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The Grapes of Wrath, a novel about the Great Depression by John Steinbeck, has many examples of literary devices used in ways one might not expect. Steinbeck uses the characters, and the way they interact, to convey his meaning, to connect with people, and to create a more realistic picture of the period it was written about.

Steinbeck uses language in many ways in The Grapes of Wrath. For instance, he uses the way that the characters speak to make it easier to relate to. At the time the book was published, most Americans were working-class citizens, and many still did not have high-level degrees or education. The more unsophisticated language allowed readers to better connect with the characters. A different facet to the coarser type of language used in The Grapes of Wrath is that it may have made it easier to understand. As stated above, most Americans did not have extensive higher-level educations, so language that was closer to what they used every day would have made it easier to understand the book, and help Steinbeck to better tell his story about the Great Depression. Furthermore, the more unsophisticated language was what was typical of the South during the Great Depression. These different examples of how Steinbeck uses language as a literary tool only further the sagacity of The Grapes of Wrath.

The characters that populate The Grapes of Wrath are widely typical of the Southern United States at the time of the Great Depression.