John Steinbeck, Islamic Religion, and the Globalism Of The Grapes of Wrath

Cover image of Turkish edition of The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck grew up in the Episcopal Church during an era when religion, like politics, tended to be insular. But parochial thinking never suited Steinbeck, a freethinker who practiced tolerance, traveled widely, and employed images and ideas from other faiths in his writing. Not surprisingly, Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali finds echoes of Islamic religion in The Grapes of Wrath, the novel that continues to attract attention to Steinbeck’s broad-minded values and ecumenical vision. A teacher in Algeria, Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali delivered his paper on Islam in the The Grapes of Wrath (written in collaboration with Salah Eddine Merouani) during the conference on Steinbeck’s internationalism held at San Jose State University in May. Posting his video presentation now seems especially appropriate in the context of current world events. It is a timely reminder that John Steinbeck’s global perspective is more relevant than ever, and it includes a helpful discussion about how to broadcast conference papers, like this one, to an online international audience.—Ed.

Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali About Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali

Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali is a high school teacher, Steinbeck scholar, and PhD student at the University of 20th August 1955 in Skikda, Algeria. Mimi Reisel Gladstein, professor of English at the University of Texas, El Paso, is serving as the adviser for his thesis on the bond between humans and animals in Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony.


  1. Terrific job, Chaker!

  2. Rick Wartzman says:

    Thank you for posting this wonderful video. I was struck, once again, at how so many different cultures find echoes of their own experience in the story of the Joads.

  3. Robert DeMott says:

    Very good, Chaker! Always interesting to me to see how resonant and cross-cultural Steinbeck’s work is. He speaks for a world-wide population. We need him more than ever now.

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