The Grapes of Wrath
This 1939 classic tells of the odyssey of the Joad family from wind-swept Oklahoma to California.
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Below is a video of the U.S. Army Chorus performing the entire "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the commemoration of the George W. Bush presidential library. Since the Civil War, this Christian hymn has been associated with the American military. (This annotation contains a video)
Below is an image of the original cover artwork of the text. (This annotation contains an image)
These texts and media are source pieces for Steinbeck's novel. Steinbeck utilized these sources as inspiration for his content and structure.
Even seventy-five years after its initial publication, Steinbeck's novel is still both acclaimed and criticized. Below is a link to an article written in 2014 criticizing Steinbeck's portrayal of the migrant class in California. (This annotation contains a link)
Please note the structure of the text. Steinbeck deliberately uses juxtaposition of the Joad family's experience and the universal migrant life.
Steinbeck chose to write his characters speaking in vernacular, the language or dialect of ordinary people in a particular region or country. Writing in vernacular is an important method of characterization. Authors also use vernacular to create a sense of a particular setting. In Steinbeck's novel, the characters speak in a vernacular specific to many rural agricultural communities in the South and Mid-west. Steinbeck creates a written sense of a spoken vernacular with alternate spellings, a method employed by authors like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.
Read the highlighted text. After you read the story, do you think that Steinbeck achieved his purpose: to write in a style that captures the "way lives are being lived" and not in the way books are written?
Please note the four levels of text: 1. The Joad family experience 2. The migrant experience 3. The American history and perspective 4. The Biblical allusions
Read the highlighted passage about Steinbeck's achievements and abilities as a writer. Explain Steinbeck's metaphor "A novelist is a kind of flypaper to which everything adheres" to describe his own writing ability.
Steinbeck's first wife, Carol, played a large role in his life. Do you think she was an inspiration for any of his characters?
Steinbeck researched extensively to write this text and included actual occurrences when possible.
Based on the highlighted passage, what was John Steinbeck's motivation for writing this novel?
Steinbeck's anger towards the banks, landowners and local agencies is evident by his diction. What terms does he use to describe them in a letter to his editor?
The human qualities of Steinbeck's characters resonates with readers. This element helps make the novel a success.
Steinbeck calls the text a "truly American book." After reading the text, do you agree? Why or why not?
Though some of Steinbeck's choice in diction and action were considered gratuitous or vulgar, he believed they were necessary to accurately portray the plight of the migrant worker.
Please read carefully the reasons why people do not appreciate the text. They are just as important as why people enjoy and value the text.
Why is the text still relevant in today's society seventy-five years later? Do we still see the same social and economic issues?
During the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, dust storms ravaged the mid-west of the United States. In farming communities, dust storms destroyed crops and made the land fallow when the topsoil blew away. Farmers abandoned their land in order to find a living and support their families. Many headed west to California in search of work and land. They found few jobs and no land. Below is a photo of an Oklahoma dust storm. (This annotation contains an image)
To describe the aftermath of the dust storm, Steinbeck writes, "In the morning the dust hung like fog, and the sun was as red as ripe new blood." Which literary device does Steinbeck use in this sentence?
Though the man sitting on the running board is wearing a new suit, he isn't wealthy. The suit doesn't fit, it is cheap and he isn't comfortable in the attire. His body language contradicts his new suit and shoes.
During the Great Depression, people wore what they had. There was no selection of shoes or clothes to choose from each day. As a result, men wearing dress shoes to work or a suit to farm were accepted anomalies.
In Tom's dialogue with the trucker, the trucker laments how "the road gets into a guy." Tom responds with no emphasis, "Must be tough." Based on his tone, what can you infer about Tom's feelings about the man's complaints?
Tom informs the driver that he is recently released from prison for committing a murder. Tom is annoyed with the driver for feigning ignorance about Tom's situation. Tom doesn't seem to have much patience for people who are not frank or sincere.
The land turtle struggles to make it up the embankment along the highway. All of the following adjectives characterize the turtle except
Steinbeck does not waste a chapter discussing a turtle. This turtle is an important symbol of Tom Joad and his family. This turtle could represent any family during the 1930s who were displaced and migratory. Consider the terms you would use to describe the turtle and his journey.
If the turtle is symbolic of the displaced families' struggles during the Great Depression, what does it symbolize when Tom Joad picks up the turtle?
