The ecological philosophy that Steinbeck sets out in his scientific travel narrative The Log from the Sea of Cortez, which I have termed Cooperative Ecology, is dramatized through the migrant community of The Grapes of Wrath in order to show the potential power residing in the structuring principles of the global ecosystem. This article delineates how Steinbeck's Cooperative Ecology illustrates the ways in which a community can achieve harmony and strength by cooperating with both natural and social environments. Steinbeck arrives at this Cooperative Ecology through a transcendent understanding of the global ecosystem, an ideology which, in The Grapes of Wrath, Jim Casy attains as an acute awareness of following his self-imposed exile in the wild. Casy becomes a prophet of Cooperative Ecology when he reveals to Tom and the wider migrant community the efficacies of cooperation. This cooperation, which occurs among the disempowered migrants, follows the ideas forwarded by Steinbeck in his unpublished essay "Argument of Phalanx," in which it is argued that when organisms work together they form a phalanx that has greater strength than the sum of its individual components. Through Casy's transcendent understanding of nature, Steinbeck's migrant community demonstrates the effectiveness of Cooperative Ecology in attaining ecological and social harmony.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 31-44
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.