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Character and setting description for the grapes of wrath

Description of character: Al Joad

Al Joad is a fairly skinny guy of medium built who starts out being

a cocky, self-conceited character. His only justifiable reason for

acting cocky is that his brother, Tom, killed a man and went to jail.

Al respects his brother and thinks of him as a man for having killed

another man. The fact of the matter is that Tom was only acting in

self defense. After a man came after Tom with a knife, Tom hit him

over the head with a shovel, and killing him in the process. Al

would receive complements all over town from people who recognize

him and being the brother of a man that was a killer. As soon as

Tom Joad comes home from prison, Al is a changed person. He is no

longer cocky and he almost resents his brother coming home so soon.

As the Joad family is forced to leave their home land and travel to

California, Al takes on a great responsibility. His job is to drive

the family and take complete care of the truck that they are driving.

Al takes his job very seriously and gets upset when anything happens

to the car. Emotionally, I would say Al has become very strong

throughout the novel. He starts out pretty depend on the "glory"

of his brother, but he takes his responsibilities seriously. I see

Al as being a crucial character later in the novel. He is the kind

of person that needs motivation from the start, but once he gets

going, he won't stop.

Setting Description

Oklahoma could best be described as one large dustbowl. All rain

has ceased to fall. The dry wind wisps through the air and gathers

dirt. If you listen closely enough, it sounds as though there are

people moaning whenever wind is present. The heat is so humid that

any source of water is dried up, and the plants wither away. All

of the corn crops are gone as well as all other crops. The dirt is

like sand; it has no moisture or fertilization. It is grainy and

hard as though no water has ever moistened it. Day after day,

storm clouds can be seen lingering overhead. You could swear it

would rain any minute, but it never does. The humidity only

increases and the fine dust particles become part of the air; which

only makes things worse. Not only is it unbearably hot, but it is

terribly difficult to breathe. Life cannot exist in such unbearable

conditions. For this reason, life moves on and leaves behind the

giant dustbowl.

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