.. been a man of God and Jesus, he battles with his faith throughout The Grapes of Wrath.
He feels like he is contending with the very ideals he has spread to others- traditional ideals of God and Jesus. Casy started to question his own beliefs and what was said in the Bible. Casy lost many hours of sleep just thinking about this, and went through many days without even speaking. He began to have doubts about God, Jesus, and about the afterlife altogether. He went from a man of God to a man of everyone.
Casy once said,”An I says, ‘Don’t you love Jesus?’ Well, I thought an’ thought an’ finally I says, ‘No, I don’t know nobody name’ Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people.’ ” After Casy challenged his inner belief of God and Jesus, he began to openly accept and tolerate unorthodox behavior. In fact some of Casy’s new beliefs not only questioned the basic belief in God and Jesus, but also the content of the Bible and what a regular preacher (or ex-preacher) would say or do. Casy felt you should not judge anyone but yourself, where as the Bible openly condemns certain situations, labels, sexual orient, behavior, and practices. Casy believes you should do what you feel and doesn’t believe in right or wrong.
Casy once said, “I didn’ even know it when I was preachin’, but I was doin’ some consid’able tom-cattin’ around.” He told of times when he lacked responsibility, filled girls up with the Holy Spirit by his preachings and then continually took them out with him to “lay in the grass.” He once said, “There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say.” A hedonistic moral code that tells of pleasure before rules and presumes to deny punishment is highly unusual for a one-time preacher.
Casy struggled with his personal inner faith, and also his actions and speeches that defied what a regular man of the faith would do. The inner being of Jim Casy was evolving and furthermore conflicting when he metamorphisized from a man of thought to a man of action. Towards the beginning of the book, Casy spent many a night sleep- deprived and many a day mute philosophizing to himself. “Say, Casy, you been awful goddamn quiet the las’ few days..you ain’t said ten words the las’ couple days, ” Tom said. Even Casy himself had trouble speaking at all: “Now look, Tom. Oh what the hell! So goddamn hard to say anything.” He remarked early on in the book, “There’s stuff goin’ on an’ they’s folks doin’ things..An’ if ya listen, you’ll hear..res’lessness.
They’s stuff goin’ on that these folks is doin’ that don’t know nothin’ about- yet. They’s gonna come somepin outa all these folks goin’ wes’..They’s gonna come a thing that’s gonna change the whole country.” Later in the book Casy stops predicting “a thing” and takes part of this revolution by striking outside a peach-picking plant. He had spent a lot of time pondering the environment at hand, but he finally turns his anti- authority feelings into physical actions when he kicks a cop causing trouble in Hooverville. Casy later goes on to spontaneously take the blame for the fight and was sent to jail, sacrificing his own well-being for others. On top of Casy’s struggles with himself, he also faced exterior conflicts with the rest of the world. Jim Casy came across conflicts between himself and the rest of society.
He attempted to organize the migrants but saw great difficulty. After Casy was let out of jail he (and other wise men) picketed outside a peach-picking camp for higher wages. Although he managed to organize those few men, and kept the wages at a reasonable price while on strike, he could not persuade the others inside the workplace to join him. “Tell ’em [the people who are picking peaches] they’re starvin’ us an’ stabbin’ theirselves in the back. ‘Cause sure as cowflops she’ll drop to two an’ a half jus’ as soon as they clear us out,” Casy said referring to the fact that unless the people in the camp did something- like went on strike- they would ‘stab themselves in the back’ because the wages would go back down.
However, the people in the camp only cared about the five they were making at the time and nothing else. Casy’s attempts at organizing failed not only because the people cared specifically for what was happening at the present time, but also because they were afraid to organize. As soon as there is a recognized leader cops throw him in jail or threaten him. People put the migrants down and used derogatory terms to attempt to control them.
Society wanted to keep the migrants moving, leaving it impossible for them to organize. There was once a man who started to unite the people in jail. Later the very people he was trying to help threw him out, afraid of being seen in his company. His attempts at uniting fail eternally when he tells a cop he is starving children and the cop smashes his skull with a board. Jim Casy encounters more external difficulties when he crosses paths with cops. In chapter 20, Floyd, John, Tom and Casy have a physical fight with a deputy.
In an unrelated incident, an officer threatened to set fire to the camp Casy’s friends were staying at. When Casy was trying to organize some men, cops were continually breaking them down. “We tried to camp together, an’ they [cops] druv us like pigs. Scattered us. Beat the hell outa fellas. Druv us like pigs..We can’t las’ much longer.
Some people ain’t et for two days,”said Casy. “Cops cause more trouble than they stop,” Casy also mentioned. Thus is a man who has seen animosity and enmity and has not been afraid. In conclusion, Jim Casy is a rather Christ-like, harmonious, unprovincial, somewhat realistic charcter who has seen the challenges of organization, authority, his own faith, reception from others, and his own ever- changing personality. This man can be looked at as a martyr, ethical, sacred individual, and yet ironically “Okie”, hobo, or virtue-less bum. However The Grapes of Wrath and Jim Casy are undisputed symbols of hope, dreams, spirit and the oneness of all humanity.
To me personally, Jim Casy is a role-model to any one who aspires to think original thoughts. I find his defiance of organized religion thought-provoking and inspiring. His ideas of nature are prophetic and his selfless love of people beautiful. Jim Casy’s essence of understanding, dreams, love, hope and belief in an almighty holiness can be summed up in one quote, “An’ Almighty God never raised no wages. These here folks want to live decent and bring up their kids decent.
An’ when they’re old they wanta set in the door an’ watch the downing sun. An’ when they’re young they wanta dance an’ sing an’ lay together. They wanta eat an’ get drunk and work. An’ that’s it- they wanta jus’ fling their goddamn muscles aroun’ an’ get tired.”.