Grapes of Wrath Chapter 6
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
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.