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In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

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Light and Dark Imagery in Steinbeck 's In Dubious Battle

In John Steinbeck 's In Dubious Battle , Mac describes the Party 's methodology when he says : You get a hell of a drive out of something that has some meaning to it , and don 't you forget it . The thing that takes the heart out of man is work that doesn 't lead any place . Ours is slow , but it 's all going in one direction (261 . Mac is correct when he states that people find

that work is more valuable when it leads to a common goal . However , too much focus on the final objective (in this case , a classless society ) can lead individuals to become narrow-minded and abusive to those they swore they would protect . Steinbeck uses imagery of lightness and darkness to describe these changes and inner conflicts that occur within Jim when he joins the Party . Jim undergoes a metamorphosis from a hopeless individual to a mere pawn of the Party illustrating how a religious or political organization can take advantage of an individual 's desperation in to advance the goals of the group

As a result of Jim 's membership in the Party , he transitions from a despairing , half-dead individual to an optimistic person who has found meaning in his life . Steinbeck begins his novel with At last it was evening ' as if Jim had been waiting all day for his life to begin . Even Jim 's gray eyes reflect a kind of living death . Nilson notices immediately Jim 's lackluster personality and wonders if his vacant expressions are due to alcoholism or drug addiction . But Jim says , I want to work toward something . I feel dead . I thought I might get alive again (7 ) Jim disillusionment with capitalism stems from his downtrodden family life . Jim grew up in a state of hopelessness where his father had to fight alone in his battle to better his family and his mother lost her faith , after his sister May disappears . Through his experiences growing up , Jim discovers that he cannot act alone nor rely on the teaching of a church in to change society . He discovers that this political group may provide the answers he needs When describing his initial exposure to members of the Communist Party is states : The hopelessness wasn 't in them . They were quiet , and they were working but in the back of every mind there was conviction that sooner or later they would win their way out of the system they hated . I tell you , there was a kind of peacefulness about those men (20 . After verbalizing his own feelings , Jim laughs and smiles for the first time since the reader meets him . Nilson , noticing his change says , You 're waking up Jim . You 're looking better (9 . Nilson only sees the very beginning of Jim 's conversion from disillusioned individual to a cold-hearted party member

Through his use of contrasting images of lightness and...

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