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John Steinbeck was born in 1902 in Salinas, California, a setting featured in many of his future novels. He studied biological sciences at Stanford University and worked at various jobs to pay his way through, but left without a degree in 1925 to pursue a writing career in New York. He worked as a journalist there and, after failing to publish his work, moved back to California. In 1929, he published his first work, Cup of Gold, a novel based upon the life of Sir Henry Morgan, the buccaneer. In 1930, Steinbeck married Carol Henry. The Depression began, and the publication of The Pastures of Heaven, 1932, and To a God Unknown, 1934, did little to bring Steinbeck wealth. Several of his stories, including The Red Pony, were published in The North American Review, and in 1935 The Murder was awarded the O'Henry Prize.
Steinbeck's agent was introduced to the publisher, Pascal Covici. Covici was impressed with Steinbeck's work and in 1935 published Tortilla Flat, which drew quite a bit of attention from the public and brought in several thousand dollars for its film rights. Steinbeck began to be sought out as a writer. When Of Mice and Men was published in 1937 it was a nation-wide success. Steinbeck did not want his success to weaken his commitment to the intellectual goals of his writing, and later that year he embarked upon a trip from Oklahoma to California with a group of migrant workers. He worked and lived alongside them in a work camp in California. This experience was the inspiration for his next novel, The Grapes of Wrath, 1939, the publication of which created heated controversy and brought Steinbeck enormous financial success. His social criticism and Trancendentalist philosophies gained him much criticism. Steinbeck was denounced in Congress for his radicalism. However in 1940, The Grapes of Wrath was awarded The Pulitzer Prize and is now seen as a major American novel.
Steinbeck began to travel more and write less after the publication of The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck remarried and moved to by his experiences as a husband and father in New York. Most of his other writing New York. He became the father of two sons before another divorce in 1948. In 1950, he married Elaine Scott and gained a stepdaughter. East of Eden, 1951, was inspired during this period was nonfiction. Steinbeck died in 1968.
Benson, Jackson J. John Steinbeck. Writer: A Biography. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1984.
"John Steinbeck." The Portable Steinbeck. Ed. Pascal Jr. Covici. New York: Penguin Books U.S.A., Inc., 1971.
"Steinbeck, John." Masterpieces of American Literature. Ed. Frank N.Magill. New York: Salem Press, Ltd., 1993.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Random House Inc., 1993.
Tom Joad is released from the Oklahoma state penitentiary where he had served a sentence for killing a man in self-defense. On his trip home he meets Jim Casy, a former preacher. They travel together to Tom's home but find it deserted. Muley Graves, a tenant farmer, discovers Tom and Casy and tells them that all the families in the neighborhood have left for California or are leaving. Tom's folks have gone to a relative's place to prepare for the trip.
All over the Southern Midwest, farmers were moving west. Land banks, bad weather, and machine farming had made farming unprofitable. Junk dealers and used-car salesmen took advantage of these families.
Tom and Casy find the Joads at Uncle Tom's place. The family includes Pa and Ma Joad; Noah and Al their sons; Rose of Sharon, Tom's sister, and her husband; Ruthie and Winfield, the two youngest children; and Grandma and Grandpa Joad. Casy is invited to accompany the family on their trip west.
The trip is arduous, but the promise of agricultural work kept the Joads on their path. Grandpa Joad dies of a stroke at the first stop. Returning migrants tell the Joads there is no work in California. Noah, feeling he is a hindrance to the family, runs away from the party as they near the California line. Grandma dies during a night trip across the desert. After they bury her, the Joads move into a migrant camp, Hooverville, where they discover that work is almost impossible to find. A contractor offers fruit picking work in another county. The Joads ask him for his license and a fight ensues. Tom escapes and Casy gives himself up in Tom's place. Connie, Rose of Sharon's husband, leaves the group and his pregnant wife to fend for himself.
The Joads leave the Hooverville and move to a government camp for migrant workers. This camp is clean and has a local government made up of migrant workers. For the first time since arriving in California, the Joads find themselves treated as human beings. However, when the work runs out they must move on.
They look for work at another large farm and find agitators attempting to keep migrants from taking work as a protest against unfair wages. In desperation they take work picking peaches for five cents a box. Tom goes looking for the protesters that night and finds that Casy is their leader. While Tom and Casy talk, deputies who had been looking for Casy, find them. A chase and fight ensue. Casy is killed and Tom kills a deputy. The family hides Tom in their shack. Their wages drop and the Joads must look for better paying work. They join other migrant workers camping in abandoned boxcars and soon find work picking cotton. Tom hides near the camp, while he recovers from a wound he got in the fight. Ruthie discloses Tom's presence and Tom flees.
The rainy season begins and a nearby stream begins to fill the boxcars. Rose of Sharon gives birth to a dead baby boy, and the family is forced to move by the rising water. They walk in the rain to a barn, where they find a boy and his starving father. Rose of Sharon feeds the man with the milk from her breasts.
Tom Joad: In some ways the protagonist of the novel. Tom is a stable, independent man who does not like to get pushed around. He has been in jail for killing a man to protect himself. He feels no guilt for his actions, and only wants to get on with his life when he gets out, but he finds life is not the same. His family has been forced off their land and need his support as they move west. He dedicates himself to his family. As a migrant he looses all outward forms of dignity in order to survive. He is insulted, starved, and threatened. He kills Casy's murderer and is forced to live like an outlaw. While hiding he thinks over the philosophical ideas Casy has discussed with him, and adopts them as his own. He feels that he is part of all humanity. He decides to risk his life to organize the migrants.
Jim Casy: Former preacher turned philosopher. Casy develops his philosophy over the course of the book. He no longer feels Christian faith is very relevant to the plight of the common man. He believes there is no such thing as sin, and that life itself is the ultimate good. He feels that every man's soul is part of the greater soul of all things living. He goes to jail in place of Tom and there realizes the importance of organizing men to realize a goal. When he gets out he organizes a strike, and is murdered for his role. Tom picks up Casy's mission after his death.
Uncle John: Relative who accompanies the Joads on their trip. Uncle John is chronically guilty, because his young wife died when he neglected to get a doctor for her. He generally leads a quiet life, but sometimes he gets very depressed and drinks to excess or sleeps with prostitutes. He tries to make up for his sins by giving gifts to children. He rarely talks or complains.
Grampa : Lively, vulgar old man. Grampa delights in recounting his youthful exploits and using profane language. He and Granma are continually fighting. He says he plans to eat grapes in California, but when it comes time to leave he refuses to go. The family decides to drug Grampa to get him to leave and succeed in carrying him off the farm, but he dies of a stroke that evening.
Granma: Wild, coarse old woman. Granma claims to be religious although she also swears like Grampa. She insists that Casy pray at every opportunity. She and Grampa fight like animals. Once she shot him in the buttocks after a long argument, and he gained respect for her. She dies soon after Grampa does.
Ma Joad: The constant strength of the Joad family. She is a survivor whose motto is to take each day's troubles one at a time. She has a wealth of experience behind her that allows her to take every event as part of the whole stream of life rather than as a critical moment. She makes coolheaded decisions for her family and controls the expression of her own emotions for the purpose of calming her family. Her ultimate goal is to keep the family together, and she uses all her influence and understanding to do this. Ma is also the most generous, humane character in the novel. She gives anything her family can spare to those in need who they meet.
Pa Joad: Beaten farmer turned migrant. Pa does not understand the hard situation his family and all the migrants are in. He looks to Ma for guidance and follows her lead with minor protestations. He feels responsible for the survival of his family, but often has a defeated attitude. Ma riles him to anger to keep him from losing all hope. Pa's major original attempt to help the family is building a mud wall to keep a rising stream from flooding their campsite, but an uprooted tree destroys his work.
Al: Tom's younger brother. Al feels some responsibility for the welfare of the Joad family, and looks to them for approval, but his main interests are selfish. He spends all his free time chasing girls and his only dream is to work in a garage. He leaves the family when he marries the Wainwright's daughter, Aggie.
Rose of Sharon: Tom's younger, pregnant sister. Rose of Sharon is extremely self-centered. For the first part of the trip west, all she talks about are Connie and her plans for the future. After Connie leaves her she is constantly sick and morose, and interprets every situation as an affront to her fetus. After she bears a dead baby, her character changes. In her first unselfish act, she breastfeeds a starving man.
Landowner: A representative of the mass of property owners who shape the lives of the migrant workers. There are two types of landowners: successful men who own ever-expanding tracks of land, and independent farmers who are dominated by the others and gradually bought out. The first type is characterized as being insatiably greedy and distanced from the land and from other men. These landowners treat migrant workers as less than animals. They fear and hate them because they know hunger can drive the migrants to violence. The independent landowner bows to the wage cuts mandated by the Association of large landowners. This group of owners grows smaller as debt forces them to join the ranks of the migrants themselves.
Truck driver: He allows Tom to hitch a ride despite the fact that the truck owners forbid it. The driver is very curious about Tom and proud of his ability to pin a man based on subtle clues. Tom ridicules him for his eagerness to show off his skill, but they part on good terms.
Muley Graves: A stubborn neighbor of the Joad family. Muley tells Tom where he can find his family when they meet at the deserted Joad house. Muley has also been evicted from his land but he refuses to leave the land where he grew up. Instead he evades the police and hunts for food. Muley shares what little food he has with Tom and Casy.
Noah Joad: Tom's older brother. Noah is a strange, listless fellow. He has the appearance of being deformed. When Noah was being born, Pa tried to pull him out before the midwife arrived and twisted his skull and body. Pa blames himself for Noah's odd behavior. Noah leaves the family to fend for himself at the California border. He says they will not miss him much.
Ruthie Joad: Tom's twelve-year-old sister. Ruthie is a wild child who joins in all of her younger brother's games, but she is also beginning to experience the embarrassments and responsibilities of a teenager. When Tom murders a man, she is trusted with the secret, but in a fight she threatens another girl with the information and Tom is forced to leave his family.
Winfield Joad: Tom's ten-year-old brother. He and Ruthie are playmates and rivals. They entertain each other and compete for the attention and approval of their family members.
Connie: Rode of Sharon's husband. Connie worships his wife at the beginning of the novel and dedicates his life to providing for her, but when he realizes that life is going to be tough in California he regrets not having taken a job driving a tractor in Oklahoma and deserts her. After he leaves, Pa says Connie was no good anyway.
The Wilsons: A couple with whom the Joad's caravan for the majority of the trip to California. Ivy and Sairy Wilson share the space in their car in exchange for the mechanical expertise Tom and Al have to offer them. They also allow Grampa to die in their tent and be buried in their quilt. Sairy is a sick woman and the Joads are forced to leave the Wilsons before they cross the California desert because Mrs. Wilson cannot go on. The Joads leave some food and money for the Wilsons.
Car Lot Attendant: One-eyed attendant of a junkyard where Tom and Al find a spare part for their truck. The attendant complains about his boss and his hard lot in life. Tom tells him to stop complaining and feeling sorry for himself and then tells him to wash his face and cover up his eye if he wants women to like him. The attendant gives them a good deal on several items to get back at his boss, but he cries himself to sleep that night.
Floyd Knowles: A young migrant who explains a lot about life in California to the Joads. He says there is little work, the authorities mistreat migrants, and there is no hope for organization. Later he gets into a predicament, which illustrates the conditions about which he has warned the Joads. Floyd is arrested unjustly when he complains about wages to a contractor and though he escapes a woman is shot carelessly in the process.
Ezra Huston: Manager of the government camp. Ezra greets Ma the morning after the Joads arrival. He quickly makes her comfortable despite the cold reception she gives him. He compliments her coffee and tells her the committees at his camp will understand her situation because they are made up of migrants. He makes her feel respectable for the first time since she left her home in Oklahoma.
Mrs. Sandry: An epileptic religious fanatic who lives at the government camp. Mrs. Sandry warns Rose of Sharon that engaging in sinful activities like music and dancing will cause her fetus to be damaged. She also tells Ma that all the people in the camp are black sinners and when Ma disagrees she slanders the Joads along with the rest.
Thomas: An independent farmer who is forced to lower the wages he will pay Tom because of an imposition by The Association of Farmers. He sympathizes with the migrant workers but is controlled by the competitive tactics of the larger landowners.
Turtle: One chapter of the novel is devoted to the description of a turtle making its way over a perilous highway. The turtle is described as having a humorous take on the struggles of his life. Other turtles are mentioned throughout the novel. The turtles always survive their misadventures and persist in their journey. One turtle's path heads southwest.
