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Chapter 17 Notes from Grapes of Wrath

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Grapes of Wrath Chapter 17

The cars of the migrants crawl west by day, and cluster together beside the roads by night. In the evening, twenty families become one, united by one loss and one dream. Accepted rules of conduct evolve to define this new pattern of life and create some safety. Leaders step forward each night, and when rules are broken the offender is either killed in a fight or expelled from the migrant community by word of mouth. These worlds are erected and destroyed daily like a circus. "Thus they changed their social life - changed as in the whole universe only man can change. They were not farm men any more, but migrant men." Chapter 17, pg. 250

Every night new friends are made. They talk of their tragic past and of the hopeful future. Sometimes there will be a guitar player, and then through song the campers are welded into one unit. Afterwards, the children help clean up everything. The next morning the site is vacant, ready for the new world, which will arrive that evening.

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