when he went into the wilderness and rediscovered nature, he was a new man with a new-found faith. (Eventually Christ was no longer a Jew and strayed from the traditional Hebrew idea of God. Casy's beliefs did not precisely follow Christianity.) Like Christ, Casy was jailed and later aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally slain. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, "You don' know what you're a-doin." Jim Casy was similar to Jesus Christ but his personality traits did not end there.
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