Slot machine: Roadside restaurants have slot machines to entertain the customers. One player comments that the machines are fixed so you can never win. In another restaurant, the owner calculates when the machine pays out and makes sure he gets the jackpot.
Bank: An inhuman entity created by men, which feeds on profit. Businessmen scapegoat the Bank when their business practices destroy the lives of millions of tenant farmers. They say the Bank has no sympathy and that they are driven by it to commit acts of inhumanity.
Tractor: A machine that streamlines farming but distances men from the land and from other men. The drivers of tractors become like robots. They force their neighbors from their land and knock down their homes for three dollars a day.
Hudson: An overloaded jalopy, which is the Joads' means of transportation. The Joads pay an exorbitant price for the used truck. The truck has several breakdowns on the way to California, but holds together through the efforts of Tom and Al Joad until a flood shorts out the battery.
Grapes: The promise of California, which turns out to be a cruel hoax. Grampa says when he gets to California he will indulge himself by squashing grapes on his face, but the Joads find out that promised land is a place of suffering. The grapes of hope turn into the grapes of wrath.
House: Tom looks forward to coming home from jail but the Joads have been evicted from their house. They are forced to leave behind much of their belongings and all of their friends for a transient lifestyle among strangers. The house is damaged by a tractor and slowly degraded by natural forces. All traces of the Joad family disappear from the land they lived on for generations. Ma and Rose of Sharon dream about the little white houses they will have in California, but their dreams are never realized.
Hooverville: An independent camp of migrant workers the Joads join when they arrive in California. The camp is filthy and the residents are hopeless. There is no work to be had near the camp, and the local police have burned down the camp repeatedly. The mayor of Hooverville has adopted a complacent attitude toward his situation. He acts dumb and docile and always returns when his home is burned down. Here the Joads first witness the cruelty of the police when one deputy attempts to arrest one migrant without evidence and carelessly shoots off another migrant's hand.
Government Camp: A migrant camp subsidized by the government. This camp has running water and toilets. It is also governed by the migrants themselves and off-limits for police officers without a warrant. Here the Joads' hope is revived. Their lives regain some dignity and stability. The migrants in this camp demonstrate that they can effectively organize when they successfully ward off an outside attempt to start a riot within the camp.
Baby: Rose of Sharon holds great pride in the growing baby within her. All of her hopes for the future begin with the birth of her baby. At the government camp, she begins to think the baby might be deformed because of her sinful dancing, and then when Tom kills a man she tells him he is damaging her baby's chances. She believes to the last that she will have a nice house in which to have the baby. In the end the baby is born dead in a boxcar, and Uncle John casts it into a flooded stream so that it can speak to everyone who sees it.
Quote 1: "The women studied the men's faces secretly, for the corn could go as long as something else remained." Chapter 1, pg. 4
Quote 2: "The men sat still - thinking - figuring." Chapter 1, pg. 5
Quote 3: "His upper lip was long, and since his teeth protruded, the lip stretched to cover them, for this man kept his lips closed." Chapter 2, pg. 7
Quote 4: " They fix'em so you can't win nothing," Chapter 2, pg. 8
Quote 5: "Sure - I seen it. But sometimes a guy'll be a good guy even if some rich bastard makes him carry a sticker." Chapter 2, pg. 9
Quote 6: "You been a good guy. But look, when you been in stir a little while, you can smell a question comin' from hell to breakfast. You telegraphed you're the first time you opened your trap." Chapter 2, pg. 16
Quote 7: "sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed." Chapter 3, pg. 17
Quote 8: " there ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There is just stuff people do." Chapter 4, pg. 28
Quote 9: "When Uncle John wanted pork he ate pork. He had her." Chapter 4, pg. 37
Quote 10: "The tenants, from their sunbeaten dooryards, watched uneasily when the closed cars drove along the fields. And at last the owner men drove into the dooryards and sat in their cars to talk out of the windows." Chapter 5, pg. 38
Quote 11: Banks "breathe profits; they eat interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat." Chapter 5, pg. 39
Quote 12: "What are you doing this kind of work for - against your own people?" Chapter 5, pg. 45
Quote 13: "Muley's got a-holt of somepin, an' it's too big for him, an' it's too big for me." Chapter 6 , pg. 61
Quote 14: "You don't look for no sense when lightnin' kills a cow, or it comes up a flood. That's jus' the way things is. But when a bunch of men take an' lock you up four years, it ought to have some meaning." Chapter 6 pg. 68
Quote 15: "It won't do no good. Jus' a waste. We got to get thinkin' about doin' stuff that means somepin." Chapter 6, pg, 74
Quote 16: "Salesmen, neat, deadly, small intent eyes watching for weakness." Chapter 7, pg. 77
Quote 17: "Guarantee? We guaranteed it to be an automobile. We didn't guarantee to wet-nurse it." Chapter 7, pg. 82
Quote 18: "Soften 'em up Joe. Jesus, I wisht I had a thousand jalopies." Chapter 8, pg. 83
Quote 19: "He'd come to our house in the night sometimes, an' we knowed he come 'cause jus' as sure as he come there'd be a pack of gum in the bed right beside ever' one of us. We thought he was Jesus Christ Awmighty." Chapter 8, pg. 87
Quote 20: "Pur-raise Gawd fur vittory!" Chapter 8, pg. 97
Quote 21: "Gonna get me a whole big bunch of grapes off a bush, or whatever, an' I'm gonna squash 'em on my face an' let 'em run offen my chin." Chapter 8 pg. 105
Quote 22: "You're not buying only junk, you're buying junked lives. And more - you'll see - you're buying bitterness. Buying a plow to plow your own children under, buying the arms and spirits that might have saved you." Chapter 9, pg. 110
Quote 23: "...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it." Chapter 9, pg. 111
Quote 24: " How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it." Chapter 9, pg. 112
Quote 25: "They met at the most important place, near the truck...this was the new hearth, the living center of the family." Chapter 10, pg. 127
Quote 26: "It ain't kin we? It's will we... As far as 'kin.' We can't do nothin', not go to California or nothin'; but as far as "will,' why, we'll do what we will." Chapter 10, pg. 130
Quote 27: "This here is my country. I b'long here. An' I don't give a goddamn if they's oranges an' grapes crowdin' a fella outa bed even. I ain't a-goin." Chapter 10, pg. 142
Quote 28: "So easy, that the wonder goes out of the work, so efficient that the wonder goes out of the land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation." Chapter 11, pg. 147
Quote 29: "That man who is more than his elements knows the land that is more than its analysis. But the machine man, driving the dead tractor on land he does not know and love, understands only chemistry." Chapter 11, pg. 148
Quote 30: "The houses were vacant, and a vacant house falls quickly apart." Chapter 11, pg. 149
Quote 31: "66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas, from floods that bring no richness to the lnad and steal what little richness is there." Chapter 12, pg. 150
Quote 32: "Fella in business got to lie an' cheat, but he calls it somepin else...You go steal that tire an' you're a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They call that sound business." Chapter 12, pg. 154
Quote 33: "refire the faith forever." Chapter 12, pg. 155
Quote 34: "Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes it'll on'y be one." Chapter 13, pg. 157
Quote 35: "Ever'body is askin' that. What we comin' to? Seems to me we don't never come to nothin'. Always on the way. " Chapter 13, pg. 162
Quote 36: "All that lives is holy." Chapter 13, pg. 184
Quote 37: "Grampa didn't die tonight. He died the minute you took 'm off the place." Chapter 13, pg. 186
Quote 38: "Fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe." Chapter 14, pg. 192
Quote 39: "This is the zygote. For here 'I lost my land' is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate - 'We lost our land.'" Chapter 14, pg. 193
Quote 40: "the quality of owning freezes you forever into 'I,' and cuts you off forever from the 'we.'" Chapter 14, pg. 193
Quote 41: "All we got is the family unbroke." Chapter 16, pg. 217
Quote 42: "Now look-a-here, fella. You got that eye wide open. An' ya dirty, ya stink. Ya jus' askin' for it. Ya like it. Lets ya feel sorry for yaself. 'Course ya can't get no woman with that empty eye flappin' aroun'. Put somepin over it an' wash ya face." Chapter 16, pg. 229
Quote 43: "On'y I wisht they was some way to make her 'thout takin' her away from somebody else." Chapter 16, pg. 239
Quote 44: "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
Quote 45: "They hate you 'cause they're scairt. They know a hungry fella gonna get food even if he got to take it. They know that fallow lan' s a sin an' somebody' gonna take it." Chapter 18, pg. 262
Quote 46: "If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do 'll make him feel rich." Chapter 18, pg. 264
Quote 47: "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', an' bearin' an' dyin' is two pieces of the same thing. An' then things ain't so lonely anymore. An' then a hurt don't hurt so bad." Chapter 18, pg. 268
Quote 48: "family's fallin' apart." Chapter 18, pg. 276
Quote 49: "The cop was right. A crop raised - why, that makes ownership. Land howed and carrots eaten - a man might fight for land he's taken food from." Chapter 19, pg. 302
Quote 50: "So you're lookin' for work. What ya think ever'body else is lookin' for? Di'monds? What you think I wore my ass down to a nub lookin' for? Chapter 20, pg. 312
Quote 51: "Well, s'pose them people got together an' says , 'Let 'em rot.' Wouldn' be long 'fore the price went up, by God!" Chapter 20, pg. 315
Quote 52: " If it was the law they was workin' with, why we could take it. But it ain't the law. They're a-workin' away at out spirits...they're workin' away at our decency." Chapter 20, pg. 357
Quote 53: " Why, Tom - us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people - we go on." Chapter 20, pg. 359
Quote 54: "Men who had never waver wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants." Chapter 21, pg. 362
Quote 55: "And now the great owners and the companies invented a new method. A great owner bought a cannery. And when the peaches and the pears were ripe he cut the price of fruit below the price of raising it. And as cannery owner he paid himself a low price for the fruit and kept the price of canned goods up and took his profit." Chapter 21, pg. 363
Quote 56: "On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment." Chapter 21, pg. 363
Quote 57: "The Association don't like government camps. Can't get a deputy in there. The people make their own laws, I hear, and you can't arrest a man without a warrant. Now if there was a big fight and maybe shooting - a bunch of deputies could go in and clean out the camp." Chapter 22, pg. 378
Quote 58: "We're Joads. We don't look up to nobody...We was farm people till the debt. And then - them people. They done sompin' to us. Ever' time they come seemed like they was a-whippin' me - all of us...Made me feel ashamed. An' now I ain't ashamed. These folks is our folks." Chapter 22, pg. 393
Quote 59: "clutch-an'-hug dancin'" Chapter 22, pg. 394
Quote 60: "I can see your black soul a-burnin'. I see that innocent child in that there girl's belly a-burnin'." Chapter 22, pg. 409
Quote 61: "The migrant people, scuttling for work, scrabbling to live, looked always for pleasure, dug for pleasure, manufactured pleasure, and they were hungry for amusement." Chapter 23, pg. 415
Quote 62: "brotherhood of worlds," Chapter 23, pg, 418
Quote 63: "Wisht I knowed what all the sins was, so I could do 'em. The migrants looked humbly for pleasure on the roads." Chapter 23, pg. 421
Quote 64: "We're tryin' to get along, havin' fun an' keepin' order. Don't tear all that down. Jes' think about it. You're jes' harmin' yourself." Chapter 24. pg. 439
Quote 65: " I been thinkin' maybe we ought to git up a turkey shootin' club an' have meetin's ever' Sunday." Chapter 24, pg. 440
Quote 66: "All of California quickens with produce, and the fruit grows heavy." Chapter 25, pg. 441
Quote 67: "The year is heavy with produce. And men are proud, for of their knowledge they can make the year heavy. They have transformed the world with their knowledge." Chapter 25, pg. 442
Quote 68: "In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage." Chapter 25, pg. 445
Quote 69: " They ain't rainsin' hell with no two hundred men. They're pickin' on one man." Chapter 26, pg. 456
Quote 70: "I'm learin' one thing good...If you're in trouble or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones." Chapter 26, pg. 479
Quote 71: "You fellas don' know what you're doin'." Chapter 26, pg. 491
Quote 72: "Goin' away ain't gona ease us. It's gonna bear us down...They was the time when we was on the lan'. They was a boundary to us then. Ol' folks dies off, an' little fellas come, an' we was one thing - we was the fambly - kinda whole and clear. An' we ain't clear no more." Chapter 26, pg. 500
Quote 73: "Well, this fella don' want no hangin', 'cause he'd do it again. An' same time, he don't aim to bring trouble down on his folks. Ma - I got to go." Chapter 26, pg. 509
Quote 74: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up." Chapter 28, pg. 533
Quote 75: "A fella ain't got a soul of his own, but on'y a piece of a big one...then I'll be around in the dark. I'll be ever'where - wherever you look." Chapter 28, pg. 534
Quote 76: "Little fella like me can't do anything. The Association sets the rate, and we got to mind. If we don't - we ain't go to farm. The little fella gets crowded all the time." Chapter 28, pg. 536
Quote 77: "I ain't no good no more. Spen' all my time thinkin' of home, an' I ain't never gonna see it no more." Chapter 28, pg. 538
Quote 78: "Fella had a team of horses, had to use 'em to plow an' cultivate an' mow, wouldn' think a turnin' 'em out to starve when they wasn't workin'. Them's horses - we're men." Chapter 29, pg. 553
Quote 79: "No. They was on'y one thing to do - ever - an' we done it." Chapter 30, pg. 564
Quote 80: "Use' ta be the fambly was fust. It ain't so now. It's anybody. Worse off we get, the more we got to do." Chapter 30, pg. 566
Quote 81: "Go down the stream an' tell 'em. Go down the stream an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way you can talk." Chapter 30, pg. 569
Quote 82: "She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously." Chapter 30, pg. 578
Endurance 1: The tenant farmers' crops are ruined by drought and a windstorm. The survival of the farmers and their families is in jeopardy. The women wonder if this will be the situation that breaks their husbands, but the men recover from their shock and begin planning for the future.
