The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a timeless novel that traces the plight of the Joad family through hope and despair, the dreams of fortune and the realities of fact in a time in which the American dream would either make or break a family.In your research paper on Ma Joad, you will need to illustrate that Ma Joad represented the following:
- Ma Joad serves as the pillar of wisdom for the Joad family as the men and children look to her for answers to their most troubling questions.
- Ma Joad serves as Steinbeck's mirror into the role of the mother and wife in the family at a time of great change in America.
- Ma Joad also serves as a moral authority for the family as the journey both literally and figuratively into the future.
How to Write a Research Paper on Ma Joad
Ma Joad is actual a very complex character to write a character analysis on for a research paper. You will want to focus on both the superficial and the psychological aspects of the character of Ma Joad. Also, be sure to include how these two characteristics work together in your research paper.
In the beginning of the novel, the children are the first to look to Ma Joad for answers to their fears of how the family is to survive: "What are we going to do, Ma? Where are we going to go?". Steinbeck illustrates the importance of Ma throughout the novel as she serves as an indestructible pillar of stability. Even her physical presents give the impression of this stability as Steinbeck describes her as: "Heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work her strong, broad bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floorHer full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly." Thus she possesses the quintessential motherly features and serves as a figure looked to for traditional, motherly wisdom throughout the novel.