Spirits Within

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"Joad dug at his rolled coat and found the pocket and brought out his pint...He unscrewed the cap and held out the bottle.  'Have a little snort?' Casy took the bottle and regarded it broodingly.  'I ain't preachin' no more much.  The sperit ain't in the people much no more; and worse'n that, the sperit ain't in me no more.'"

Steinbeck, page 20

And so the preacher no longer has much spirit? It would seem as though he's taken an occassional liking to another vintage.  I'm not saying that he's an outright alcoholic, but it is interesting how Steinbeck plays with the words here.  Casy makes the claim that he is basically all preached out and that no one has much need for his services anymore.  Thus, he feels no remorse when he accepts the drink from Joad.

He may be lacking the Holy Spirit, but by golly, why not have a few gulps from the canteen? I found this little pun to be interesting.  Whether or not feels that the alcohol is merely the acceptance of a friendly gesture, or perhaps a means of putting some form of spirit back in to himself, it is amusing to see the scene play out within the novel.



Andrew Adams said:

I would not agree with the fact that Casy feels no remorse when he accepts the flask from Tom. Often times he will talk and say, "If I was still a preacher", or something along those lines. He still acts and talks like a preacher, but to me he's just more of a preacher of justice instead of the "Holy sperit". Also, I think this speech was him basically talking to himself, because Tom says (on page 20 in my version of the book) "You ain't too damn holy to take a drink, are you?" Then the next line says "Casy seemed to see the bottle for the first time." I do agree that his behavior is quite interesting for a preacher though.

I agree with you Chris, it does seem like the Preacher had just wanted to stop preaching all together, because of the words Steinbeck decided to make him say.
(I ain't gonna baptize. I'm gonna work in the fiel's, in the green fiel's, an' I'm gonna be near to folks. I ain't gonna try to teach 'em nothin'. I'm gonna try to learn...) from Chapter ten.

However, his actions only match his words half the time and it does seem like he still wants to teach people about the ways of life. Tricky how the views are over-lapped here.

Carlos Peredo said:

I think that passage was a way of linking the preacher to the farmers who had once lived on the land. The bank could no longer afford to keep tenants because they could be replaced by machines and because the land couldn't yield crops. This is strikingly similar to the way that the preacher can't preach anymore because his listeners have lost the spirit and don't want to hear his words. Basically, both the preacher and the farmers are no longer useful. They used to have a real talent for what they did, but now that their services are no longer requires, they're useless.

Christopher Dufalla said:

I think that it is most definitely safe to say that Steinbeck is pointing out the discarding of human resources. Steinbeck showed the audience that the tenants were of little to no use to the profit-seeking banks, and likewise the preacher was of little to no use to the tenants who were looking for a quick answer and forsaking the pastor's words as quickly as the bank had forsaken them. Casy has merely looked for a new way in which to live his life, just as the tenants have done.

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Christopher Dufalla on Spirits Within: I think that it is most defini
Carlos Peredo on Spirits Within: I think that passage was a way
Angela Saffer on Spirits Within: I agree with you Chris, it doe
Andrew Adams on Spirits Within: I would not agree with the fac