Endurance 2: A small tortoise drags its heavy shell up a steep embankment and across a perilous highway. It is assaulted by red ant that crawls into its shell, and by a malicious driver, who tries to run it over; however, the tortoise never looses its sense of humor or its resolve to go forward.
Endurance 3: When the tenants are evicted, they are forced to sell or burn most of their prized possessions. The women wonder how they will be able to go on living without their history. The men say their lives have been junked. Yet, they continue to live.
Endurance 4: As the Joads begin their trip Al asks his mother if she is scared about the future. She says she cannot afford to be scared of the thousands of things that could happen, but can only worry about the actual events that present themselves moment by moment.
Endurance 5: Casy expresses doubt that there will be jobs for the hundreds of migrants he has seen on the road west. Tom says he is worrying about the present not the future. When they meet a complaining one-eyed car lot attendant, Tom tells the man to stop feeling sorry for himself and do something about his state, but the man cries himself to sleep that night as Tom predicts he does regularly.
Endurance 6: Rose of Sharon is concerned that Granma may die. Ma tells her that death is not such a big deal. She says that after one has had many experiences all the tragedies of life blend into one larger stream of experience and they do not hurt so much.
Endurance 7: Landowners try to cripple the migrant population by mistreating them and threatening them but repression only strengthens the repressed. The migrant people will endure and grow stronger, learning from their experience.
Endurance 8: Tom endures the insults of a group of blockaders without defending his pride as he would usually do. He says the authorities are chipping away his dignity, and he fights back tears. Ma says that they belong to the people who will go on living in spite of calamity.
Endurance 9: When Tom leaves the family, Pa says he is depressed. He says he only thinks about home, which he will never see again. Ma tells him not to live in the past. She says life keeps coming.
Holiness 1: A former preacher, Jim Casy, tells Tom Joad why he gave up the gospel. He says that even when he was in spirit he would commit sins, like sleeping with girls after leading a meeting. So after some consideration, Casy reconciles his experiences by creating new definitions of spiritual things. He decides that just living is what is holy, and that what he had previously called the spirit was simply love for other people. He also decides that there is no sin or virtue.
Holiness 2: When asked to say grace before breakfast, Jim Casy, launches into an explanation of his new beliefs which is treated as a prayer by the Joad family. He says he went into the wilderness, like Jesus had, to think, and he discovered that there was no god. There was only the hills and he, and they were one. Casy decided that oneness was holy, but he is still not sure what he means by holy.
Holiness 3: Amidst the harsh conditions and cruel treatment the migrants endure on their trip west, rare acts of kindness also exist. A man in a sedan picks up a migrant family in their trailer, pulls them across the country, and feeds them as well. This is a beautiful thing, which rekindles faith in the human race.
Holiness 4: As Grampa nears death, Granma demands that Casy say a prayer. She yells "Pray, goddamn you!" So Casy recites the Lord's prayer mechanically, but Grampa dies before it is finished and Casy cuts the prayer short.
Holiness 5: Casy gives a strange eulogy at Grampa's burial in which he says it does not matter whether Grampa was good or bad. He explains that the dead are unimportant and that all that is living is holy.
Holiness 6: Sairy Wilson asks Casy to say a silent prayer for her when she is on her deathbed. She says she used to sing, and felt very close to the people she sang to. She says singing is like praying; it brings people together.
Holiness 7: Uncle John talks about his sins with Casy. He says he believes he is bringing bad luck to the family. He asks Casy for advice. Casy tells him that no one can tell him what is a sin and is not a sin. He tells him to decide for himself.
Holiness 8: The oppressed migrants pray that they may find an escape from their suffering, but one day they will stop praying and do something about their situation.
Holiness 9: Casy used to think prayer could ease the migrants' troubles, but now he sees that they need leadership to solve their problems.
Holiness 10: Mrs. Sandry, the only religious figure of significance in the novel, is portrayed as a fanatic. She condemns everyone in the government camp as a sinner. She condemns dancing and music and theatrics as the vilest of sins, and warns that God's retribution will be harsh.
Holiness 11: Migrants on rare occasions find pleasure in alcohol. Drinking softens the pains of the migrant life and exaggerates the pleasures. When drunk everything and everyone is holy.
Holiness 12: While Tom is in hiding, he thinks about every thing that Casy has told him and decided he too will try to lead the migrants. He quotes scripture that supports the idea that men should work together and says that every man is really part of every other man.
Humanity 1: Truck owners do not want their drivers to pick up hitchhikers. This truck driver risks his job to give Tom Joad a lift.
Humanity 2: Muley Graves shares his hard-won dinner with Tom and Jim Casy. Even though he lives the life of a refugee, he will not be greedy in the face of need. He says he cannot let another man starve will he has food to share. Casy notes the larger importance of even a single act of generosity.
Humanity 3: When the family convenes to discuss whether to ask Casy to join them on the trip to California, Pa expresses a doubt as to whether they will be able to feed him. Ma says that is not a question of ability but of willingness. She says the Joad family has never turned down a man in need before. She is willing to help a man at the expense of her own family.
Humanity 4: A waitress at a roadside restaurant sells a loaf of bread and some candy at a reduced price to a poor migrant father to feed his family. The two truck drivers in the restaurant witness her act of kindness and leave her giant tips. One act of kindness begets another.
Humanity 5: When the Joads part from the Wilsons they offer them two dollars from their meager savings and a meal of pork and potatoes. Mr. Wilson refuses their charity but they leave the gift outside the Wilsons' tent and leave.
Humanity 6: Al offers to help Floyd fix his car and Ma after serving her own family members meager dinner portions she gives the leftovers to a group of hungry children.
Humanity 7: The Wallaces, neighbors of the Joads at the government camp, offer to get Tom a job even though it will shorten the length of their own work. Thomas, their employer, warns them about a plot to start a riot in the government camp. This is the first and only humanitarian act to come from a non-migrant in the novel.
Humanity 8: Ezra Huston, the manager of the government camp, treats Ma like an equal. He is the only person in a position of authority to do so in the novel.
Humanity 9: The entertainment committee averts pandemonium by identifying and removing three troublemakers from the dance floor at one of the government camp's parties. Instead of punishing them they simply reprimand them and escort them out of the camp.
Humanity 10: Ma goes to buy dinner at the ranch store with the money the family has made picking peaches during the day. She realizes that the prices at the store are higher than at other stores, and that she cannot afford to get everything she needs for dinner. The cashier lends her ten cents to buy sugar for Tom's coffee, and she comments that only the poor help the poor.
Humanity 11: Mrs. Wainwright and Ma talk about helping each other out. Ma explains that her generosity used to extend to helping her family, but now she must help everyone in need.
Humanity 12: Rose of Sharon happily gives the milk from her breast to a starving stranger in an act of pure selflessness.
Inhumanity 1: The companies or banks that own the land, which is leased to the tenant farmers, are not making a profit on the land. Men are sent to evict the tenants. The farmers are angered by the news and want to fight back, but the messengers say that no man is directly responsible for their eviction. Banks and companies, which are created by men, are out of their control. They are machines to which men are enslaved.
Inhumanity 2: A local boy has a job driving a tractor. He ploughs the bank's land, and knocks over his own neighbors' houses. He has become a robot, like the tractor he operates. He has lost an understanding of the land and of humankind.
Inhumanity 3: Used car salesmen are intent on making the largest possible profit. They have no qualms about lying to customers, preying on their weaknesses, and possibly ruining them financially. They only think of making the sale at the highest margin.
Inhumanity 4: A migrant heading back east tells the Joads how it is in California. Companies keep men from farming fallow land and feeding their land because they do not want them to turn into squatters. Everyone hates migrants because they are needy, and out of fear they treat the migrants cruelly and unjustly.
Inhumanity 5: Without any provocation, a policeman insults Ma calling her an "Okie" and threatens to run her out if her family has not left their campsite by the morning. Ma is deeply insulted and threatens him with a frying pan.
Inhumanity 6: Floyd questions a contractors right to sign up workers without a license and without setting a wage. The contractor suggests that the deputy that accompanied him that he might recognize Floyd and they arrest him without evidence. Floyd escapes and the deputy carelessly shoots off a migrant woman's hand.
Inhumanity 7: All the non-migrants of California unite against the migrants whether they are property owners or not. They fear the strength of a desperate and large group of people, and the money that could have helped feed the migrants went instead to fight them.
Inhumanity 8: A migrant woman at the government camp describes her experience of charity. Her husband went to the Salvation Army for food when his family was starving, and was forced to grovel for it. Even the Salvation Army degraded the migrants.
Inhumanity 9: When farmers cannot afford to harvest their crops they let them go to waste. For the sake of profit, food is left to rot and kept from the starving migrant families.
Inhumanity 10: Men trying to break up the strike attack the camp of the protesters. Casy warns them that they do not know what they are doing. He tells them they are helping to starve children. One man kills Casy with a pick ax.
Inhumanity 11: During the rainy season there is no work for the migrants. They begin to starve. One migrant comments that farmers do not turn out their horses during the winter. The migrants realize they are treated worse than animals.
The rain leaves Oklahoma in late May, too early in the growing season. The sky and the earth grow pale. The new corn begins to dry up. The roads turn into dust clouds. In mid June, heavy clouds pass over Oklahoma but leave only a spattering of rain.
A gentle wind follows, which develops into a strong, steady gale. The corn crop is ruined, and the country is covered in a dusty haze. Men and women hide in their houses.
When the wind passes on and the dust settles, the people come out of their houses. The men look silently at the dry battered corn. "The women studied the men's faces secretly, for the corn could go as long as something else remained." Chapter 1, pg. 4 The children wait for their parents' reactions. After a while, the men's faces become angry and resistant and the women know everything will be all right. The women go to work and children begin to play. "The men sat still - thinking - figuring." Chapter 1, pg. 5
Topic Tracking: Endurance 1
In a little roadside restaurant, a truck driver chats with a waitress. Outside, a man walks toward the restaurant from the highway. He looks at a No Riders sticker on the window of the truck parked in front of the restaurant and then sits down on the running board of the truck. He is a young man, under thirty, with brown hair and brown eyes. His face is creased and his hands are calloused. "His upper lip was long, and since his teeth protruded, the lip stretched to cover them, for this man kept his lips closed." Chapter 2, pg. 7 His clothes are new, cheap, and ill-fitting.
