Book Notes Chapter 4 Notes from Grapes of Wrath

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Grapes of Wrath Chapter 4

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.

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