Unit IV: Disillusion, Defiance, and Discontent

Unit IV:
Defiance, and
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
Read timeline p. 634-635
The story of the Times p. 636 – 642
John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
No one captures what it was like to live through
the Great Depression of the 1930’s than John
Born in Salinas, California…drifted across the
1937 widespread recognition of Of Mice and
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 “The
Turtle” is the excerpt from the
opening pages of the novel The Grapes
of Wrath
 He wrote this in 1939
 1947 The Pearl
 This story is a brief episode in a turtle’s life
and conveys an important theme or
insight into life and revealed indirectly
through characters comments, actions or
events in the plot
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
The Little Engine that Could” has two
levels here:
A. A highly detailed and literal account of
a turtle’s efforts to cross the road
 B. A thematic statement about the human
struggles of the Great Depression
***The Great Depression of the 1930’s was a
time of unparalleled financial hardship
**1932 at least 12 million Americans were out
of work
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 One
of many factors that contributed to
the depression was a massive drought in
 Farmlands literally blew away in massive
dust storms…some lasted several days
 Farmers fled the land for the city to find
relief away from nature’s failure
 This is the situation faced by the Joad
family, who are repelled by a commercial
world that cares nothing for them
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 This
story proclaims the virtues of
persistence and commitment
 A character can achieve a difficult goal
through steady effort and flexibility
 Will the effort increase your admiration for
the dogged effort?
 The turtle is rebuffed by
1. the landscape 2. speeding cars
***its response is to take another path
***symbolizes that nature and people adapt
to environment
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 Steinbeck
describes the first paragraph of
the highway and what is lying beside and
on it
 Most important are the seeds that are
potential in life, but need “appliance of
dispersal” or things like wind to make
them blow to other areas, and they are
“appliances of activity” meaning that
once they move to something else, they
can become active (in dog’s fur) etc.
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 What
can be inferred of the turtle’s
character by the description of his
Turtle is persistent
Turtle is inspired by adversity
Turtle is determined to climb that
embankment, no matter what
Once on the highway, needed to get
across the hot highway!
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 The
turtle achieved ultimate success
through persistence
 The seeds that he took with him at the
start of his journey have crossed the road
with him and have been planted with dirt
over them from his dragging and crawling
 Turtle’s actual obstacles:
3. Hot highway
2. parapet
4. traffic
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 The
turtle was missed by the first sedan,
but flipped by the light truck
 The turtle righted itself and proceeded
across and down the embankment on
the other side
 The wild oat head seed is planted
 The turtle persistently works toward his
goal because he knows no other way
 Crossing the road demonstrates the
dangers of the more modern world
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 Turtle
is wise to go to a more natural
setting for himself
 How does the turtle overcome each
 Life presents many challenges and still
people persevere
 Wild oat seed represents potential lie;
without help it can not succeed. The
turtle’s struggle allows it to be planted
and therefore succeed.
“The Turtle” by John Steinbeck
 Larger
theme: success through struggles
and the help of others
 Setting: dry desert and highway area
 This theme is not stated directly as most
are not, but implied though the story

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