The driver in the restaurant pays his bill and puts his change in the slot machine but losses. "They fix'em so you can't win nothing," Chapter 2, pg. 8 he says to the waitress. She says that another guy took the jackpot that day. The jackpot was $3.80. The driver leaves, and as he approaches the truck, the hitchhiker asks for a lift. The driver asks him if he saw the No Riders sticker, and he replies, "Sure - I seen it. But sometimes a guy'll be a good guy even if some rich bastard makes him carry a sticker." Chapter 2, pg. 9 The driver lets him in and examines him closely as they drive off.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 1
The driver comments on his passenger's shoes and questions him about his job and his destination. The hitchhiker is heading for his family's farm. The driver warns him that most farmers in the area have been driven off their land by big business and bad weather. The driver notices his passenger's calloused hands and says he must be used to hard labor. The hitchhiker is annoyed by the drivers prying and lets him know it. The driver defensively says that he is proud of all the things he can deduce just by looking at a person. The hitchhiker says that he doesn't have anything to hide and that his name is Tom Joad. The driver tries to make small talk, but can't help talking about his talent for pinning people. Tom jeers at the driver's nosiness. Tom says the driver knows where he has just come from - jail. Tom says he isn't hiding it. "You been a good guy. But look, when you been in stir a little while, you can smell a question comin' from hell to breakfast. You telegraphed you're the first time you opened your trap." Chapter 2, pg. 16 The driver is embarrassed. Tom tells the driver to stop and, as he gets out, he tells him teasingly that he was in jail for homicide. They part good-naturedly.
On the edges of the highway, dry grasses and weeds are armed with ways to spread their seeds: "sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed." Chapter 3, pg. 17 A turtle slowly makes its way through the grass toward the highway. He doesn't really walk, but drags his shell along, neck out-stretched with humorous eyes looking ahead. The turtle drags himself up the steep embankment next to the highway and then is faced with a greater obstacle, the cement edge of the shoulder. With effort the turtle pulls himself over the ledge and then rests a moment. A red ant crawls into the turtle's shell and the turtle clamps its head and legs in, crushing the ant and capturing a wild oats sheaf.
After a moment, the turtle creeps out of its shell and resumes it's waddle across the highway. A sedan approaches and swerves to avoid the turtle. A truck approaches and swerves to hit the turtle. A wheel of the truck hits the turtle, flipping it onto the other side of the highway. The turtle lies upside down, tight within his shell for some time, but flips himself over eventually, dropping the wild oats' seeds into the earth. Dragging his shell along, the turtle continues his journey.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 2
Tom watches the truck drive off and then takes off his shoes and coat and begins walking home. He walks through fields of dry, dusty corn. He notices a turtle, picks it up, and wraps it in his coat to bring it to his little brother. He heads for the shade of a willow tree and finds another man there. The man is singing a song about Jesus. The man is Jim Casy, a former preacher and old friend of the Joad family. He remembers Tom as a little boy, when he was too busy pulling girls pigtails to listen to his sermons. He tells Tom he has lost his call to be a minister, his heart is not in it any more. They both drink from Tom's liquor flask and Casy chews a plug of tobacco. Tom begins to draw in the dust with a twig. Casy says he has the call to lead people still, but does not know where to lead them. He tries to explain why he has stopped ministering. He tells Tom that after a preaching at a meeting he would often take one of the girls out into the fields and sleep with her. He felt like a hypocrite afterward, but that did not stop him from doing the same thing the next time. He could not make sense of the fact that he always committed this sin after a meeting when he should have been in the most spiritual state. He eventually decided that " there ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There is just stuff people do." Chapter 4, pg. 28 Casy says that what he has always called the spirit is actually love for people. Tom says those kinds of ideas would not be welcomed in church.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 1
Casy asks Tom if he has been traveling and Tom decides to tell him about jail. He says he is not ashamed of himself. He killed a man in a drunken brawl after the man stuck a knife in him, and was sentenced to seven years but got out in four. Casy asks how they treated him in jail, and Tom tells him a story about a parolee who stole a car to get back into jail because he preferred it to home. There are regular meals in jail. Tom himself misses the scheduled life he left in jail. Tom gets up to leave and Casy decides to head home with Tom to see old Tom Joad. On the way, Tom tells Casy about the time when old Tom Joad jumped over a bush to out-do his brother, Uncle John, and broke his leg. He also tells a story about how Uncle John bought a shoat (pig) and ate until he vomited and then left the rest. Tom says, "When Uncle John wanted pork he ate pork. He had her." Chapter 4, pg. 37 As Tom and Casy near the Joad home, they discover it is deserted.
The owners or their spokesmen visit the farms to evict the tenants. "The tenants, from their sunbeaten dooryeards, watched uneasily when the closed cars drove along the fields. And at last the owner men drove into the dooryards and sat in their cars to talk out of the windows." Chapter 5, pg. 38 Some of them are kind and some of them are angry, but both types hate what they are doing. Others are cold because they have accepted inhumanity as part of their job. They all are slaves to a bank or a company. These men tell the farmers that the Bank has to have profits. Banks "breathe profits; they eat interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat." Chapter 5, pg. 39 The tenant cannot pay any more taxes. The owner's men tell them that the land is being consolidated; that the tenant system will not work any more, and the tenants get angry. Their family has lived on the land for generations. The owner's men apologize, and explain that the Bank is not human and so it has no sympathy. They say the Bank is out of their control. The tenants must move. The owner's men suggest they move west. When the owner's men leave, the wives know to avoid their husbands because of the pain in their eyes.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 1
Tractors with the strength of insects crawl over the land cutting new lines. One driver, goggled and gloved, seems very much like a robot. He does not love the land. He never interacts with the land, but only with the tractor. He admires the power of the tractor, but he does not love it either.
At noon, this driver stops for lunch. He takes off his goggles to enjoy a Spam sandwich. Tenants from a nearby farm come over to examine the driver and tractor. They recognize him as one of their neighbors, and ask him "What are you doing this kind of work for - against your own people?" Chapter 5, pg. 45 He says the job pays three dollars a day and taking care of his family is his priority. The tenant muses saying a man with a little bit of property is made bigger by the owning of it, but a man with a lot of property is a slave to it. The driver tells him to stop thinking like that, and concentrate on making some money for his family. Then he warns the tenant to get out of his house before dinnertime because he is scheduled to plough through the front yard at that time. The tenant threatens to shoot him if he does. The driver reasons that it will not help him keep his house and will only get him hanged. The tenant asks him who is responsible for starving his family. The driver says it's not the directors of the Bank, because they get orders from the East. He suggests that perhaps there is no one to blame. The tenant says this is a bad thing made by men and there must be someway to change it. Later that day, the tractor ploughs through the yard of the tenant's house and then snags a corner of the house collapsing it. The tenant's family watches the tractor drive off.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 2
Casy and Tom. find the Joad's place abandoned. One corner of the house is smashed and the rest of the house has been pushed off its foundation and leans over at an angle. The well has been filled in and the whole farm is overgrown with cotton. Tom notices that the gate to the front door is swinging open. He says that if his mother were there it would never be open. She made sure of that ever since a neighbor's baby was eaten by a pig that got in the house. Casy and Tom sit down on the doorstep, and Tom smokes a cigarette. He feels that something is wrong. The sight of a neighbor's cat, causes him to realize what is wrong. He says normally when a house is deserted all the neighbors take whatever they want off the property, but this house has not been stripped. Tom tells a story about Albert Rance, one of the neighbors who left his house for an extended vacation. When Albert came back it took him two weeks driving around to get back all of his stuff which had been taken by his neighbors. They thought he had moved out. Albert got it all back except for a velvet pillow with the picture of an Indian on it, which was stolen by Tom's grandfather. Tom decides to let the turtle go since he does not know where his family is. The turtle heads southwest as he had been initially.
Casy notices someone approaching. Tom recognizes him as Muley Graves, a stubborn neighbor who intends to stay on his land. Muley tells Tom that his family has moved to Uncle John's house. They have been making money by picking cotton, but plan to move on because John is going to be evicted soon. Casy asks why the tenants are being evicted. Muley says the owner's are not making money and need the tenants' cut of the profits. Muley says he will not be pushed of his land. Tom is surprised that his family moved. He says they were all hardheaded. He tells a story about his mother beating a tin peddler with a live chicken.
Tom says he cannot walk the eight miles to his uncle's house. Muley says there is not anything to eat at his house, but he has caught some rabbits. He shares them with Tom and Casy. He says he does not have a choice. He cannot let them starve. Casy notes that Muley understands something bigger than himself. "Muley's got a-holt of somepin, an' it's too big for him, an' it's too big for me." Chapter 6, pg. 61 They cook the rabbits over a fire. Muley tells them he lives like a graveyard ghost, wandering around and remembering his past. Casy decides to help the people moving West. He says they have enough problems in this life without having to worry about the next. Tom realizes he is going to have to break parole to stay with his family when they move. They start to discuss prison and Tom says that the worst thing about it is its senselessness. He says being in jail has not taught him anything, and has not scared him enough to keep him from doing the same illegal act again if he had the opportunity. "You don't look for no sense when lightnin' kills a cow, or it comes up a flood. That's jus' the way things is. But when a bunch of men take an' lock you up four years, it ought to have some meaning." Chapter 6, pg. 68
Topic Tracking: Humanity 2
The three notice the lights of a car and Muley tells them they have got to hide in the cotton unless they want to get caught for trespassing. Tom does not want to hide on the land he considers his own, but Muley convinces him to avoid a lot of trouble. Casy says, "It won't do no good. Jus' a waste. We got to get thinkin' about doin' stuff that means somepin." Chapter 6, pg. 74 They lay low in the cotton field and avoid the spotlight the deputies flash over the field. Then Muley takes then to a cave to sleep, but Tom refuses to sleep in it.
Garages and lots are filled with used cars and salesmen eager to sell them to whomever they can swindle. "Salesmen, neat, deadly, small intent eyes watching for weakness." Chapter 7, pg. 77 There seems to be more profit in selling used cars than new ones. The owner takes out a good battery before he delivers a sold car, and pours sawdust in the exhaust system to quiet it down. The salesmen bargain hard. They know the migrants have to have a car, and they know how easy it is to deal with the complaints of the uneducated. "Guarantee? We guaranteed it to be an automobile. We didn't guarantee to wet-nurse it." Chapter 7, pg. 82 Even if there are problems with their cars, most of them will be out of state on the road to the West. The owners are intent on making a profit and making it at the expense of the poor migrants. "Soften 'em up Joe. Jesus, I wisht I had a thousand jalopies." Chapter 8, pg. 83
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 3
Tom and Casy start walking to Uncle John's place before dawn. Tom describes Uncle John to Casy as an unpredictable, lonely widower. Once, Uncle John ignored his pregnant wife's complaint of a stomachache, and she died of a burst appendix the next day. After that, Uncle John always was giving things to people to make up for killing his wife. "He'd come to our house in the night sometimes, an' we knowed he come 'cause jus' as sure as he come there'd be a pack of gum in the bed right beside ever' one of us. We thought he was Jesus Christ Awmighty." Chapter 8, pg. 87 Uncle John never went to church though.
As Tom and Casy approach the house they notice a bunch of furniture piled in the yard and guess that the family is getting ready to leave. They sneak up on Tom's dad who is working on a Hudson in the front yard. Old Tom asks them what they want before recognizing his son. He is surprised and asks if Tom has escaped from jail. Tom tells him he is paroled. Old Tom says they are going to California but that his mother is depressed because she thinks she may never see Tom again. Old Tom decided to surprise Ma Joad by introducing Tom and Casy as two strangers looking for breakfast. Tom steps into the kitchen and Ma drops a fork in surprise. She asked him if he was wanted for escaping and he explained. Then she felt his arms and cheeks in shocked joy. She quickly recovered and sent Pa to get Grampa and Granma for breakfast.
While Pa is gone, Ma asks Tom if he has become an angry man in prison, because she knew a boy who turned mean and crazy after being abused in prison. He says he is not mad, but that seeing his house destroyed affected him. She tells him not to fight. As the others return, he says he never knew her to be so complacent. Granma and Grampa race across the yard. Granma is screaming "Pur-raise Gawd fur vittory!" Chapter 8, pg. 97 and Grampa is trying to button his fly while running. Pa and Noah, the eldest son, follow. Noah has the appearance of being misshapen. When he was being born, Pa tried to pull him out before the midwife arrived and the midwife had to reshape his squished skull.
