Thesis?

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I believe that this article's thesis is that The Grapes of Wrath represents an indictment of the American myth of garden and its accompanying myth of the frontier.  However, this thesis is non-obvious in that the reader must have the knowledge that the "garden" is actually the Garden of Eden.  Both Eden and the frontier symbolized places of potential perfect happiness but were actually embedded with temptations creating an evil environment.  In his essay, Cassuto discusses the literary signification of water in John Steinbeck's novel `The Grapes of Wrath,' religious allusions in the word water, agricultural ideals, and the metaphorical use of water in order to support his thesis. 

However, in all honesty, I found this article incredibly frustrating to read.  Cassuto obviously did not write this academic article for the general public, but rather for a very specific audience in his field.  Thus, this article exemplified Foster's idea that a person should not simply read with his or hers eyes.  In order to have the slightest idea about Cassuto's detailed concepts, a reader must have extensive knowledge about the Dust Bowl, the Grapes of Wrath, and the Bible.  

Though I believe I came up with the actual thesis which Cassuto intended, I am still not sure if I succeeded.  What do you guys think the thesis is?

3 Comments

Carlos Peredo said:

Pouring through the article was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. I think you were spot on with the thesis. I think that one of the frustrating things about literature can be that often times in order to understand the work you need to have a solid understanding of the historical context. However, we aren't supposed to use the work to make inferences about the time period. It seems like it's easy to get stuck in a catch-22

Andrew Adams said:

I don't feel it's quite fair to judge the article because it isn't "user-friendly". It is an academic article after all, if they wanted everyone to understand exactly what they were talking about it would just be a newspaper article (no offense to newspaper articles or journalists). However, I also did not like how the paper was laid out and the choices the author made for support his thesis. It was hard to follow at times, and I feel it strayed away from what he tried to prove quite often. It did also make some great points and connections though, so I can't say it was too awful.

Julianne Banda said:

I agree that he article was very difficult to get through, however, I wouldn't say it was terrible just because it was for one type of audience. I agree with Andrew in that it was frustrating and he did go off topic quite often. However, overall it was an average academic article in that unless you are in a certain field of study, you probably won't understand the point completely.

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