Jim Casy is a former preacher who "ain't got the call no more." He feels that his ideas are sinful, but "kinda sensible." Casy believes a Christian preacher's job is not only to profess the teachings of the Bible, but to provide a moral compass to his congregation. When Casy explains how his ideas are sinful and sensible, it is understandable why he does not identify himself as a preacher anymore. Watch the clip below from the 1930s of a popular preacher named Billy Sunday. Sunday left a career as a baseball player to become an evangelist. He is best known for his sermons against alcohol and his support of prohibition. (This annotation contains a video)
Casy is tormented because as a preacher he was responsible for "savin' [people's] souls" yet he slept with women after preaching to people, an act that goes against Christian teachings. This is an example of a(n)
Casy's time alone leads him to believe that there are no absolutes about sin and virtue. He describes a world that is devoid of black and white in terms of sin and righteousness but is filled with shades of gray. He is concerned that he may have done more harm than good as a preacher without true faith.
As Tom describes his ordeal, from the murder he committed to his time in jail to his release, he is frank and sincere. He admits no shame in his misdeeds and also admits a fear of assimilating back into a society he has a hand in shaping. He tells a story about a man who purposely finds his way back into jail because he felt "lonesome out there in the open havin' to think what to do next." These feelings are referred to as institutionalization, a syndrome people can develop after long periods in jails, hospitals or prisons.
Casy alludes to the story of the Prodigal Son from the Bible. The parable is about a man with two sons. He divides his property among them equally. The younger of the two sons leaves his home and family. The elder son stays and works along side his father obediently. The younger son squanders his money and returns home destitute to seek his father's forgiveness. The father is so overjoyed, he kills the "fatted calf" and celebrates. The elder son is upset and will not attend the celebration because he feels slighted by his father. The father explains how he felt his younger son was lost, but was found again. Below is a link to the entire parable. Ultimately, the story is about loss and redemption. (This annotation contains a link)
Tom explains a key difference between his father and his Uncle John. One plans and sees his plans foiled, but the other seizes opportunities before him to avoid any unforeseen issues. How might this key difference impact the plot?
What literary device does Steinbeck employ to describe the banks and large companies that lend money to the small farmers?
This chapter is told from an omniscient perspective about an ambiguous family. This structure is purposeful. Steinbeck introduces historical context, an event or a scenario and then explores the human element in the proceeding chapter. Steinbeck also illustrates the social and familial hierarchy in this chapter. The men are responsible for sustenance while the women are responsible for the home. When the men need to think and worry, the women provide them the peace and space to do so.
Steinbeck juxtaposes man and machine to underscore how a machine cannot think or feel and therefore cannot know the value of the land. According to Steinbeck, when a man controls a machine, he becomes one with the machine and loses his humanity to the machine. As the tractor drives across the land, Steinbeck describes the plowing of the land as "raping methodically, raping without passion." What is Steinbeck trying to convey by using this metaphor?
Highlight and outline the two sides of the argument. Is the land an extension of a man or is the land a burden for the man? Does a man become indentured to the land?
All of the following terms characterize Tom's mood as he approaches his former home except of the following?
Tom realizes that no one is there anymore. The feral cat indicates there is no one left. Below is a picture from the Great Depression of an abandon farm in the Oklahoma panhandle covered in dust dunes. (This annotation contains an image)
When Tom realizes he still has the turtle captive, he releases it. The turtle immediately resumes its journey. Tom observes that turtles are "always goin' someplace. They always seem to want to get there." What does the turtle symbolize?
Tom finds out from a neighbor that the events described in the previous chapter are a reality for his parents and family. They believe they can go west to find work and jobs. Based on the image below, do you think that will be easily accomplished? (This annotation contains an image)
When Muley tells the preacher and Tom that he is "mad at all of it" and decides to stay despite his family leaving, the preacher replies, "You should of went too. You shouldn't of broke up the fambly." This implies that family is
When Muley says, "You fellas'd think I'm touched, the way I live" he is stating that the men think he is crazy. Do you think Muley is crazy?
Muley's memory about his father's death and his blood on the ground illustrates the theme of
Tom's recounting of the night he murdered a man is accurate. He does not try to place the blame on the victim and does not disparage his character. He speaks plainly and honestly.
Willy Feeley is a man who drives the tractors for the larger corporation. Muley explains that he is "stumped" by Willy because "Willy belongs;" he grew up farming alongside families like the Joads. Now Willy is driving a tractor and is going to oversee work on his parent's former land. This is an example of
Initially Muley does not seem to of sound mind, but he explains that he is now living like prey. He has learned how to survive, and he explains to Tom that in order to do that one must not allow his ego to interfere.
