Character Analysis: Jim Casy

Bradford Wright
10/5/04
Jim Casy is the most interesting character we have met so far. The
former preacher has a colored past and he seems to be moving into a
completely different point in his life. Although he has given up the life
of a preacher, Casy still has the instincts of a preacher to help those in
need. Jim Casy decidedly does not believe in the church anymore, but he
does have very strong emotions and opinions about life and how it should be
lived. He tries to keep himself from preaching his opinions to others, but
he still has the need to speak his mind no matter how sheepishly.


Jim Casy decides to go west with the Joad family to start off his new
life as a reformed preacher. “Gonna lay in the grass open an’ honest with
anyone that’ll have me. Gonna cus an’ swear an’ hear the poetry of folks
talkin’. All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn’ understan’. All them
things is the good things.” (pg.128) He wants to try and understand people
and connect with them in a way that he could not as a “holy man”. Casy
believes that the real important things in life are not found in the bible,
but rather in the everyday lives of people, especially the simple people
living regular lives. He feels he can learn more from just listening to
Tom and his family then he ever did studying the scriptures and solving
peoples’ problems.

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Jim Casy is very reserved and quiet, unless prompted into a topic or
conversation. Once he gets hold of an idea, though, he runs with it and
tries to get across the way he looks at the world. “Oh, I’m a talker! said
Casy. “No getting’ away from that. But I ain’t preachin’. Preachin’ is
tellin’ folks stuff. I’m askin’ ’em. That ain’t preachin’, is it?”
(pg.128) Jim has a very deep and inquisitive mind. He spends a lot of his
life thinking. So when he becomes involved in a topic all the questions
and ideas he has going through his head start emptying out into a drawn out
speech. What comes out is not necessarily structured and may not even
makes sense sometimes, but he makes you think. This is what makes Jim Casy
so intriguing, when he says something you have to thoroughly examine what
he says in order to fully appreciate it. If you just read the words at
face value then you lose much of the meaning. Any character that makes the
reader think is always interesting and how he develops in his new lifestyle
will be the most interesting progression of all.