Grampa and Granma congratulate Tom on getting out of jail, and elbow past him to the breakfast table. Noah and Tom exchange a simple "How a' you?" As they sit down to biscuits and gravy, Tom remembers Casy. He brings Casy in from the front yard, and Granma insists that he say grace. In quite an unconventional prayer, Casy explains how he has come to the conclusion that being one with the earth and other humans is holy. His prayer is punctuated by Amens and Hallelujahs from Granma. Breakfast begins when he remembers to add a concluding Amen to his rambling account.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 2
After breakfast, the men go examine the truck. Pa says his son, Al, confirmed that the engine was good before they bought it. Al is good with cars. Grampa tells them what he is going to do when he gets to California. "Gonna get me a whole big bunch of grapes off a bush, or whatever, an' I'm gonna squash 'em on my face an' let 'em run offen my chin." Chapter 8, pg. 105 Pa tells Tom that Uncle Tom went to town to sell some of their things and took Ruthie and Winfield, Tom's youngest sisters, with him. He also tells him that "Rosasharn" (Rose of Sharon), his other sister, has married and is staying with her husband's family.
Pa spots cousin Al ambling up the road and points him out to Tom and Casy. When Al realizes he has been noticed, he changes his walk to a swagger. But when he recognizes Tom, his arrogance falls away and admiration replaces it. Tom has a venerable reputation because he killed a man. Al sees that Tom is not a swagger but a brooding, controlled man. Al adopts his brooding mien. Tom asks about Al's skill with cars. Al downplays his talent. He asks if Tom escaped from jail, and is disappointed by the answer.
The tenant people sift through their belongings in preparation for moving. The men load up everything to sell because the past, which their things represent, has been destroyed for them. The women want to hold on to certain things because they still have sentimental value for them. The men bring everything they own in carts to sell, and are offered terrible prices, but sell anyway. The junk dealers are buying the bitterness of ruined lives. "You're not buying only junk, you're buying junked lives. And more - you'll see - you're buying bitterness. Buying a plow to plow your own children under, buying the arms and spirits that might have saved you." Chapter 9, pg. 110
The men walk home silently prophesying a future revenge. "...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it." Chapter 9, pg. 111 Then they load the few things they need into the truck. The women lament the things they have to leave, but the men are relentless. " How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it." Chapter 9, pg. 112 Anxious to leave, the tenants create a bonfire of the remaining things, and, after watching the fire die out, they drive away.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 3
After Al leaves with a truckload of farm implements and household items to sell in town, Tom wanders around the farm and then sits down in the doorway to the kitchen. From the kitchen, Ma talks with Tom about her doubts that California will be as great as the ads make it out to be. He tells her not to get her hopes up too high and she will not be disappointed. He tells her he learned to take things day by day in jail. Ma says she likes to think about how nice California will be. Tom tells her he knew a person from California who said there was not enough work, wages were low, and living conditions were bad. Ma does not believe it.
Grampa wakes up and Ma helps him button up his pants. He swears and sputters and starts talking about the grapes he is going to eat in California again. Casy comes in and asks if he can travel with the Joads. He says he is not going to preach but to work and live alongside the people because that is what is holy. Ma says the men will decide.
Later that day,Pa and the rest of the family return in the truck. Ruthie is a demure pre-teen. Winfield is a wild little boy. Rose of Sharon is careful and wise in her consciousness of her pregnant state. Connie is a proud husband and a responsible man. Uncle John is a lonely, self-controlling man. All of them are glum. Al worries over the irregularities of the truck. They are all tired. Pa and Uncle John are angry and sad because they had gotten only eighteen dollars for all of their possessions. Pa is also worried because he heard that Tom might not be able to go with them because of the rules of his parole.
When they arrive the family government convenes. "They met at the most important place, near the truck...this was the new hearth, the living center of the family." Chapter 10, pg. 127 Casy remains at the back of the house. Pa tells how much money they got that day. Al explains why he chose the truck, and Pa and Tom compliment him on his choice. Al is very pleased. Tom then opens the topic of whether to take the preacher or not. Grampa approves. Pa is worried that they may not have enough room or food for Casy. Ma says, "It ain't kin we? It's will we... As far as 'kin.' We can't do nothin', not go to California or nothin'; but as far as "will,' why, we'll do what we will." Chapter 10, pg. 130 Ma adds that no Joad has ever turned down a man in need before. They decide to take him, and invite him to join the council. Then they discuss the subject of when to leave. All they have to do is slaughter and salt two pigs and pack their things before they can leave. They decide to salt the pigs that night.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 3
After dinner the killing begins. The pigs' throats are slit in their pen and their carcasses are hung on the rafters of the house to be bled. Then the men pour boiling water over carcasses before gutting them. Normally the bodies would chill overnight, but the Joads decide to leave early the next morning and so salting begins immediately. Noah cut up the meat and Ma piled it in kegs with salt. The rest of the family begins the task of packing the truck. Casy relieves Ma of salting, despite her protest that it is women's work, so she can help pack. She tells Tom what to take from the kitchen, and then goes into her stripped bedroom to sort through her personal mementos. She selected the items of monetary value from the lot and burnt the rest of the items including a newspaper clipping of Tom's trial.
As they are leaving, Muley Graves arrives and asks them to tell his family he is all right if they meet them in California. They invite him to accompany them, but he says he would not feel right leaving. Then Grampa says he is not going either. "This here is my country. I b'long here. An' I don't give a goddamn if they's oranges an' grapes crowdin' a fella outa bed even. I ain't a-goin." Chapter 10, pg. 142 The family tries to reason with him but eventually decide to give him a sleeping draught in his coffee so they can drive away with him without him hurting himself. They load Grampa on the truck and leave two of their dogs and some chickens for Muley. As they started slowly down the road Ma did not look back but looked straight ahead.
The houses are left vacant, and the land seems more vacant because all life is gone. The tractors and tractor sheds are active and lit day and night but they are not alive.
The tractor drivers go home and do not need to return for weeks because the tractors are dead. Working the land is easy in this way. "So easy, that the wonder goes out of the work, so efficient that the wonder goes out of the land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation." Chapter 11, pg. 147 The tractor driver has contempt for the land because he does not understand it. The land is more than it's chemistry, just as a man is more than his parts. "That man who is more than his elements knows the land that is more than its analysis. But the machine man, driving the dead tractor on land he does not know and love, understands only chemistry." Chapter 11, pg. 148
Bands of children forage for treasure on the abandoned land. The houses are now inhabited by mice, cats, bats, owls, and weasels. "The houses were vacant, and a vacant house falls quickly apart." Chapter 11, pg. 149 Weeds grow through the floorboards and the wind begins to tear the shingles off one by one.
Highway 66 is the main thoroughfare from Oklahoma to California. "66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas, from floods that bring no richness to the lnad and steal what little richness is there." Chapter 12, pg. 150 The highway leads over some harsh country, but ends in a fertile valley.
Migrants drive apprehensively between towns, hoping their car can hold up till the next stop. They pray they can get to California before their jalopy blows up. People along the way tell them to go back. They tell the migrants that the California border patrol will turn them back. The car parts sales men cheat them in every town. "Fella in business got to lie an' cheat, but he calls it somepin else...You go steal that tire an' you're a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They call that sound business." Chapter 12, pg. 154
There is one beautiful story, which can "refire the faith forever." Chapter 12, pg. 155 A family of twelve builds a trailer out of junk, loads up their possessions in it, and brings it to the highway. A sedan picks them up and pulls their trailer all the way to California. This man feeds the family the whole way, too.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 3
The Joad family leaves Sallisaw, Oklahoma in their overloaded Hudson. Al drives carefully, listening for any sign of weakness in the car. Granma sleeps and Ma stares ahead. Al asks her if she is scared, and she says she feels more anxious because she has to wait without anything to do. She says it is best to deal with things as they come, and not worry about them before. "Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes it'll on'y be one." Chapter 13, pg. 157 Granma wakes up and has to go to the bathroom. They stop on the side of the road, and Grampa wakes up. He complains feebly that he is not going, but then looses interest. The family lunches on some left over pork bones, and then they discover that they have forgotten to bring the water. Al reassures them that they can get some at the next gas station.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 4
When they arrive at the gas station, an attendant asks them if they are going to buy anything. This peeves Tom who says that they are paying customers. The man welcomes them to get some water and use the toilets, and explains that a lot of folks with no money come through his station and use the facilities and steal things. He complains that none of the rich people in big cars stop at his station. He wonders what the country is coming to. Casy says, "Ever'body is askin' that. What we comin' to? Seems to me we don't never come to nothin'. Always on the way. " Chapter 13, pg. 162 The man admits he is planning on moving west, too.
An expensive car passes on the highway, and Connie and Rose of Sharon talk about when they will buy a car and a home. As they are getting a drink of water, the dog runs out onto the highway and gets run over by a car. Rose of Sharon is disturbed, she wonders if her baby has been affected. The attendant says he will bury the dog. Getting ready to leave, Rose of Sharon finds Granma asleep on the toilet. Ruthie and Winfield run in from the fields with reptile eggs. When Winfeild sees the dead dog he vomits.
Tom drives the next leg of the trip. They pass through Oklahoma City and then they get on route 66. They decide to stop before sunset so Ma can make some dinner. They stop near the campsite of another couple, and ask if they mind company. Ivy and Sairy Wilson welcome the Joads. They are from Kansas. As everyone gets out of the truck, Noah notices that Grampa is sick. Sairy offers to let him sleep on the mattress in her tent, and he begins to cry. Ma helps Grampa into the tent, and asks Casy to try to diagnose him. Sairy and Casy think that Grampa might be having a stroke. Granma says he is just sulking, but Casy tells her it is serious. She asks him to pray, but he says he does not know what to pray. Grampa turns purple and Casy, realizing that he is suffocating, opens his mouth and pulls his tongue out of his throat. Granma demands that Casy pray. So Casy recites the Lord's prayer. Grampa dies before Casy finishes.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 4
The family gathers to discuss the death. Pa thanks the Wilsons for their help and concern. Tom and Al promise to fix their car. The family decides to bury Grampa, despite the fact that it is illegal, because they cannot afford to pay others to do it. Ma prepares Grampa for burial, and tells Mrs. Wilson that they will bury him in her quilt and replace it with one of their own. When the men have dug the grave, they decide to bury Grampa with a letter enclosed in a fruit jar, which explains his death and identity. The letter is written on a page of Mrs. Wilson's Bible. Tom, who writes the letter, adds a verse from Psalms on the request of his mother. Pa asks Casy to say a few words for Granpa. Casy makes a little speech in which he essentially says that Granpa is dead, and has got nothing to worry about, but that the living are those who need prayer. "All that lives is holy." Chapter 13, pg. 184
Topic Tracking: Holiness 5
During supper, the Wilsons say they have been on the road for three weeks because of car trouble. Pa says they hope to be in California in ten days, but Al warns that they may never get there if they have to get the truck over mountains. When they start talking about Grampa, Casy says "Grampa didn't die tonight. He died the minute you took 'm off the place." Chapter 13, pg. 186 He could not leave it. Mr. Wilson says he had to leave his brother, because he broke his car and would not come with them. Now they are running out of money. Mr. Wilson wishes he knew how to fix a car. Tom and Al suggest that the Wilsons travel with them. This way the truck will be less crowded and they can service the Wilsons' car when necessary. The Wilsons happily accept.
The great owners in the Western states are nervous because they sense that things are changing. They strike at big government, labor unity, and new taxes; but these things are results not causes. The causes are simple. Man has a need to live and to work for a purpose. A million men with these needs threatened will fight against it. "Fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe." Chapter 14, pg. 192
A single family is turned off the their land, and a tractor replaces them. If mankind shared the tractor it could be loved, but when the tractor is owned by one man it is like a tank intimidating people. When this family meets another family on the highway, they share their stories of loss. "This is the zygote. For here 'I lost my land' is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate - 'We lost our land.'" Chapter 14, pg. 193 They not only share a hatred, but they share their resources. This is the beginning of the transformation of isolated individuals into a powerful, unified group with a cause. If the owners could understand this, they could preserve themselves, but "the quality of owning freezes you forever into 'I,' and cuts you off forever from the 'we.'" Chapter 14, pg. 193
Route 66 is lined with hamburger stands. Each one has the same long bar lined with stools. Each one has a similar menu and decor. One irritated waitress, Mae, only treats truck drivers well. She reasons that they are the only customers that have a chance to come back.