Muley tells Tom and Casy that he will show them where to sleep because they can't sleep near or in one of the homes. Muley brings them to a cave Tom and his brother dug out years before. Tom won't sleep in the cave, but Muley likes it because he feels "like nobody can come at me." Is there a symbolic significance to the cave? Support your answer using textual evidence.
This chapter is another link in the chain of the plot. This chapter is not about the Joad family specifically, but it outlines what is happening to many families as they are preparing to move west. In this case, Steinbeck describes the sales of used cars to the families. The families needed to purchase a vehicle to move west. Like the banks and the corporate farms, the car dealerships also exploit the displaced farmers. This is a motif you will see repeated throughout the text. View the video below to help you to understand a motif. A motif assists the reader in understanding the overall themes of a text. Which theme do you think this motif supports? (This annotation contains a video)
When a customer wants to trade in mules for a car, which two ideas are juxtaposed?
Once again, the people who represent the business and who are directly exploiting the people in need displace the responsibility for their actions to the larger and faceless company. How does this illustrate a motif?
Uncle John feels as if it is his fault that his young wife died. As a result, he feels he must _______ for his sin. This is the second man we meet who feels he must pay penance for his sin.
Tom tells Casy not to kill a gopher snake. A gopher snake is harmless to people and actually kills rattlesnakes and eat mice and rats. Below is an image of a gopher snake. (This annotation contains an image)
Many people traveled to California in cars outfitted to carry more than their capacity. This was to insure that the entire family and all of their belongings would fit. The adaptations to the vehicles the farmers made were homemade and usually unsafe. Below is a picture of a family packed into a car with all their belongings to travel. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the highlighted passage, Pa Joad can be characterized as
There are two important annotations to note here: 1. Think back to the parable of the prodigal son. How is Tom's return similar? 2. The mood changes instantly when Pa Joad realizes his son has returned. How does the mood change? View the video clip below to review mood. (This annotation contains a video)
Ma Joad is characterized as "the citadel of the family." Based on the text, citadel most nearly means
Ma Joad wonders if Tom is mad after his release from prison. What she is really asking him if he is bitter and resentful for going to prison. This is juxtaposed with the situation the Joads are in now; they are resentful and bitter because they are in some respects prisoners too. Think back to the previous chapter and the conflict between the tractor driver and the farmer. There are two emerging themes illustrated through this dialogue. The first is man's relationship to the land. The second is plight of the migrant.
Tom's older brother Noah is different than most people. He "moved slowly, spoke seldom" and was "strange." Pa Joad believed it is due to his errors in judgement. This is another example of the __________ of repentance for sin or the guilt of the sinner.
Casy is still trying to explain to the people that is no longer a preacher, but the Joads have a difficult time comprehending that idea. Once a man had the calling to preach the Bible's lessons and morals, people did not believe that a man could quit that job as you would quit a job working a factory or a bank.
Grampa Joad is excited to get to California so he can pick grapes and "squash 'em on [his] face an' let 'em run offen my chin." To Grampa, the trip to California symbolizes
Al is initially characterized as an teenager who believes that appearances and not true substance matters. He admires his brother's ability to kill a man, but he doesn't yet realize what the ramifications of performing the act have on his brother. As he approaches Tom he is strutting around like a rooster, but once he sees Tom's "smooth hard face trained to indicate nothing...neither resistance or slavishness" Al imitates his brother's countenance. Al begins this journey innocent and immature on some levels.
What does the phrase "you're not buying only junk, you're buying junked lives" mean in the context of migration?
The displaced farmers ask, "How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?" These question exemplify the theme of man's connection to the land. The land is part of their family history. It is where generations of people have lived and died, so losing the land is like losing their history.
Ma Joad is fearful about moving to California because it seems wonderful. She is "scared of stuff so nice." What is the impetus for her hesitancy?
Pamphlets were handed out to an abundance of farmers who lost their farms to encourage them to move west. Due to the high numbers of people who responded to the pamphlets and moved west, the farmers didn't find the work they were promised. Families like the Joads cannot believe that someone would waste money to produce a "han'bill" when there wouldn't be enough jobs. They don't comprehend squandering anything, let alone money. (This annotation contains an image)
Casy is strange to the Joad family because of his reluctancy to be a preacher. Ma Joad tells Tom, "he looks baptized. Got that look they call lookin' through." What can you infer about Casy by that statement?
