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Graphs of Wrath and the "Oversoul"
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What is the Oversoul and how does it connect to The Grapes of Wrath?

Ralph Waldo Emerson's the Over-Soul is an essay where Emerson discusses his philosophy that as men we "live in sucession, in division, in parts, in particles, but 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"
John Stienbeck masters the literary element of the allusion.  In this nover he alludes frequently to this concept of man being a part one one soul, or the oversoul, in the novel The Grapes of Wrath.
The following are quotes from the novel which illustrate Stienbecks utilization of Emersons ideas...

Page 32-33 "I Figured about the Holy Sperit and the Jesus road.  I figgered, 'Why do we got to hang it on God or Jesus?  Maybe' i figgered, 'maybe its 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.'"
>Here Jim Casy is talking about his ideas on religion, and he introduces his beleif in the over-soul.
Page 66 "...'if a fella's got somepin to eat an' another fella's hungry- why, the first fella ain't got no choice...' 'Muley see's somepin there , Tom Muley's got a-holt of somepin, an it's too big for him, and its too big for me."
> Here Muley talks about how he has no choice to share a meal, and Casy comments on how his seemingly meaningless words are "too big" for their small minds and are actually refrencing the human bond created by the oversoul.
Page 110 "'...There was hills and there was me, an' we wasn't separate no more.  We was one thing. An' that one thing was holy....I got thinkin' how we was holy when we was one thing, an' mankin' was holy when it was one thing. An' it only got unholy when one miserable little fella got the bit in his teeth and run off his own way...
fella like that bust the holiness.  But when they're all workin together, not one fella for another fella, but one fell akinda harnessed to thw whole shebang- that's right, thats holy.'"
> here Jim Casy is giving a grace, an unusual grace about his take on religion.  it again emphasizes the importance of the oversoul  and how it is what makes things "holy";  people connected together and working together bonded by the one connecting soul.   
Page 158 "Carbon is not the man, nor salt nor water nor calcium.  He is all these,but he is much more, much more"
> Man is not simply what he is made up of, he is a peice of a soul which exsists in everyone connecting them and making them more that what they are made of. 
Page 165-166 "And here's a story you can hardly beleive... There was a family of twelve and they were forced to live off the land.  They had no car.  They built a trailer out of junk and loaded it with their posessions. They pulled it to the side of 66 and waited.  And pretty soon a sedan picked them up...They got to California in two jumps. The man who pulled them fed them.  And thats true.  But how can such courage be, and such faith in their own species? Very few things would teach such faith."
>This passage points out the type of faith that isnt in god or a religion, but the type of faith emerson talks about in the oversoul. the faith in the giant one eternal soul which everyone is a part of.  The family had faith that they were connected and bound with all men and that their fellow men would recognize that bind and help them when in need. 
Page 167 "Al, at the wheel, his face purposeful, his whole bodyu listening to the car, his restless eyes jumping from the road to the instuent panal.  Al was one with the engine, every nerve listening for weakness, for thumps or squeals, hums and chattering that indicate a change that may cause a breakdown.  He had become the soul of the car."
>This metaphor of Al being the soul of his car helps demonstrate how the oversoul functions.  The one great soul, which emcompases all men, causes each individual binded by that soul to pay close attention to the rest of the whole, to look for weaknesses and prevent the breakdown of the group. 
Page 205 "If this tractor were ours it would be good- not mine, but ours.  If our tractor turned the long furrows of our land, it would be good.  Not my land, but ours."
>This passage again emphasizes the connection of the oversoul and how it binds all men together and all men to the land they live on. It shows how the oversoul benifits man by having them work together rather than every man for himself. 
Page 264 "In the evenings, a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were children of all.  The loss of home became the loss of all, and the golden time in the West was one dream..."
>Again alluding to the oversoul, Stienbeck illustrates familys uniting as one because they are all part of the same soul and spirit.
Page 286 "'They's a time of change, an' when that comes, dyin' is a piece of all dyin', and bearin' is a piece of all bearin', and bearin' and dyin' is two pieces of the same thing.  An' then things ain't lonely any more.'"
> Ma is talkin to Rosasharn about the exisitence of the oversoul.  She explains how birth and death arent idividual experiences, but are a part of universal birth and death. 
Page 483 "'...They's some folks that's just theirself an' nohtin more...Everything you do is more'n you.  When they sent you up to prison, i knowed it.  You're spoke for."
>Here ma is recognizing how Tom is an acticve part of the oversoul and how his actions are not just his, but those around him.
Page 536 "' They was a time when we was on the land.  They was a boudnry to us then.  Ol' folks die off, and the little fellas come, an' we was always one thing- we was a fambly- kinda clear and whole.  An' now we ain't clear no more."
>Here Ma is trying to convince Tom not ot leave because it is so important for the family to stay together.  The unity, that is the oversoul, had been falling apart and separating the family will only encourage the dessturction of the oversoul.
Page 570 "Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an' he found he didnt have no soul that was his'n.  Says he found he just got a little peice of a great big soul. Say wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little peice of a soul wasn't no good 'less it was with the rest, an' was whole."
> Here Tom is reflecting on something Casy once told him.  He is recognizing the exsistence of the overosul and how important it is to keep man united and working together. 
Page 572 "...I'll be all around in the dark.  I'll be everywhere- whereever you look.  Whereever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.  Whenever theys a a cop beating up a guy, I'll be there...."
>In this passage Tom tells Ma what will happen to him if he dies.  He expalians he will be everywhere.  This is reference to the Oversoul because Tom is part of that soul which binds everything, and once he dies he is no longer a person but only a soul, a peice of a giant soul that exsists in everyone and everyhting.