Grapes of Wrath Chapter 30
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.
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