Tom's point of view is different from the rest of his family because his experience is unique. He demonstrates this quality when he discusses what a preacher is and what a preacher isn't.
Based on the highlighted passage, all of the following terms characterize Uncle John except
The Joad family seems to have the worst misfortune, but they are not alone. The Joads are the "everyman" character in the text. In literature an "everyman" represents the average individual with whom the audience or reader can relate. Some critics believe the novel transcends the time period of the 1930s because the Joads' struggles with finances, faith and guilt are felt by many. The only mutable element may be the circumstances that cause the strife.
Steinbeck describes in detail the family in physical relation to one another. Grampa, Pa Joad and Uncle John are "the nucleus," and rounding out the nucleus are the elder sons, Noah, Tom and Al. On the outside of the semicircle of men stand the women. What is Steinbeck illustrating with this image?
When Pa Joad asks if they can feed an extra mouth, it is a serious question and not an attempt to find an excuse to not include the preacher. Ma Joad's response, "It ain't kin we? It's will we?" She will not allow dire straits to tarnish the family's reputation and refuse to help someone in need. This exemplifies the themes of humanity, family and community.
As the family prepares for their trip, the mood can best be described as
As the Joads prepare for their journey, their anxiety and apprehension is expressed through their haste.
What does Ma Joad's burning of her papers and documents symbolize?
The Joads invite Muley to accompany them to California, but he won't. Which emotion do you think is holding him back--guilt, shame or fear?
Steinbeck presents two characters who are in similar situations: Muley and Grampa Joad. Both men have trepidation about leaving their land, but Muley decided to stay long ago and now cannot leave to reunite with his family. Grampa wants to stay and separate from his family. Why do both men want to stay? What is keeping them from moving forward? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
There is no turning back for the Joad family. They have sold their possessions and have nothing left in Oklahoma.
Quiz #1 Chapters 1-10
Steinbeck contrasts the use of horses to plow the land versus a tractor. A major difference is when the horse "stops work and goes into the barn there is a life and vitality left," but when a tractor stops, "it is as dead as the ore it came from." What theme is emerging in this juxtaposition of horse drawn plows versus motorized plows?
According to the website "America on the Move," Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 as a means of connecting the Midwest to the Southwest. It ran from Chicago to California and was fully paved by the late 1930s. It is not the longest highway in the US or the most traveled, but it is the most well-known. (This annotation contains an image)
This chapter illustrates a common problem for families headed to California in search of work. The mass exodus created feelings of animosity between locals and the incoming people. This is an example of what type of conflict?
Steinbeck his frustration with the exploitation of the individual by big business when he narrates, "Fella in business got to lie an' cheat, but he calls it somepin else... They call that sound business." According to Steinbeck, business is only successful when a person or group of people is exploited. That exploitation is achieved through manipulation of language and situations. George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm and 1984, wrote an essay titled "Politics and the English Language." The essay discusses the use of language to manipulate reality and influence people's decisions.Below is a link to the Orwell essay to read for further comparison. (This annotation contains a link)
When Al asks his mother if she is scared about going to California, she tells him "a little," but she doesn't allow herself to concentrate on her fear. He then asks her if she is afraid it "won't be nice like we thought?" She answers that she doesn't think too far ahead, but Al has to "live ahead 'cause you're so young." This exchange demonstrates the motif of
The exchange between the gas station attendant/owner and the Joads demonstrates that everyone has the same struggles. This man is a small business owner, like the Joads were small farmers, and he is unsuccessfully competing with larger corporations. Though he isn't a farmer, he faces the same consequences. This motif supports the themes of modernization and dehumanization of man.
When the narrator says, "the imitation was a failure and the owner had known it was a failure" what situation is he referring to?
When the family dog is killed by a car in front of Rose of Sharon, what is her main concern?
As the Joads travel Route 66, they drive through rural and urban settings. As they drive through the city, Ruthie and Winfield are literally disturbed by the "strangeness" they see. They are overwhelmed by the vast differences between rural and urban life. What theme or themes does this illustrate?
Ma Joad is very concerned that once they cross the state line Tom will become a fugitive. She is fearful this trip will
Grampa begins to cry and this indicates that something is gravely wrong with him because Uncle John says, "He must be good an' sick. He ain't never done that before." This will be just one of many surprises the Joad's encounter along their journey to California.
Casy is no longer a preacher, but when Granma commands him to pray over Grampa, he prays the Lord's Prayer from the New Testament of the Bible. Why does he do this? Use textual examples to support your answer.
