by Julius Lewis
Explanation of purpose for my poem, "The Foundation of Manself"
| “The Foundation of Manself” Purpose Paper
In my found poetry I hoped to illustrate the growth of the Joad family through the novel, and the process of change they experienced through their journey. Throughout The Grapes of Wrath I observed Casy and his influence on the Joad family, and how the Joads reacted to Casy’s “preaching.” Throughout my poem I start by showing how Tom and the Joad’s face each day at a time, and fight through it to simply feed their family. Casy’s arrival sparks a new idea in which Casy states that all men are one big over soul and must help each other out, regardless of family and religion. The Joad’s slowly transition to follow this philosophy as the novel concludes.
In the introduction I try illustrating an image of Tom and the Joad family, as they struggle to survive and simply feed the family. The Joad’s focus is solely inclined to view the world day by day, and to feed the family as best they can. I reflected their provincial view of life by taking parts of the description of the turtle from chapter three. It illustrates the Joads as they move through life leaving a beaten trail and only more obstacles up ahead. They are driven by the need to feed one another, but no one stops and really looks at the hill in front of them, or the future mapped out ahead.
After this I introduced preacher Casy, and had him talk about the over soul and how mankind has only one soul. Throughout the book Casy preaches about extending help to everyone that is suffering, but Tom and the Joads originally shake this message off and keep their focus directed to the immediate needs of the family. I illustrate Tom and Casy by quoting lines from the text that I believe represent their ideologies. I depict Casy as thinking about the future of the migrants and mankind, while Tom focuses on the work right in front of him and what it will take to support his family.
As Casy’s message about the over soul begins to set in on Tom, the two characters embrace the future fight. In the novel both characters begin by plotting to rebel or protest against the peach farm, but in an instant Casy is killed by the police, or as I depict in the poem, Casy falls out of the light. With Casy’s absence and sacrifice Tom and the Joads are clearly able to see what Casy has been preaching. I illustrate how the family listens to the pouring water, or the suffering of the people around them, and each person does something to relieve someone else’s suffering. Tom runs off so he can fight for the rights of the poor and hungry, while Ma feeds a group of hungry children, and in a closing Rose of Sharon uses her own breast milk to feed a starving man.
The Joad family ultimately has their eyes open by Casy’s willingness to sacrifice for the good of others. The Joad’s are willing to do likewise, and begin to listen and heed the message taught about mankind as one soul. I close my poem by describing a scene in which after the storm, the hills become green again. I use this image to show that through the Joad’s work to help others, it allows others to have a sense of rebirth or renewal. The Joad’s once focused on the day-by-day struggle, have grown out of that and learned that in order to progress anywhere, one must help out all others who may be suffering.