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"Work And Nature: Willa Cather And Steinbeck Comparison Essay"
Work And Nature: Willa Cather And Steinbeck Comparison Essay
Adriana Alvarez
Work and Nature in The Grapes of Wrath and "Neighbor Rosicky"

In both Willa Cather's "Neighbor Rosicky" and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, there is a call to look more deeply into the relationship between men and the land they live on. To fully understand what this relationship is, it is helpful to examine the ways in which the authors view both work and nature. Nature is very romanticized in the eyes of both the authors, and thus work tied to nature and the land is more noble than indirect contact with land or no contact at all. The Grapes of Wrath abstractly juxtaposes the corrupt dealings of business with the humane generosities of mankind. In "Neighbor Rosicky", we are presented with a family that lives modestly and earnestly without worrying about saving money. Both narratives shed light on the problems of work that is not tied directly to nature.

Undoubtedly, Steinbeck's pro-agricultural stance towards work is prevalent immediately in The Grapes of Wrath.. The business-men and others not involved directly with farmwork are referred to as "shitheels" by Mae in Ch. 15. They don't tip well, they complain, and they are not very humane. In a sense, these business-man-types are not doing meaningful work. They are quite pretentious and have superficial thoughts according to Steinbeck's descriptions in Ch. 15: " 'She's really a mess, but she does wear nice clothes.' " As the Okies, the people traveling along Route 66 to California, are confronted with problems with their cars, the business-men along the way constantly scam them. For example, the man who wanted a casing was charged four dollars for a "busted casing" in Ch. 12. When Steinbeck refers to these business-men, he does so with a bit of a mocking, sarcastic tone as he says things like "…little worried men,...

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