As times change, social thought evolves. People are forced to adapt or be trampled by the wave of transformation. With age, our society has become more efficient at the cost of common concern. As a whole, people have become concerned more with selfish goals than with the well fare of the community. Steinbeck explores this issue in his novel The Grapes of Wrath. He employs a third person narrative to immerse the reader, in full detail, to the social concern for the common well fare and the lack thereof.
Primarily, the Joad family is subjected to a callousness born from an intent to siphon profits from the weak and nave. The Joad family is in that vulnerable position when they read the advertisement for California. The wealthy landowners in California, with their pocket books in mind, send out thousands of embellished advertisements to lure thousands of surplus workers to California, when they need only a few hundred. The Joad family, disillusioned by the false images of grandeur, set off to find their Eden. They are warned on the way by a weathered traveler of the dangers of the California trap. But they shrug off the traveler's case as a freak mishap. Nothing can alter their infallible image of California. Steinbeck brings the reader close to the story with the third person narrative. The reader feels the excitement and the anticipation that the Joad's experience. But when they finally do get to California reality comes crashing down like an anvil. The reader is torn when they hear, "So you're lookin' for work. What ya think ever'body else is lookin' for? Di'monds?- (Steinbeck 312). This is an embarrassing moment, as the Joads look like fools. The reader takes part in the action, and assumes the role of a non-existent third person. This writing technique is effective at invoking feelings and conveying points. Another example of selfishness is exhibited in the actions of the junk dealers.