Time doesn’t exist. Thoughts do. In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath I’m reminded of my opinion of Time.
Walk in my mental hallway a moment. Below is an excerpt from The Grapes of Wrath published in 1939.
“For a moment she hesitated uncertainly. “Well,” she said quickly, “why ain’t you prayin”? You’re a preacher, ain’t you?”
Casy’s strong fingers blundered over to Grandpa’s wrist and closed around it. “I tol’ you, Granma. I ain’t a preacher no more.”
“Pray anyway,” she ordered. “You know all the stuff by heart.”
“I can’t” said Casy. “I don’t know what to pray for or who to pray to.”
This is significant to me. This book was published in 1939. The great depression had destroyed family bonds attached to land that never ought to have been taken from them. What stands out the most within this small sample is Casy’s struggle with his faith. In this book, Casy, had been a preacher. His line, ‘I don’t know what to pray for or who to pray to.’ Rings as loudly now as it did then. And, I’m sure, was among the reasons this book was banned at one time.
I’m not done.
Man-vs-Man. We all know this, along with Man-vs-Nature, etc within writing. Not two pages later Steinbeck put this thought to paper helping it to live on forever.
“Pa said softly, “Grampa buried his pa with his own hand, done it in dignity, an’ shaped the grave nice with his own shovel. That was a time when a man had the right to be buried by his son an’ a son had the right to bury his own father.”
“The law says different now,” said Uncle John.”
Again, published in 1939. Do you see? Here’s what I see. Forget the man-vs-man shit, I’m seeing humans. I’m seeing people having the same thoughts over and over and over. A friend of mine might say, “What’s the country coming to? When I was a kid I…things aren’t like they use to be…The Laws Are Different Now.”
Really? Are you sure? Let’s play pretend. Let’s say that my friend who complained about the country was 38. Let’s say my friend stopped their education at 18 and seldom read. Let’s pretend that my friend didn’t start to have an awakening of the mind until 26 which helped them to actually see the world around them for what it truly is. In this theory, my friend has been an individual thinker for twelve years.
Steinbeck has given us a glimpse into the past with his thoughts. Some of his thoughts are the same thoughts many of us have now. It’s possible another fifty years will pass and I’ll be saying thing’s like the characters in Steinbeck’s book. I doubt it. I think I’d rather prompt the individual probing my mental hallway to read a fucking book.