Grampa has a stroke. A stroke occurs when a blood clot forms in an artery, breaks loose and travels to the brain, cutting off the flow of blood and oxygen. But as quickly as Granpa's stroke occurs and his death impacts the family, they recover and move forward. Do you think his death would cause the same reaction if the family were home and not on their way to California to rebuild their lives?
The Joads must decide if they will be able to spend the money to properly bury Grampa Joad or bury him themselves and save the money so they can get to California. This conflict demonstrates
Ma Joad describes Granma's lack of reaction to Grampa's death as "holdin' in." She explains that her father used to say, "Anybody can break down. It takes a man not to." This is a creed she lives by. Ma Joad will never overreact to situations, instead she holds her emotions close.
Lot is a man featured in four parables in the Bible. One of the better known parables is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because the unrighteous behavior of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the town would be destroyed by God. Lot and his family were saved by two angels who brought them outside the city gates and told them to go and not look back at the destruction. Lot and his daughters obeyed, but his wife turned to see the cities burn and was promptly turned into a pillar of salt. Though the story is only mentioned briefly, it does relate somewhat to the Joad's journey. They are also escaping a place that is destroyed by natural occurrences as well as the deeds, or misdeeds as some believe, of mankind. The Joads must press on if they would like an opportunity to rebuild their lives.
After burying Grampa, Ruthie is solemn and Winfield sobs to himself by the fire. The impact of his death on the youngest Joad children illustrates the beginnings of the loss of
When Noah reveals that he doesn't feel any different than before Grampa died, Casy attributes the constant sorrow to losing their home as well. According to Casy, "Grampa didn' die tonight. He died the minute you took 'im off the place." Based on that statement you can infer
The Wilsons and the Joads realize they are both lured to California by the same pamphlet. Rather than assuming the worst: they will not fare any better in California than they were in Oklahoma, Pa is optimistic that there are jobs for people who want to work.
What does Ma mean when she says, "Grampa- it's like he's dead a year"?
Steinbeck uses repetition and anaphora, parallelism of language, to convey the perspectives of the people receiving the new migrant from neighboring states. The people are upset, nervous and ignorant to the greater forces that perpetuate the influx of people. By comparing a tractor and a tank for example, Steinbeck also addresses the technological advancements and their affects, both planned and unplanned. Lastly, he illustrates how the migrants, like the Joads and the Wilsons, bond over the similar struggles they face and will face. All of these people and elements converge in California in a large mass of emotion, fear, anxiety and ignorance.
In his description of the restaurants along Route 66, the narrator refers to the waitress as Mae and the cook as Al. "Mae" and "Al" serve as
What literary device does Steinbeck utilize in the highlighted passage about the "men in light suits and panama hats?"
Do you think Steinbeck is making a socioeconomic commentary when he compares truck drivers (who often leave generous tips) and other customers? Characterize truck drivers in comparison to other working men. Do they have the same social status as farmers?
In the dialogue between Mae and the man in the wool trousers and blue shirt, her tone becomes immediately annoyed. What affects and changes her attitude toward the man?
When Mae sells the man in the wool trousers and blue shirt two pieces of candy for a penny, a regular customer indicates to her the candy actually costs five cents a piece. Which terms best characterize Mae's reaction?
Steinbeck ends the chapter with a repetition of the dialogue to illustrate how life in the truck stop restaurants is the same. They are people who are just trying to earn a living like the many others surviving the Great Depression. (This annotation contains an image)
As Rose of Sharon describes her life with Connie once they arrive in California, Ma is concerned because she wants to maintain the family unit. What relieves her anxiety?
The Joad family does not seem to have any luck on their journey. It is Murphy's Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But the predicament of the repair to the truck helps to illustrate the theme on the difficulty of maintaining family bonds in the larger community. In order to not hinder the trip to California, Tom offers to meet up with his family at a later date so he and Casy can fix the car. Though the men agree, Ma refuses; she will not break up the family. (This annotation contains an image)
Ma Joad overrules the men, in particular her husband, when they suggest the family should separate and continue on their journey to California. Ironically, Pa does not retaliate against Ma for her defiance. This indicates a change in
When Casy asks what happened to the car, Tom explains the car is used and implies the odometer reading and the actual mileage are not congruent. This is another illustration of the motif of distrust of business.
Casy's speech to Tom in the highlighted passage is an example of a(n)
Ma Joad doesn't have many fears that she expresses openly; she is afraid of her family separating and she is afraid Tom will be sent back to prison.
