"The quality of owning freezes you forever into "I,"
and cuts you off forever from the "we."
The idea of the Oversoul is that every individual is eternally connected with every living
thing in the universe. A person must recognize views of all parts of the world and transcend themselves to understand
and accept these foreign views. Alone, a man can not go far, however, with a group he may go great distances to
achieve a specific goal. It is only with unity, that the human race will ever accompish something. Recognizing
that a person's individual feelings will never make a difference in the world, is part of understanding why that person must
join a group with similar feelings to create a change. Collaboration with other people will allow
their voice to be heard. Each separate person is not completely separate, because they are part of the oversoul.
Even though separate physically, internally there is a stronger bond which is that of the oversoul. This bond is what
brings the people and the nature of the universe together as one. Each person is still self-reliant, however, to
be self-reliant, one must discover universal truth. This perpetual unity of all people, is what the oversoul brings
to all things in this world.
Within Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, The Oversoul, there are many ideas presented
that are identical to the views found in The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck. Jim Casey, a character
in The Grapes of Wrath, says many things that show that he is part of the oversoul, and understands that everyone else
is also part of this prominant soul. "We live in succession, in division, in parts, in wise silence; the universal beauty,
to which every part and partical is equallt related; the eternal ONE." This is how Emerson states that even though each
person is a separate individual, every individual is still part of one giant soul. "Why do we got to hang it on God
or Jesus? Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit- the human sperit-the
whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of.'" Jim Casey, as a preacher, looks at the
concept of the oversoul in a religious way. The Holy Spirit, acting as the oversoul, brings everyone together divinely.
The oversoul, however, is not just a religious idea, but also a conceptional one. "Two are better than one, becasue
they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone
when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.'" This passage from Scripture told to Tom Joad by Casey, explains
that no man is good alone. If one should find himself/herself alone, then they will not travel far down the long road
of life. For if that person should get trapped, fall, become hungry or thirsty, they will remain trapped, fallen, hungry
or thirsty forever until their death.
"In youth we are mad for persons. Childhood and youth see all the world in them.
But the larger experience of man discovers the identical nature appearing through them all." Emerson says this describing
how young children have yet to grasp the meaning of the oversoul. Having little life experience, children do not see
the benefits in sticking together as a group and trying to be as one with anything else other than themselves. In The
Grapes of Wrath, Ruthie, more so than Winfield, never truly gets a hold of being part of one big union. Ruthie
complains to Ma Joad of how "there ain't nothin' to do. Ain't no fun." Ruthie doesn't think of others but her own selfish
wants. During this boring time for Ruthie Rose of Sharon, Ruthie's sister, is ill. Instead of making things easier
for the whole family, all Ruthie does is complain about how she has nothing to do.
One of the largest allusions to The Over-soul is the character of Jim Casy .
Grapes of Wrath: "I says,'What's this call, this sperit' An' I says, 'It's
love. I love people so much I'm fit to bust." ..."an' sometimes I love 'em fit to bust, an' I want
to make 'em happy, so I been preachin' somepin I thought would make 'em happy" ... "I can't be
a preacher no more.... I figgered, maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy
Sperit -- the human sperit -- the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul"
The Over-soul: "to speak from his character, and not from his tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand, and become wisdom, and virtue, and power, and beauty.
We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence;
the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE."
The biggest allusion to the The Over-soul in Grapes of Wrath is in Chapter 28.
Tom says, "But now I been thinkin' what he said, an' I can remember - all of it. Says one time he
went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an' he foun' he didn' have no soul that was his'n. Says he foun' he jus'
got a little piece of a great big soul. Says a wilderness ain't no good,
cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no good 'less it was with the rest, an' was whole. Didn' think I was even listenin'.
But I know now a fella ain't no good alone"(570).
The Over-soul: "The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only
prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere;
that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common