Some times a rich, unhappy couple on vacation will stop in their fancy car. Mae knows this type. They only mess up the place and complain about the food. Truck drivers do not complain. They try to enjoy their break. Two truck drivers pull in. Mae welcomes them by name. They put on some music and tell jokes. While they are eating, a sedan loaded with mattresses and pots and pans pulls up. The man in the sedan asks Mae for some water for his radiator. Then he asks if he can buy a loaf of bread for ten cents. Mae says she only sells sandwiches. The man explains that he has to feed his whole family on a dime. She says she only has fifteen-cent loaves. Her husband tells her to give them the bread for ten cents. The man's two kids are eyeing the candy in the store, and the man asks if some peppermint sticks are penny candy. Mae says they are two for a penny, so he buys two and leaves. The truck driver tells Mae the peppermints are nickel candy. When the drivers leave, Mae notices that they have both left fifty cents for their fifteen-cent bills.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 4
Mae husband takes a bunch of nickels out of the register and feeds them into one of their three slot machines till he gets the jackpot. He keeps track of when the slot machines pay out, and makes sure the nickels go into his register.
The Joads and the Wilsons crawled westward together through the Panhandle of Texas. They began to settle into life on the road. Al drove the Wilson's car and Ma and Rose of Sharon sat beside him. Rose of Sharon braced her body against the movements of the car in an effort to protect her fetus. She tells Ma that she and Connie have decided to live in a city when they get to California. They plan to have a doctor for the baby, and take courses, and see movies. Ma does not think it is a good idea to separate the family.
Al hears a rattle in the engine of the car, and the caravan stops. Tom. and Al decided a con-rod bearing has to be torn out. Tom figures it will take a day to fix, and they have to buy a new bearing. They cannot buy it on a Sunday, so the delay is lengthened. The Wilsons offer to stay behind, but Tom has a better idea. He suggests that he and Casy stay behind and fix the car. They can try to catch up with the truck. He says the closer they get to California and paying work the better. Everyone agrees, except Ma, whom threatens to fight Pa with a jack handle if he tries to make her separate her family. "All we got is the family unbroke." Chapter 16, pg. 217 Ma is determined, and everyone gives in. Tom sends them on to the next campsite in the truck. He and Casy start removing the broken bearing, while waiting for the truck to return to take them to town. It is Saturday night, and they hope they can find a shop still open. Casy says he has counted hundreds cars full of migrants going west. He is uneasy about the job prospects for so many people. Tom says he is just putting one foot in front of the other, and not worrying about the future.
Al comes back, and he and Tom head for the next town. Al tells Tom that they had to pay fifty cents for the camping ground, and that Granma is acting crazy, crying and talking to Grampa. Al tries to get Tom to talk about prison, but Tom says he prefers to forget about that part of his life. They arrive at a service station with a lot of wrecked cars and talk to a one-eyed attendant. He says they can look around the place for the part they need, a '25 Dodge con rod. They find the part they need. The attendant hates his boss and complains about how hard it is having one eye. Tom has no sympathy for him. "Now look-a-here, fella. You got that eye wide open. An' ya dirty, ya stink. Ya jus' askin' for it. Ya like it. Lets ya feel sorry for yaself. 'Course ya can't get no woman with that empty eye flappin' aroun'. Put somepin over it an' wash ya face." Chapter 16, pg. 229 Tom advises him to fix up one of the wrecked cars and leave his boss. The man gives Tom and Al the part a buck and a flashlight and socket wrench for a quarter. They head back and fix the car that night.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 5
When they drive into the campground that night, the proprietor and his men ask them to pay another fifty cents to camp. Tom argues with them and says he is not going to pay. . The proprietor calls Tom a bum. He says he has to make a living. Tom says, "On'y I wisht they was some way to make her 'thout takin' her away from somebody else." Chapter 16, pg. 239 The proprietor does not back down Tom decides to camp down the road and meet up with the family in the morning. He stays a while to talk with the family. They start talking about their plans with another scraggly camper. When he discovers they are going to California, he starts giggling madly. When he recovers, he tells them that he is returning from California to starve at home. He says there is no work. Pa says he has a handbill advertising lots of work. The camper says that landowners who need eight hundred hands print up thousands of handbills and thousands of workers show up. There is so much competition that they work for less than they need to survive. The camper tells them to find out in advance how what the pay is. It took him a long time to find out these things, and his wife and two children died from starvation in the process. After relating this story, the man walks away into the darkness.
Tom reassures the group that what is true for one man is not true for all men. Ma expresses excitement about getting to California. Tom gets ready to leave. As he walks out to the car he picks up a clod of earth and throws it at the proprietor's house.
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.
When they reach Arizona, a border guard stops the Joads. He asks them where they are going and lets them pass. They continue through the mountains of Arizona in flight from the sun and drought, and finally reach the eastern edge California. They pull off the road near the Colorado river. Ruthie and Winfield play in the river, and the rest talk about how they are going to cross the desert. They decide to rest before attempting it. The men go down and bathe in the river. Pa reminds them that they only have forty dollars left.
A father and son come down to bathe in the river, and tell the Joads that they are heading back east to starve with folks that do not hate them. Pa wants to hear more. The man says when you get to the California valley it is as beautiful as you imagine but the first thing you'll see is a bunch of good land owned by the Land and Cattle company that is lying fallow. You will get arrested if you try to plant on it. What is worse is that you can see that people hate you by the look on their faces. "They hate you 'cause they're scairt. They know a hungry fella gonna get food even if he got to take it. They know that fallow lan' s a sin an' somebody' gonna take it." Chapter 18, pg. 262 They will call you Okie, which used to mean someone from Oklahoma, but they mean it as an insult. There is no steady work, and the work you can get is degrading. The owners watch your every move and cheat you out of your pay.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 4
The father tells them about a man who owns a million acres, and drives around in an armored car. He says he looks scared and unhappy. Casy says, "If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do 'll make him feel rich." Chapter 18, pg. 264 Pa asks Uncle John what he thinks about their situation, and he says talk isn't going to keep them from going at this point, so they decide to cross the desert that night
Tom lay down under the shade of some willow trees to sleep, but Noah came in and abruptly announced that he was parting with the family. He tells Tom to tell Ma. He will not leave the river. He explains that he can survive by fishing, and that no one will really miss him. Tom argues with him but then lets him leave.
Inside the tent, Ma fans Granma, who is restless and talking to Grampa again. Rose of Sharon is concerned that Granma may die. Ma says that when you are young you experience things alone. You suffer alone, but when you get older death and childbirth become part of a larger experience. "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', an' bearin' an' dyin' is two pieces of the same thing. An' then things ain't so lonely anymore. An' then a hurt don't hurt so bad." Chapter 18, pg. 268 A woman looks into the tent and says she heard they had a soul ready to go to heaven. Ma denies this. She says Granma is only tired. The woman says she will bring some people to hold a meeting in their tent. Ma will not let her. The woman forgives Ma for her hard heart, and says they will hold the meeting in their own tent. They hear the wild sounds of the meeting, and Granma appears to settle down. Ma and Rose of Sharon lay down to sleep, but are wakened by a policeman who demands to know who they are and tells them they better be gone by the next day. He does not want any Okies settling down. Ma threatens him with an iron skillet, and he moves on to the next tent.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 6
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 5
Later Ma tells Tom about it, and he says he would have hit the cop. Then Tom tells her that Noah is not coming with them. She lament that the "family's fallin' apart." Chapter 18, pg. 276 Tom calls the family together to get ready to leave. When Pa learns of Noah's desertion, he says it is his fault. Then Mr. Wilson says he and his wife cannot go because she is too weak to cross the desert. He rebuffs the proposal that everyone stay. He asks Casy to see his wife before he leaves. She asks him to pray for her. She confesses that she is dying and just wants to be close to another person before she goes. He says a silent prayer, and she thanks him. The family boils potatoes for dinner and fills barrels of water for the trip. They offer two dollars and some pork and potatoes to the Wilsons. Mr. Wilson refuses them, but the Joads leave their gift in front of the tent and leave.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 6
Topic Tracking: Humanity 5
The stop at a service station before the long trip across, and the attendant tells them they have nerve to cross in such a jalopy. They say it does not take nerve when you have got no choice. Everyone settles down for the long drive. Connie and Rose of Sharon wait for everyone to fall asleep so they can make love. Uncle John asks Casy if he is bringing bad luck to the family because he sinned when he did not get a doctor for his wife. Casy says he can't tell him what is a sin and is not a sin. He tells him to decide for himself. Ma is lying with Granma and comforting her. They come to an inspecting station, and the officer tells them that he needs to inspect the truck. Ma tells the man they cannot wait because they have a sick woman who needs to get to a doctor. The man shines a light on Granma's face and lets them go. When they get going, Ma tells them Granma is actually all right. They are confused by her actions.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 7
In the morning, they reach the other side of the desert. The valley is beautiful. Ma gets out of the truck looking very sick and tired. She tells the family that Granma died in the night, before the inspection station. She says she explained to Granma that the family had to get across, and that she could be buried in California. They are all awed by Ma's great strength and love.
Greedy Americans took California from the Mexicans. They wanted the land more than Mexicans wanted anything. So, they squatted on it until they owned it, and they worked it until they were safe from want. Then they began to loose their desperate need, which engendered their love for the land. They became like shopkeepers, buying and selling crop profits. Good shopkeepers bought the farms of the bad shopkeepers. The big farmers imported slave-like workers from foreign countries. These farmers no longer worked on the farms; they paid people to manage them.
When the dispossessed came west from the southeastern states, they were hated because they were strong and poor. The landowners feared that they might revolt. The bankers hated them because they had no money. Homeless migrants drive into towns and were directed to Hoovervilles, shantytowns. They covet the uncultivated acres of land surrounding them, but, when they covertly attempt to create a garden, deputies chase them off the land. "The cop was right. A crop raised - why, that makes ownership. Land howed and carrots eaten - a man might fight for land he's taken food from." Chapter 19, pg. 302 The child of a squatter shoots a police man who gets in a fight with his father. The owners are scared, and the migrants discuss war. The Department of Health tries to disband the Hoovervilles. The owners ignore the historical facts: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away; when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need; and repression works only to strengthen the repressed. The owners continue to repress the migrants. And the migrants pray, but someday the praying will stop.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 8
Topic Tracking: Endurance 7
Pa, Ma, and Uncle John come out of the coroner's office where they have left Granma's body. Ma is upset because she knows Granma wanted a proper burial. Pa says they could not afford it. They look for a place to camp and come upon a collection of shacks and tents. Pa asks one man if they can camp on the land, and the man responds nonsensically. Pa gets angry and stalks off. Another young man tells them they have just met the Mayor of Hooverville, which is what the campsite is called. He says the mayor is "bull simple," which means that too many cops have been pushing him around. The man says people are scared that the migrants might get organized against them. Tom says he is looking for work. The man responds "So you're lookin' for work. What ya think ever'body else is lookin' for? Di'monds? What you think I wore my ass down to a nub lookin' for? Chapter 20, pg. 312 He says there is no work nearby, and that he is heading north. Pa mentions the handbills he read, and the man explains that there are so many workers drawn by advertising that the owners can pay them fifteen cents an hour. There is only work during harvest time, and afterwards there is no work.
Tom wonders why the migrants do not organize. "Well, s'pose them people got together an' says , 'Let 'em rot.' Wouldn' be long 'fore the price went up, by God!" Chapter 20, pg. 315 The man says any migrant who is suspected of attempting to lead other migrants is put in jail or the owners are warned not to hire him. Either way his family starves. Tom says he is not going to take it. The man warns him not to make trouble, and invites him to a meeting that night.
Tom goes off to talk to Casy. Casy says he see and army of migrants without a leader. He says he has noticed this all the way over from Oklahoma. People ask him to say a pray for them, and he used to think that might help their troubles, but now he does not think so. Casy says he wants to leave, so that maybe he can do some good. Tom tells him to wait till tomorrow, and he agrees.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 9
Rose of Sharon is sick. Connie says maybe they should have stayed in Oklahoma where he could have learned to drive a tractor. Rose of Sharon eyed him critically, and asks if he is loosing hope. She demands that she have a house before the baby is born. Connie leaves the tent and walks down the road.
A crowd of children a drawn around the Joads tent by the smell of Ma's cooking. One girl offers to keep up the fire. She wants to be invited to dinner. The girl tells ma about a government camp with nice toilets and Saturday night dances.
Al visits the young man who is now working on his car. He offers to help, and the man introduces himself as Floyd Knowles. Al tells him about a time he got to drive an expensive car. Floyd says he better get used to jalopies. A car of men drives by and tells Floyd they have just come from looking for work and cannot find any.