Based on the attendant's physical description, how can he be characterized? Do you think Steinbeck uses physical characterization to reflect persona? Use textual examples to support your answer.
The one-eyed man is pitiful. He literally cries and laments to Tom and Al about his status in life. He points out to Tom that a one-eyed man "can't see stuff the way other fellas can." This statement should be taken literally and also interpreted to mean men have the ability to close themselves off from the world and not see the opportunities available to him. This is evident by the tone Tom uses to speak to him and the story Tom tells about the one legged whore.
Tom is not remorseful for speaking to the one-eyed man so boldly because he believes
Unlike other characters in the text, Tom is frank and willing to accept the blame and responsibility when he is wrong and assigns blame when appropriate.
When Tom arrives at the local campground to reunite with his family, he is annoyed that the proprietor tries to charge him another dollar to stay for the evening when his family has already paid. The owner warns Tom the deputy sheriff "might make it tough" for him if he doesn't pay. Which quote from the text best captures the reason for the owner's attitude towards Tom?
The Joads are proud people. They defend themselves against accusations that they may be bums or vagrants: they used to own a home, land and are willing to do whatever work they find in California.
What theme does the highlighted passage illustrate?
The man tells the Joads his story about the loss of his wife and children to malnutrition and starvation. Casy reacts and says, "He's tellin' the truth, awright. The truth for him. He wasn't makin' nothin' up." And Tom demands, "Is that the truth for us?" This implies that Tom and his family do not have a full grasp of what is waiting for them at their destination. They have not embraced the reality of their situation. Watch the video of a "bread line" shot during the Great Depression. Bread lines were places people could receive a slice of bread and a cup of soup. For many, this was the only meal of the day. (This annotation contains a video)
The Bolsheviks were the political party during the Russian Revolution. Led by Lenin, they usurped the Russian Czar's power and authority. Lenin became the ruler of Communist Russia. The Bolsheviks won political support by calling for the "workers of the world to unite!" and Lenin promising "Peace, Land, and Bread" to the downtrodden working class of Russia. Below is a propaganda painting of Lenin. (This annotation contains an image)
The migrating families formed bonds with one another, established sets of codes and laws to live by while on the road, and generally looked out for one another. Their microcosm world of the larger world around them served as a source of
The codes and rules Steinbeck discusses in the text were real and necessary for the families to make it to California. There was also such a thing as a tramp code or hobo code. This was a series of drawings or markings left for the next traveler to signal what he should expect from a person, a home or a town. The link below has various examples of a tramp's code. (This annotation contains a link)
How does the term "migrant men" change the lives of the farmers?
The narrator describes the nightly camps as places where people connected with one another through family, friends and neighbors. This illustrates the magnitude that the crop failure had on the nation. It also demonstrates the fortitude people have when they find solace in something familiar. (This annotation contains an image)
What imagery does the narrator use to convey the comforts and the struggles the families face while on their journeys?
The migrants crossing the desert to reach the "Promised Land" is a Biblical allusion Moses. According to the Bible, Moses was responsible for leading the Israelites out of Egypt. After successfully fulfilling his duty, Moses died in the desert within sight of the Promised Land but did not reach it himself. Below is a lithograph available in the 1930s depicting Moses longing for the Promised Land. (This annotation contains an image)
As the Joads take a needed respite alongside a river, they meet a second person who is returning from California. What can you infer about the Joad family's future in California?
Although the farmers travel from all over the United States to escape the ramifications of "business" on their lives, when they arrive in California they are met with more "business," but this time in the form of the police and the government. In the state of California there was an "Anti-Okie" law that was eventually overturned by the US Supreme Court. The law stated that it was a crime to assist "indigent" persons entering the state. An "indigent" was someone who was poor or unemployed. Below is a digital copy of the newspaper story about the repeal of the law. (This annotation contains a link)
Unlike Pa Joad, the impact the man's story has on Uncle John is
The narrator mentions more than once that Rose of Sharon feels alone in her pregnancy. In some ways she feels special, but in other ways it leaves her frightened. She panics each time something negative occurs within her sight out of fear of how the baby will be affected. Read the highlighted passage and explain what Ma Joad tells Rose of Sharon.
Ma is agitated because the woman is trying to force her to accept Granma's immanent death. Ma dismisses the religious woman's suggestion of a prayer meeting. Steinbeck uses this as another example of the coerced change the migrants must endure. Ma's reaction is not solely about the woman but a release of emotion about all of the changes she had to accept thus far.
