Article about the book...or nature?

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While reading this article I couldn't help but notice how much the article seemed to talk about nature, more than the book. Although Cassuto does use all the talk about nature to relate to the book, he he talking like the book actually happened. Is this not what we were taught NOT to do by Professor Jerz?

"At the dawn of the common era, John offered Jesus his baptism in the River Jordan. Two millennia later, Casy baptized Tom Joad in an irrigation ditch."

Jesus was a historical figure, where as Casy and Joad are not. It bothered me that he was talking about Casy and Joad as if they were real people, not just characters in the book. The article was not an easy read and I had to read some paragraphs more than once just to get the gist of what Cassuto was talking about.

However, like I stated before it seems as though the topic of the book took a back seat to Cassuto talking about nature. I thought is should have been submitted as an article about nature,  no The Grapes of Wrath. Most of the paragraphs were just talking about land and water, not the book. I don't mind Cassuto talking about nature, but please tie it into the book, and don't use the book to make a claim about history, when the Joad family never existed. Thy're just a fictional character that Steinbeck created.

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3 Comments

Nikita McClellan said:

I noticed this very same thing. Cassuto kept refering real life actual event and then taking information from the novel and making it fact as well. This article does very well seem to go against how we were taught to write about literature when analyzing it.
I felt that the article could have been a essay on its own without even mentioning The Grapes of Wrath in any way shape or form.

Marie vanMaanen said:

I agree with you completely. This essay did seem almost to have more of a focus on nature than on The Grapes of Wrath. Furthermore, it seemed as if Cassuto was talking primariliy about nature and history and using The Grapes of Wrath as an example of these ideas in literature. Overall I found this essay very lengthy, confusing and did not really give me more insight into The Grapes of Wrath.

Georgia Speer said:

Julianne, after reading your blog and the responses above, I tend to agree with the thought that nature was a primary goal in Cassuto’s paper, but he did have other prominent points as well. Also I agree that the length was quite long, but as Dr. Jerz stated for an academic paper this is the norm. I had not actually thought about Cassuto talking about The Grapes of Wrath characters as if they were real, but can see that point in a few cases, however I believe in many more of his quotes though he uses reference to Steinbeck acknowledges…, In the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck presents…so I feel that he does state correct format in using pieces of the novel to support his conclusions and not to prove things about history. I can see how this can be confusing as you said, in the sense that that goes away from what we are all learning not to do in some of these cases. I did however grasp some really good thoughts and learned a bit more from his article, but many seem to lean in the opposite direction.

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