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Allusions of Exodus in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath

The Burning Bush
Main Site
Spies and Fruit
Protecting the Weak
Promised Land
The Burning Bush
Baby in a Basket
Persecution in the Promised Land
Passing of the Elders
12 Tribes of Israel
Physical Journey

Allusions to the Burning Bush throughout the novel

3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
-Book of Exodus, Old Testament
 
In the Jewish religion, the Burning Bush is known as the form in which God came to Moses, and told him to unite his brothers and journey out of Egypt, the land of oppression.

"I was a preacher," said the man seriously.  "Reverend Jim Casy- was a Burning Busher.  Used to howl out the name of Jesuss to glory.  And used to get an irrigation ditch so squirmin' full of repented sinners half of 'em like to drownded."
 
-The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 4, page 27
 
In the previous text, Casy refers to himself as a "Burning Busher," an obvious allusion to the Book of Exodus.  In this case, the allusion applies to Casy being one to motivate and inspire those around him.  Throughout the book, Casy is one to persuade others to do things, not intentionally, but through his words.  He is constantly convincing those he meets to work together towards a unified goal, just as God told Moses to unite all Israelites in a journey out of Egypt. 

"Croppers going fast now," he said. "One cat' takes and shoves ten families out.  Cat's all over hell now.  Tear in and shove the croppers out.  How's your old man hold on?" 
 
-The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 2, page 13
 
In this excerpt, the truck driver relates to Tom how banks and tractors are driving the people off the land, sparking an exodus to California.  Interestingly, the corporate takeover of the farmland alludes to the Burning Bush in not only being the initial fire which prompts the people to leave, but also being the persecution from which the families are attempting to flee from. 

"Well, maybe it's no good, an' maybe it ain't the same thing Al's thinking.  Here she is, anyways.  We got a overload, but Mr. an' Mis' Wilson ain't.  If some of us folks could ride with them an' take some a their light stuff in the truck, we wouldn't break no spings an' we could git up hills.  An' me an' Al both knows about a car, so we could keep that car a-rollin'.  We'd keep together on the road an' it'd be good for ever'body."
 
-Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 13, page 202
 
This passage, spoken by Tom after the death of Grandpa at the Wilson encampment, talks about the benefits of moving together.  This is a key element in that it is the first time in the novel one of the Joads consider working together to better their plot.  In relation to the Burning Bush, Tom states how neither family would survive the journey if travelling alone, but travelling together both families have a chance.  In the biblical text, God tells Moses to unite the Israelites, so that they have a chance of surviving the harrowing journey to the Promise Land. 

Created by Phil, Jesse and Ben