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The Rise of Silas Lapham has several incidents of optimism and disillusionment through the manipulation of main characters in the text. In the text, Silas Lapham is looked in a positive way by the narrator. Additionally, the author employs corruption of other characters to elevate and promote Silas’ newfound morality. Lapham finds a fortune in paint from a pit formed after a tree was uprooted in the compound. He goes on to build wealth and business around this fortune but loses almost everything because rumors had it that he used the money in financing a Civil War. With the help of a partner, Lapham is able to rush the paint during postwar to grab the opportunity to make more money. In essence, the Rise of Silas Lapham informs the readers of the collapse of a financial empire built by a rustic Vermont entrepreneur Silas Lapham. Though the topic might appear ironic, the rise of Silas is basically revolving around his moral resurrection rather than financial power (Gale, 2015).

Silas Lapham’s entrepreneurial empire soon crumbles down leading him to lose financial strength and muscle subject to his decisions. Despite Lapham losing money to unscrupulous business partners, he is still optimistic that things will turn around for the better. The success that Silas has acquired in the paint business lead him to securing a relationship with Tom Corey, a son to a wealthy man. Tom Corey is however interested in Silas’ daughters and Silas is optimistic that if Tom weds Irene, then his future would be bright and better owing to the fact that Tom wants to become his business partner in selling paint to foreign markets. However, Silas is disillusioned that if Tom possesses knowledge of foreign languages would help the business grow.

Additionally, Silas is so much into looking presentable and likeable before the Bromfield family to an extent of not knowing what to wear to a dinner that Mrs. Corey has organized. For the sake of impressing, the Silas’ family does what they have never done in their life. By their daughter marrying Tom, the family will get to complete the building project at Beacon Street (Wonham, 2016).

On the other hand, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck presents a story of a migrant by the name Joad. Joad has just been released from a state penitentiary where he had been held for four years after being vindicated of killing a man with a shovel. He has all hope and optimism of starting a new life in the neighborhood he knew. All hope is lost, the landowners had chased all the tenants on the land and homes are deserted. The landowners have just realized that one tractor can do the work of more than ten men therefore cheaper to use and maintain leading them to force out the tenants out of their farms and houses. Further, Joad meets on his way a childhood priest who narrates to him how he had been involved in wrongdoing during his priesthood (Williams, 2016).

Mulley narrates to Tom Joad his family had vacated the land to stay at Uncle John Joad’s house while Muley’s family left town some time ago. Muley chose not to follow them because he believes that he will win the battle with the landowners. His spirit is filled with optimism and hope that one day he will manage to challenge the landowners to relent and allow the tenants to their land. To some extent Muley’s choices present a lot of optimism but, in essence that of disillusionment. Mulley is disillusioned in the sense that, he leads a miserable life for the sake fighting a course that he cannot win. The life of a vagrant vagabonding all over the farms playing hide and seek with the landowners and their minions (Tovino, 2016).


The Joad family eventually decides to lead the American dream but their grandfather decides otherwise not to leave. However, they drug him and carry him with them but along the way the grandfather dies of stroke and is buried in a deep grave. The family meets another family on the way, the Wilsons with whom they join forces to caravan to California. As the families pursue a dream to California in search of better opportunities, one man on his way back from California told the campers that life is miserable in California. Out of optimism and disillusionment, Tom and Casey freak out but are not discouraged to head to California (Williams, 2016).


Tags: Literature, Optimism Versus Disillusionment , Silas Lapham, Wriitng, English Essays