Ma serves dinner, but Uncle John cannot eat in front of the circle of hungry children. There is not enough food for them. Ma tells the family to eat inside, and tells the kids they can have what is left. They scrape the pot clean. Later one of their mothers comes over and tells Ma not to give her children any more food.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 6
Al tells Tom to come talk to Floyd who tells them there is work 200 miles north. He gave them the tip because Al helped him out with his car. Tom is reluctant to agree to drive that far for work. Al suggests that he might go alone and come back. Tom says Ma will not like that. A nice car drives up, and a man gets out. He asks the men if they want work in Tulare county. They ask the contractor what he is paying, but he will not state a wage or sign them up to work. Floyd demands that he produce a contractor's license and state a wage. The man signals for the deputy he brought in his car to help him. The contractor asks the deputy if he recognizes Floyd. He gives him a look and decides he is the man who broke into a used car lot the week before. He tells him to get in the car. Tom protests, but they threaten to take him to jail, too. The deputy tells all the people that if they do not leave to go to Tulare, he is going to burn the campsite that night. Then, Floyd tries to escape. The deputy fires his gun and hits a woman's hand. Tom trips the deputy, and when he gets up Casy kicks him in the neck, knocking him unconscious. The contractor drives away in his car. Casy tells Tom to hide because he is wanted for breaking parole. When the police arrive, Casy takes all the blame. The contractor says he is not the right man, but they arrest him anyway.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 6
The family is surprised by Casy's action. Rose of Sharon comes out of the tent complaining about Connie. She thinks he should not have left her while she was sick. Ma tells her to get to work to calm herself. Uncle John tells Pa he has sinned and he has to confess. He pulls out a five-dollar bill. He says he has been saving it to get drunk, and he has to get drunk tonight. He says he cannot get through the night thinking about what Casy had just done. He gives Pa his five-dollar bill and asks for two, so he will not spend it all in one night. They let him go.
Al gets Tom and they talk to Floyd about leaving the camp. Floyd assures them that the deputy will get his friends to burn the camp down this night. They head back to tell the family. Rose of Sharon asks if Tom has seen Connie. Al says he saw him heading south down the river. Pa says Connie was no good. Rose of Sharon starts crying. Tom says they have to leave the camp that night. Tom goes out looking for Uncle John. He finds him in a ditch and has to knock him out and drag him back.
They leave a message for Connie, and drive away. Tom tells Ma he is getting mad. He says " If it was the law they was workin' with , why we could take it. But it ain't the law. They're a-workin' away at out spirits...they're workin' away at our decency." Chapter 20, pg. 357 Ma tells him to stay calm, not to break up the family any more than it is. They come to a blockade where they are kept from entering a town that does not want any "goddamn Okies." Tom chokes back sobs as he drives away having taken the insults without fighting back. Ma tells Tom to have patience. She says, " Why, Tom - us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people - we go on." Chapter 20, pg. 359 He tells Ma he is going to look for the government camp and he drives through the town using another route.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 8
The trip west transformed the farmers into migrants. The fear, the constant moving, and the hostility changed them and united them. Men of property were united in terror of the migrants. "Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants." Chapter 21, pg. 362 They wanted to keep the Okies out of their stores and out of their schools. All the locals of the Western towns, whether they owned property or not, were united in cruelty towards the invading migrants, because they hated the squalid nature of the migrant lifestyle and were threatened by competition for their own jobs. Wages stayed down and prices went up.
"And now the great owners and the companies invented a new method. A great owner bought a cannery. And when the peaches and the pears were ripe he cut the price of fruit below the price of raising it. And as cannery owner he paid himself a low price for the fruit and kept the price of canned goods up and took his profit." Chapter 21, pg. 363 Small independent farmers continued to loose their property. Money that could have gone to pay higher wages went to monitoring and controlling the migrant threat. Owners ignored the fact that hunger easily turns into anger. "On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment." Chapter 21, pg. 363
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 7
The Joads drive into the government camp, and find that there is one spot open. They find the camp has running water. Tom registers with the watchman while the family unloads. He finds out the camp is governed by committees of campers who are voted in by the community. The camp cost a dollar a week, but campers can work to pay their rent. Tom asks about the police, and is told that they can only enter if they have a warrant. The watchman tells him the camp holds special dance nights as well. Tom can hardly believe their good luck.
The next morning Tom wakes up to the sound of metal clanging. He walks down the line of tents and is invited to join a two men and a woman for breakfast. They tell him they have had twelve solid days of work. They have been eating regularly and just bought themselves new clothes. They are the Wallaces. They offer to help Tom get a job laying pipes with them, and he accepts. When they arrive Thomas, their employer, tells them they have to take a pay cut, from thirty cents to twenty-five cents. He explains angrily that the Association of Farmers, which is run by a large bank, has mandated the pay cut. He hates to pay them less than they deserve, but he has to if he wants to keep his farm. They accept the new rate. Then Thomas tells them that someone is trying to set up a fight at the next Saturday night dance. "The Association don't like government camps. Can't get a deputy in there. The people make their own laws, I hear, and you can't arrest a man without a warrant. Now if there was a big fight and maybe shooting - a bunch of deputies could go in and clean out the camp." Chapter 22, pg. 378 They promise not to tell anyone he warned them. Then they get to work digging a ditch.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 7
Back at the camp, Ruthie and Winfield investigate the toilets. When Winfield flushes one, the sound of rushing water convinces them they have broken it. Later Ma laughs at them and tells them that is the way it is supposed to work. Ma looks around the bathroom and begins washing her face when a man comes in and tells her she is in the men's bathroom. He also tells her a committee is coming to inform her of the way the camp is run. She runs back to her tent and wakes everyone up and tells them to clean up so they can be ready for the committee. While Ma is cooking breakfast, the manager of the camp, Ezra Huston, stops by. Ma is suspicious of him at first, but he befriends her quickly over a cup of her coffee. She says that her family is not ready for the committee because they have been traveling, but he says the committee will understand. Ma is so happy she almost cries after he leaves. "We're Joads. We don't look up to nobody...We was farm people till the debt. And then - them people. They done sompin' to us. Ever' time they come seemed like they was a-whippin' me - all of us...Made me feel ashamed. An' now I ain't ashamed. These folks is our folks." Chapter 22, pg. 393 Al, Pa, and Uncle John leave to find work. Rose of Sharon comes in and tells Ma she has just taken a shower. Ma gets excited and goes in to take one herself. While she is gone, a woman walks by and notices that Rose of Sharon is pregnant. The woman warns her about the sinful "clutch-an'-hug dancin'" Chapter 22, pg. 394 and devilish stage acting that goes on at the Saturday night dances. She tells her to be a good girl, because she knew people whose child was born black because of their sin. Rose of Sharon fears she will loose her baby. The manager comes by and reassures her that what the woman said is nonsense. Ma returns and also comforts her.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 8
The committee arrives and takes Ma and Rose of Sharon on a tour of the camp beginning with the sanitary unit. The three women of the committee explain how everything is used and tell Ma that it must be left clean. They tell her a story about a woman who they found trying to clean her clothes in a toilet. Another woman in the sanitary unit confesses to the committee that her children have diarrhea and are using too much toilet paper. The committee chair suggests that the woman borrow money from the camp to get proper food for her children until her family finds work. The camp has credit at a local store. The woman balks at taking charity, but the committee explains that this isn't charity. One woman tells a story about going to the Salvation Army. She says they made them crawl for their food. They took their dignity.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 8
Meanwhile, Pa, Al, and John have difficulty finding work and decide to come back to camp to ask around for leads. They pick up a man who has been walking all day looking for work.
After the committee leaves, the religious fanatic who scared Rose of Sharon earlier stops by and introduces herself as Mrs. Sandry. She complains that all the people in the camp are sinners, but Ma disagrees with her. Mrs. Sandry insists that everyone in the camp is a black sinner, and Ma gets up and tells her to leave. Mrs. Sandry says the Joads are going to burn in hell, and then she begins howling and salivating. "I can see your black soul a-burnin'. I see that innocent child in that there girl's belly a-burnin'." Chapter 22, pg. 409 Her eyes roll back and she collapses on the floor. Men come and drag her out. The manager comes and explains that Mrs. Sandry is crazy. When Pa arrives he notices that Ma is moping. She explains that now that she feels settled, she cannot stop thinking about all the sad things that have happened on the trip. Pa is also depressed because he could not find work. Ma is optimistic that work will come up because Tom found work so easily.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 10
The migrants found time for pleasure amidst a painful existence. "The migrant people, scuttling for work, scrabbling to live, looked always for pleasure, dug for pleasure, manufactured pleasure, and they were hungry for amusement." Chapter 23, pg. 415
People gathered to listen to good jokes and stories. They lived great lives vicariously. Those that went to the movies, always drew a crowd when they returned. Migrants could find temporary heaven in drunkenness. Alcohol allowed one to join the "brotherhood of worlds," Chapter 23, pg, 418 and made everything and every man holy. Music was also a source of pleasure for the migrant. They played harmonicas, guitars and fiddles. They play a "Chicken Reel" and dance all night. Others go to lively prayer meetings. "Wisht I knowed what all the sins was, so I could do 'em. The migrants looked humbly for pleasure on the roads." Chapter 23, pg. 421
Topic Tracking: Holiness 11
Saturday morning, the women washed clothes and others were stringing up wire to light the floor of the dance platform for the evening's festivities. Ezra Huston, the chairman, led a meeting of the Central Committee to discuss the news that someone might try to start a fight that evening. They have posted men to keep unwanted people from coming into the camp. They have increased the entertainment committee from five men to twenty-five men, and instructed them to dance while watching for trouble. The committee members cannot understand why anyone would want to destroy the camp.
Al put on a suit and shined his shoes before he went to the dance. He flirts with a girl. He mother comes out and shoes him away, saying that the girl is spoken for by another man. Rose of Sharon decided she doesn't want to go to the dance because of her condition. She is still mourning Connie's disappearance. Wille Eaton, a member of the Central Committee, tells Tom he is going to help guard the front gate with an Indian named Jule. He is to make sure no troublemakers get in. Tom will also be one of the dancers watching on the dance floor. Ma tells Rose of Sharon to come to the dance with her and just listen to the music. Ma says she will tell anyone who wants to dance with Rose of Sharon that she is sick. She agrees to go.
At the gate, Jule picks out three men who say Mr. Jackson invited them. Tom follows them to the dance floor, and tells Willie about them. They find Mr. Jackon and he says he used to work with them but has not invited them. The dance opens with the "Chicken Reel." After a few dances, one of the suspected men insists on dancing with another man's partner. A whistle sounds and the entertainment committee reaches him and moves him off the platform slowly. Immediately, a carload of cops arrives at the gate to the camp and tells the watchman to open up. They say they hear a riot, but the watchman tells them to listen to the quiet music of the dance. Meanwhile, the three guilty men are escorted to the edge of the camp and questioned. The men are migrants themselves. They do not confess, but they are warned not to try to hurt their own folks again. "We're tryin' to get along, havin' fun an' keepin' order. Don't tear all that down. Jes' think about it. You're jes' harmin' yourself." Chapter 24, pg. 439 They are put out of the camp peacefully, despite Jule's desire to punish them.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 9
Pa talks with a man named Black Hat that evening who tells him about a group of men in Ohio who formed a union and threatened the town they worked in by walking through the town together on a "turkey hunt." After that incident, the town's officials accepted the union and changes were made. Black Hat says, " I been thinkin' maybe we ought to git up a turkey shootin' club an' have meetin's ever' Sunday." Chapter 24, pg. 440 This makes the men uneasy.
California is beautiful in the spring. "All of California quickens with produce, and the fruit grows heavy." Chapter 25, pg. 441 Men of knowledge protect the crops from disease and insects. They graft grape vines with the skill of surgeons. "The year is heavy with produce. And men are proud, for of their knowledge they can make the year heavy. They have transformed the world with their knowledge." Chapter 25, pg. 442 The small farmer has benefited by the scientific advances in agriculture, but because he has to sell his produce to large canneries at a price competitive with the produce from large farms he cannot afford to harvest his crop. These farmers will be bought out by the owners of large farms who also own canneries. Crops go to waste because the farmers cannot afford to harvest them, and the smell of rotting fills the country. More and more people are being forced into poverty and watch food being wasted while they starve. "In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage." Chapter 25, pg. 445
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 9
After one month at the government camp, the Joads are nearing the end of their funds. Tom only had five days of work, and the other men did not get any work. Ma forces the topic of moving after dinner. They are all loath to leave the camp for another Hooverville, but they only have food for two more days. They decide to go to Tulare to pick cotton the next day. Al has saved a full tank of gas. The family disperses to get ready for the trip. Rose of Sharon says she thinks her baby is going to be deformed because she has not had enough milk. Ma comforts her by giving her a pair of gold earrings and piercing her ears with a needle.
