The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

Watch the classic film Grapes of Wrath directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda.
Here's a character chart to help out. 

Watch the PBS film "Invisible Nation" by going to and clicking on "Click Here to Watch Video"

Write an essay to compare and contrast F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby and John Ford's film The Grapes of Wrath. 
In an essay, answer a question dealing with class.  The essay should reveal understanding of The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath.   Suggestions: Consider the following questions, but do NOT answer them point for point - instead use them as a launching point to generate ideas for your own essay with its own thesis. 

Big Ideas
balancing opportunities for all

social mobility
influence of class
art of argumentation and negotiation
social protest
The American Dream
The qualities of leadership transcend class.
The promise of America leaves no one out.
Upward mobility within America's class structure depends on access to educational and economic opportunities.
Money should not be the only index of class distinctions.
Great leaders can emerge from adversity.
Character counts.

Characters in both pieces struggled to move upward within America's class structure.  How was the concept of social mobility portrayed in each of the two works?

How was the concept of the American Dream portrayed in each of these works?

How did the influence of class affect the characters of each work?  What role did class play in limiting the characters' vision of the American Dream?

How did the two works demonstrate that class mobility depended on access to educational and economic opportunities?

How could the two pieces be considered works of social protest?

What can we learn from these to pieces about how can we resolve the class imbalance that exists today?

In either of these works, did class become caste?  What can we learn from them to prevent this from happening today? 

What can I do to avoid repeating mistakes made in history?

What responsibility do people (and therefore, the characters in these two works) have to society?

Is one born to the qualities and skills of that a class requires or are the qualities and skills instilled through life experiences and events? 

Do we live in a country with great economic inequality between classes today?  Should we make an America where class does not limit potential?  How could this be done?  Whose responsibility should it be?

Define and compare the social classes that exist today based on what you have read and viewed.  Use specifics in your comparison.

Compare the life of Fitzgerald and the characters in The Great Gatsby.  From what perspective did he write the novel?  How does this compare with John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath?

Use different perspectives to write conflicting reviews of a selection in "Class Matters" or "The Haves and Have-Nots."

Focus Questions
How can we / should we resolve the class imbalance that exists today?
What role does class play in limiting the American Dream?
What is necessary to achieve The American Dream in today's society?
When does the class of a leader matter?
How do we define class beyond just economic status?
What is the relationship between power and economic influence?
What can we do to keep class from becoming caste?
Essential Questions
What rules or principles do I use for how I treat others?
What leadership qualities will I need to take with me from high school?
What can I do to avoid repeating mistakes made in history?
Who is in a position to help me affect change?
How do I resolve my responsibilities to myself with those to my family members, my school, community, and world?
What responsibility do I have to society?
How can I create the world I want to live in?

Suggestions: To try to address all of these questions would result in an unfocused essay. 
Limit your focus.
Develop a thesis.
Write a paragraph to introduce it.
Demonstrate your idea through examples given and explained in paragraphs of the body. 
Give a short but thoughtful conclusion. 

"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics" Plutarch

Less than a week after The Kalamazoo Promise was unveiled, the scholarship program appears to be shifting the culture at Kalamazoo Public Schools' three high schools. With the pledge of a four-year college scholarship for every graduate of Kalamazoo Public Schools, schools and students are now feeling positive pressure to rise to the challenge, principals say… "So many of our kids have received varying messages about what society holds for them, and now they're being told: "You can be a part of this. ... You have the chance, you are included, you are being thought of, you are being supported." " "Schools, Students Now Driven to Achieve" The Kalamazoo Gazette. 11/16/2005

The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." James Truslow Adams The Epic of America, p. 214-215

"Thomas Piketty… warns that current policies will eventually create 'a class of renters in the U.S., whereby a small group of wealthy but untalented children controls vast segments of the U.S. economy and penniless, talented children simply can't compete.' If he's right - and I fear that he is - we will end up suffering not only from injustice, but from a vast waste of human potential.  Paul Krugman.  Goodbye, Horatio Alger. And goodbye, American Dream."

Both Steinbeck and Fitzgerald believed in the American Dream as it existed in their time.  In Chapter 19, Steinbeck describes the dispossessed:
"We ain't foreign.  Seven generations back Americans, and beyond that Irish, Scotch, English, German.  One of our folks in the Revolution, an' they was lots of our folks in the Civil War - both sides.  Americans."

Suggested Themes of The Great Gatsby:
The American Dream is a Fake. 
Upper class people are shallow. 
Money doesn't satisfy. 
Rich people use and plow over poor people like they don't matter at all. 
East vs. Midwest
Gender roles
Love vs. money
Dreams vs. Reality

3rd Quarter Exam Review Checklist
as per ELA 12 Michigan Merit Curriculum Requirements, Page

Glossary Link 1: Meyer Literature Site       Glossary Link 2: U of N C, Pembroke
Our glossary is on pgs 1189-1203

Narrative Text

Genre Study
Characteristics of social protest novels

Author Study
F. Scott Fitzgerald
John Steinbeck
Literary Elements
structure - Steinbeck's use of intercalary chapters; Fitzgerald's use of episodic structure
Social Protest Novels
commentary on social institutions
use characters to communicate a message for social change
purpose is to evoke social change
figures of speech
cultural content

Literary Devices

The Great Gatsby
point of view: Nick - first person detached narrator becomes first person engaged narrator
tone - from non-judgmental to critical
color connotation
The Grapes of Wrath
point of view: third person limited
tone - Steinbeck's emerging anger
Biblical allusion

Historical/Cultural Perspectives
Jazz Age
Great Depression and Dust Bowl
Historical, political and cultural themes and perspectives
Critical Perspectives
The Grapes of Wrath or The Great Gatsby from the sociological, political, and historical perspectives
Quotable lines
Connect to self - own perspectives on issues of class, leadership, and value systems in our society

Informational Text
Genre Study
Characteristics of informational reports
journalism (muckraking vs. investigative)
political essays
Expository Elements
complex symbolism
extended metaphor and analogy
contradictions and incongruities

Types of Exposition
using illustration
using definition
using identification
using classification and division
using comparison and contrast
using process analysis
analyzing cause and effect relationships
using analogy as an expository device
explaining aided by description/evidence
explaining aided by narration
reasoning by the use of induction and deduction using reflection
Features of Documentaries
present in-depth analysis of events from real world
focus strictly on facts of events as known
avoid overt commentary
avoid authorial editorializing
avoid creator's own point of view or belief
use literary and narrative techniques
Text Criteria
ACT Characteristics of Complex Text

Argumentative Essay Elements

"Argumentation/Persuasion: Logic in Argumentative Writing"

"Writing a Research Paper: A Possible Outline Template for an Argumentative Paper"

The AP Vertical Teams Guide for English:
Elements of Argumentation, p.123-4
XXX - Support a cause
XXX - Promote a change
XXX - Refute a theory
XXX - Stimulate interest
XXX - Win agreement
XXX - Arouse sympathy
XXX - Provoke anger
XXX - Logic Appeals (logos)
XXX - Emotional Appeals (pathos)
XXX - Ethical Appeals (ethos)
Logical Fallacies (errors in reasoning)
XXX - Do not claim too much
XXX - Do not oversimplify complex issues
XXX - Support your argument with concrete XXX XXX evidence and specific proposals
Modes of Discourse
XXX - Description
XXX - Narration
XXX - Exposition
XXX - Argumentation/Persuasion
Rhetorical Analysis, p.129
XXX - Issues and Image
XXX - Background Information
XXX - Definition of Terms
Claim (Thesis statement)
Reason and Evidence
Emotional Appeals
Opposing Viewpoints