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Adversity In The Grapes Of Wrath And The English Patient

2274 words - 10 pages

During the early 1920s to late 1940s, people in the whole world suffered from the two darkest periods in the humankind history. One period was, from 1929 to 1932, the longest and deepest economical depression, the Great Depression. The other, right after that, was the most widespread and deadliest total war, the Second World War. In those periods, people were devastated; millions of millions people died, some died from hunger, others died in the war. Some survived, but they surrendered; lived like a walking dead. The physical harm was not deadly enough for people, but the mental harm was. Those people who did not have a strong sense of love, moral, or spiritual belief died mentally. They ...view middle of the document...

In these two novels, set in such harsh environment, love, moral, or beliefs brightly divide the characters into the ‘sheep’ or the ‘goats’.

Love gives a person incredibly strong power, especially when one is in adversity. The stronger the love is, the more powerful the person can be. In The English Patient, Almasy loves Katherine so much that he cannot do anything without her. Ever since they break up once, he can barely write or focus on his work. After Katherine is severely injured from the plane crash, and moved to a cave, Almasy promises her that he has to go to find help outside of the desert. At this point, the chance of keeping this promise is very little, because they are stuck in such large, bleak area with no food, water, transportation. However, he is willing to give it a shot even this journey might cost his life. This journey is extremely tough. He does not give up on her and himself even when he is exhausted by walking alone in the desert with limited food and water for three consecutive days. His love for Katherine drives his feet to move faster. He does not give up on her even when the English soldiers lock him up. His love for her would not allow him to give up the hope. Surprisingly, he does come back to her, but only to her corpse. Moreover, he is still deeply in love with her that he digs the crashed plane out from the desert and flies to the graveyard as she said. He keeps every word he said to her and he never gives up his promise even though the promise would take his life. Strong love gives him power to risk his life for her, and much stronger when he is in adversity. In other word, he just proves she is his life again; he could not do anything without her. Comparatively, such strong love has given Ma Joad, the character in The Grapes of Wrath, power to hold herself and her families together. She loves every one of the family as long as they do not lose their faith of it. When the families doubtfully ask about the future, she comforts them. In fact, she is not sure about the future in California either as she said, “Only it ain’t like scared so much. I am just a setting here waiting. When something happens that I got to something- I’ll do it” (Steinbeck 129). As a woman, she could have just sat beside her man, let him to make critical decisions and take more pressure, but she does not. That is because she loves her husband and her family. She knows the harsh reality has defeated her man and made him mentally vulnerable already so that it is much better if she lifts up the millstone for him to release his stress. In addition, it would hurt the family if her helpless man made wrong decisions. The intense love for her families makes her powerful enough to be an encouraging leader. Conversely, Connie, Ma’s son-in-law, displays his cowardice and selfishness when he runs away from his wife, Rose of Sharon, because he senses the reality is too far away from his unrealistic fantasy. His conversation with Rose of Sharon is...

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