Al takes a walk and meets up with a blond girl who he has been sleeping with. He tells her he is leaving, but that he will come back with a lot of money and take her to the movies. Pa tells the men of the camp that he and his family are leaving. Tom tells his friends Willie and Jule that he is leaving. They talk about organizing and unions. Willie says deputies do not pick on a group of organized migrants. " They ain't rainsin' hell with no two hundred men. They're pickin' on one man." Chapter 26, pg. 456
Early the next morning, Ma gets everyone up. Al cranks the battery and they all have cold biscuits before leaving the camp. They notice that winter is coming, and Ma says she has to have a house before winter. Then from the front of the truck comes a hissing sound. They stop and discover they have run over a nail. They patch up the puncture with the last of their tire glue and pumped the tire up. As they were finishing up the job, a roadster pulled up across the highway from them. A man got out and asked them if they were looking for work. He directed them to the Hooper ranch were they could find work picking peaches. They all get excited. Ma starts talking about what food she is going to buy. Tom tells some jail stories. When they arrive at the ranch they are met by the police who put them in a group of six cars being escorted by a police motorcycles to the ranch. They pass a group of men and woman shouting before they pass through the gate of the ranch, which is guarded by two armed men.
A man meets them and tells them the rate is five cents per box of peaches picked. He directs them to house sixty-three and tells to get to work immediately. Two policemen inspect them, checking for criminals. Ma finds out they can get credit at the store for work they have done. The men leave to begin working. The first box Tom fills is not counted because the fruit is bruised. They work more carefully after that and the whole family joins in. They make a dollar by night, but Ma finds that a dollars worth of credit does not go very far at the ranch store. The prices are higher there and the quality lower. The man working there makes fun of Ma's complaints, but she realizes he is ashamed of his job and acts flippant as a way of coping with his shame. She does not have enough money to get sugar for the coffee, but he pays for a dime of sugar for her. She says, "I'm learin' one thing good...If you're in trouble or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones." Chapter 26, pg. 479
Topic Tracking: Humanity 10
Ma makes dinner and they eat but Tom is still hungry. She tells them dinner cost a whole dollar. Tom leaves to go find out what was going on out side the camp. A guard near the edge of the ranch turns Tom back saying he better not get mixed up with the picketers. Tom did not know the people were picketing. Tom walks back toward the camp but then turns in toward the fence and slips under it. He follows some people toward a camp where he finds Jim Casy. Casy tells him about his experiences in jail. He says once all of them were given sour beans to eat and they all started yelling together and the guards brought them something better. Casy says he learned a lot at the jail, and now he is trying to organize people. He came to this camp and they offered to pay two and a half cents per box of peaches. Tom says they are paying five cents now. Casy says they will not pay five cents once the strike he has organized ends. He asks Tom to tell the others inside about the strike. Tom doesn't think it will do much good. He tells Casy about the government camp. Casy says he would like to see one functioning.
The men at the camp get nervous and they hear men approaching the camp from all sides. They try to escape but are pointed out with flashlights. Casy says, "You fellas don' know what you're doin'." Chapter 26, pg. 491 A man hits Casy in the head with a pick ax, killing him. Tom reacts by wrenching the ax from the man's hand and killing him with it. Another man wounds him in the head with another ax. Tom runs and hides in some brush and slowly makes his way back to the camp.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 10
The next morning, Ma finds Tom in bed with blood covering his torn face and broken nose. He explains what happened to the family and tells them not to tell anyone. He suggests that he should leave so the family will not be dragged into his mess. Ma gets angry and says, "Goin' away ain't gona ease us. It's gonna bear us down...They was the time when we was on the lan'. They was a boundary to us then. Ol' folks dies off, an' little fellas come, an' we was one thing - we was the fambly - kinda whole and clear. An' we ain't clear no more." Chapter 26, pg. 500 She tells Tom to stay and help keep the family together. He assents. Everyone except he and Rose of Sharon leaves to pick peaches. They have lowered the wage to two and a half cents as Casy predicted. Winfield gets diarrhea after eating too many peaches and passes out in the field. Ma tells Pa to get him some milk at the store for Winfield. Everyone else eats mush. They save the rest of their money to get gas to leave. Pa says the deputies claim a worker killed one of their men before Casy was killed. Tom says, "Well, this fella don' want no hangin', 'cause he'd do it again. An' same time, he don't aim to bring trouble down on his folks. Ma - I got to go." Chapter 26, pg. 509 Ma refuses to let Tom leave. Ma tells Al to back the truck up against the door to their hut and they hide Tom between two mattresses. They drive out of the camp and see a sign asking for cotton pickers. Tom suggests that they stay in some abandoned boxcars they drive by. He leaves them to go hide in the bushes of a nearby creek.
There are signs along the highways advertising for cotton pickers. Those who do not have sacks to hold their cotton can buy one for a dollar or borrow a dollar from their first one hundred and fifty pounds picked. A picker gets eighty cents for the first time across the field and ninety cents for the second time over. Sometimes the men who weigh the cotton have weighted the scales against the pickers and sometimes the pickers put rocks in their bags to add weight. The workers have to keep track of how much they have picked so that the days total will not be added up incorrectly. The pay is not bad, but there are so many workers that the work rarely last long. Sometimes a man can't even pick enough to pay off the price of his bag. Workers can afford to eat meat every night, but they can rarely save any money for the fast approaching winter when no work can be found in California.
The Joads move into one end of the last boxcar. Two rows of six cars sit next to a stream. They provide watertight, draft-free housing for the first twenty-four families that arrive to pick cotton. Everyday the Joads pick cotton and make enough money to buy meat for dinner. They buy a tin stove, new overalls for all the men, and a new dress for Ma with the money they make. Pa splurges on two boxes of Cracker Jack for Ruthie and Winfield. They go out and play, and Ruthie gets into a fight with a bigger girl. Ruthie tells her she has an older brother who is hiding because he killed a man, and that he is going to kill the girl's older brother. Winfield runs home and tells Ma.
Ma goes to tell Tom immediately. She sets his dinner down in the designated culvert and hides herself while she waits for Tom to appear. When he comes he leads her back to his cave. There she tells him what Ruthie has done. She says he has to leave. He agrees. She offers him seven dollars that she has saved. She suggests that he take a bus to a big city so he cannot be found. He says he has been thinking while hiding in the cave. He has been thinking about Casy, and wants to organize the migrants like Casy tried to do. He quotes some scripture that Casy told him, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up." Chapter 28, pg. 533 Tom is less afraid of the risk of leading the people since he is already an outlaw, and he says is he does die it will not matter. "A fella ain't got a soul of his own, but on'y a piece of a big one...then I'll be around in the dark. I'll be ever'where - wherever you look." Chapter 28, pg. 534 He accepts the seven dollars and Ma leaves. On the way back to the boxcar, Ma meets a farmer looking for cotton pickers. They discuss the rumor that wages will drop from ninety to seventy five cents the next year. He says, "Little fella like me can't do anything. The Association sets the rate, and we got to mind. If we don't - we ain't go to farm. The little fella gets crowded all the time." Chapter 28, pg. 536 She tells him her family will be at his farm the next day.
Topic Tracking: Holiness 12
When she gets back, Pa and the head of the family living on the other side of their boxcar, Mr. Wainwright, are discussing his daughter's relationship with Al. She and Al spend every night together. Mr. Wainwright asks Pa to tell Al not to compromise their daughter, Aggie. Pa assents. When Mr. Wainwright leaves, Ma tells the family she has sent Tom away. Pa is depressed. He says, "I ain't no good no more. Spen' all my time thinkin' of home, an' I ain't never gonna see it no more." Chapter 28, pg. 538 Ma encourages him. She says life isn't over, that it keeps coming, and you have to live it one day at a time. Al comes in and announces his intention to marry Aggie. The Wainwrights and Joads celebrate with coffee, pancakes, and syrup. Rose of Sharon walks out of the car during the party and crawls into a thicket and goes to sleep there.
Topic Tracking: Endurance 9
The next morning, Rose of Sharon says she is going to go out and pick cotton. They leave early to get to the new picking field, but so many people arrive that the twenty acres are picked by eleven o'clock. On the way back it begins to rain. Rose of Sharon looks sick. It is pouring rain when they get back and Rose of Sharon is chilled.
Clouds march inland, over the mountains, from the coast. The clouds settle in the valley, the wind stops, and the rain begins to beat down in a steady tempo. For two days the earth absorbs the water and then pools begin to form in the low places. When the mountains fill they overflow into the valleys. The streams and rivers are gorged. The valley begins to flood. Migrants build dikes, but they are swept away. Their cars will not start because the wires are shorted, and their tents are flooded. There is no more work in California for three months. The migrant community is wracked with hunger and sickness. The men go out to beg for food, even rotten food. Deputies are called in to control the starving migrants. Men and boys, goaded by hunger, begin to steal. They would steal brazenly, carrying squawking chickens off, without fear of being shot down. One man related a story. "Fella had a team of horses, had to use 'em to plow an' cultivate an' mow, wouldn' think a turnin' 'em out to starve when they wasn't workin'. Them's horses - we're men." Chapter 29, pg. 553 The men gathered together and their fear turned into wrath.
Topic Tracking: Inhumanity 11
The water crept up from the stream near the boxcars. On the second day of rain, Al took the tarpaulin separating the two sides of the boxcar and draped it over the front end of the truck. On the third day, the two families argue over whether to leave or not. The boxcar is a nice dry place, but it may flood because it is near the stream. Pa decided to get some other men to help him build a small dike.
Rose of Sharon has a severe cold and fever and begins to have labor pangs. Pa returns and find out Rose of Sharon is having the baby. He tells the other men and they rush to build the dike. They shovel mud madly and the stream encroaches. The mud wall was holding the stream back, but a tree ripped up by the flood crashed into the wall and broke it. Al goes to try to start the truck, but the battery will not start. He tries to crank it, but the truck is too deeply submerged in water. When Pa returns to the car he finds out that the baby has been stillborn. Pa says he could not have done anything more. Ma says, "No. They was on'y one thing to do - ever - an' we done it." Chapter 30, pg. 564 Ma and Mrs. Wainwright talk about helping each other. Ma says, "Use' ta be the fambly was fust. It ain't so now. It's anybody. Worse off we get, the more we got to do." Chapter 30, pg. 566 Ma says they will leave only when the car begins to flood. She and Rose of Sharon sleep until then.
Topic Tracking: Humanity 11
Pa, Al, and Uncle John measure how fast the water is rising. They decide the water will cover the floor of the boxcar but won't rise much further because it will flood over the highway embankment at that point. They decide to build a platform in the boxcar to keep their belongings dry. Pa tells Uncle John to bury the dead baby while he and Al build the platform. Uncle John takes the baby to bury it, but lets it float away in the stream instead. He says "Go down the stream an' tell 'em. Go down the stream an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way you can talk." Chapter 30, pg. 569
Pa goes to the store to get food for breakfast and returns with bread and bacon. He has spent all the money. Pa and Al build the platform and place all their stuff on it as well at Rose of Sharon. When the water comes into the boxcar they all huddle on the platform. On the second day, Pa leaves and comes back with ten potatoes. The family eats these and stays another night. Ma decides they must leave the next morning. Pa carries Rose of Sharon across the water to the highway embankment, Ma carried Winfield on her shoulders, and Uncle John carries Ruthie. Al stays behind with the Wainwrights. Ma tells him to tell Tom they are coming back when it is dry if he sees him. They begin walking and spot a barn on a hill. They head for it as a heavy rain approaches.
Inside the barn, they find dry hay. As Rose of Sharon lies down she spots a man and a boy lying in a corner of the barn. Ma goes over to them, and the boy tells her his father is starving. She tells the boy not to worry. The boy becomes frantic and exclaims that his father is dying. Ma and Rose of Sharon look at each other and Rose of Sharon asks everyone to leave the farm. Ma leads everyone to the tool shed. Rose of Sharon goes to the man and lies down beside him. She takes his head and guides his mouth to her breast. "She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously." Chapter 30, pg. 578
Topic Tracking: Humanity 12