The narrator describes the camp a buzz with the sounds of crickets and flies and "close to silence." It is interrupted by the deputy who warns the travelers to move along. This interaction exemplifies which motif?
In literature, a physical journey is often symbolic of an emotional or spiritual journey. The individual who takes the journey is transformed. In this case, the journey is changing the Joad family in a negative way. Ma is becoming more angry. She is unable to control her emotions as she once did. Watch the video clip depicting scenes of Ma Joad from the classic movie adaptation of Steinbeck's novel. (This annotation contains a video)
According to Ma, the Joad's acceptance of dirt and filth is symbolic of
As Sairy Wilson is on her death bed, she asks Casy to say a prayer for her. He cannot because he believes he "got no God." She replies, "You got a God. Don't make no difference if you don' know what he looks like." Sairy's character provides a constant of belief in faith just as Tom's character provides a constant to his family.
Which word best describes the mood as the Joads continue on their journey without the Wilsons?
Ruthie warns Winfield to not wake her during the trip through the desert because she is excited to wake up and "be there!" Ruthie's excitement is the result of her
The conversation between Casy and Uncle John deals with his guilt about his wife. He feels as if he is a source of bad luck for the family because he is so haunted by his shame. This illustrates the theme of faith, guilt and sin.
Ma's frantic reaction to the inspectors leads Pa to assume she is "like she was when she was a girl." Based on this statement, you can infer Ma's reaction is
Ma's reaction to the inspectors was not a resurrection of her girlish self. She calculated her outburst to conceal Granma's death and to allow the family to continue to their destination. Which quotation from the text best captures the family's reaction?
As the family nears their destination, Tom declares "Jesus, are we gonna start clean!" What is the figurative meaning of this statement? How does this expectation influence the plot structure?
Prior to the influx of Americans into California during the Great Depression, Californian businesses relied on various immigrants to work the land, mine for gold, build railroads and man factories. The abundance of laborers led to anti-immigration sentiments and legislation. Chinese immigrants were the focus of prejudice under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Below is a link to more information about the history of Chinese immigrants in California. (This annotation contains a link)
Hooverville was a common term for any camp-like village that developed out of poverty during the Great Depression. Below is a picture of a migrant camp in California. (This annotation contains an image)
Which phrase best describes the migrant workers' lives as they travel throughout California looking for work?
The influx of the migrant workers into California has social and political consequences. Due to the dearth of work, people die of malnutrition. The social divide widens as more workers arrive. Steinbeck compares the relationship of migrant workers and the land owners to historic invasions. The quantity of workers compounded by their discontent could lead to an uprising. This reality combined with the innate fear of the migrants makes for a dangerous situation.
Steinbeck states that throughout history when the poor and destitute are repressed, "repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." Why is it that the migrant workers are unable to rise up and change their situation? Use textual evidence to support your conclusions.
The sad fact is that the Joads cannot afford to die; they cannot pay for the funeral.
Based on the dialogue between Pa and the bearded man, what can you infer about this camp?
As Tom speaks to the young man working on his car, the exchange reveals a different facet of Tom's character: ignorance. Up until this point in the text, Tom is characterized as a level-headed and experienced individual. But in his conversation with the young man, we see his lack of knowledge about the strife people are dealing with daily.
The young man informs Tom about the unfair labor practices the corporate farms use to exploit the migrant workers. This angers Tom and he suggests the workers unite and refuse to pick the fruit. What is the tone of the young man's response?
The young man warns Tom several times to not look for trouble and be "bull-simple" if he wants to stay out of trouble. This is an example of
Tom's cap, which was fresh and new at the beginning of the novel, is now "ruinous." The cap is a symbol of
In Tom's conversation with Casy he tells him that "this ain't no lan' of milk an' honey" and that he knows "somepin's gonna come up." This exemplifies the theme of
There is a sadness that envelopes this entire scene. The children are starving and circling like ravenous animals as Ma Joad cooks. But the child who lies about having eaten is the epitome of disconsolation because he is too proud to admit he is starving. (This annotation contains an image)
In the conversation between Al and Floyd, Steinbeck juxtaposes Al's ______ and Floyd's ______.
Ma willingly leaves the remaining stew for the starving children, but she cannot watch them behave like animals and eat it. It is not because she believes she is better than they are, but it is because their behavior saddens her.
