Book Notes Chapter 5 Notes from Grapes of Wrath

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Grapes of Wrath Chapter 5

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

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