Floyd informs Al and Tom that there may be work, but it is quite a distance away and the work may not be available when they arrive. This creates a
There is a conflict about whether or not to take the chance and find work because it involves risking the family's money. At this point in their journey, the idea of destitution is a reality they are witnessing everywhere they go. Tom knows this now and accepts this as a possible fate for the Joad family. Al represents the opposing argument: if there is work, there is money and it is worth the risk. Unfortunately, Al does not yet fully understand or refuses to see the truth that work does not guarantee fair wages.
Floyd speaks out against the man looking to hire laborers because he believes the man will exploit the migrants. This is ________ because he does not heed his own advice to be "bull-simple" and stay out of trouble.
The entire exchange between the deputy, the man looking to hire men for work and Floyd illustrates the corrupt system that exploits and is prejudice against the migrant worker. This exemplifies the theme of man's inhumanity to man.
Al believes Casy is a fool for allowing himself to be taken in by the police. Why is Casy making a smart decision?
Uncle John and Rose of Sharon are both given the same advice from Ma: don't burden others with your vices. Uncle John is guilt-ridden and must expel his feelings by drinking. Rose of Sharon is upset because Connie left and she has no one to dote on her or be a part of her insular world. Neither of these problems are greater than the issue of work and money.
Uncle John tells Ma and Pa that he needs to go and relieve his guilt. He ask, "You ain't gonna hold her over me?" They will not. Which quote best explains why Ma and Pa cannot be upset with Uncle John for drinking to become drunk?
Once again the motif of the dishonesty of business is demonstrated through the prison system. If the Sheriff jails enough men, he makes a profit.
What is the mood of the family as they pack up to leave this camp?
When Connie leaves, no one the family attempts to retrieve him. When Uncle John is off drunk on the side of the road, Tom insists on finding him before the family moves on. Have the Joads attitudes about family and community been affected by their journey?
The family hastily prepared to leave and Rose of Sharon refuses to go without Connie. Which word best characterizes Rose of Sharon in this scene?
Tom is conflicted. He is struggling to remain lawful and abide by the rules, but he has a difficult time achieving his goal because the lawmen don't abide by the law.
Tom has demonstrated he is a character who does not worry or think too much about the future; he takes life one day at a time. He is circumspect and observes before acting. Is his fear that he may kill a deputy valid? What would compel him to do this?
Quiz #2: Chapters 11-20
Prejudiced attitudes toward migratory people are still prevalent today. An example are the Irish Gypsies or Irish Travelers. They are nomadic people who live a lifestyle that is not understood by many "settled people." The Irish Travelers marry young, but the women are courted and adhere to strict Roman Catholic morals and standards. This seems paradoxical based on their outward appearance. It is not uncommon for young women and girls to wear heavy makeup and revealing clothing. Gypsy families travel together and are often driven out of townships where they try and settle because the "settled" people believe that Gypsies are there to encroach on their land and steal their property. Below is a YouTube clip from a documentary about Irish Traveler. (This annotation contains a video)
Casy told Uncle John he believed people built their own sin from the ground. By creating an environment where thousands of people were lured to work on false pretenses, exploited when they arrived and then starved when there was no work, the banks had created their own sin and "worked at their own doom."
This camp is completely different than the slipshod Hoovervilles that spontaneously appear out of necessity. This camp has sanitary units to wash and use the bathroom, a system for providing for the destitute and a committee to govern. These work camps, like the photograph of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp below, provided more security, but were harder to get in to. (This annotation contains an image)
Tom is amazed at the conditions in the camp and he asks the watchman, "Why ain't they more places like this?" The watchman replies sullenly, "You'll have to find that out yourself." What does he mean by this? What has Tom yet to experience?
The entire mood of the camp is a stark contrast to the mood of the people they have met so far in California. The people here are not overly friendly, but they are all diligent and function as a community.
Based on the men's excitement about twelve straight days of work, you can infer
The Wallaces had to sell their car in order to eat. This causes them to feel shame and anger. They know they were exploited by the men who came to purchase their cars.
When the men arrive to work, the man who hired them explains he must pay them a lesser wage than he did yesterday because if he doesn't comply with the Farm Association, he will lose his farm too. Steinbeck includes this example to convey
The men receive the bad news that they must work for less wages and there may be a fight at the dance instigated by the local police as an excuse to penetrate the federal camp. Tom, however, is in a great mood because he is working.
Accoriding to Timothy, why do the local authorities want to destroy the salvation the federal work camps provide?
The scene between Ruthie and Winfield is comical, but it also demonstrates their lack of knowledge and experience with modern technology. They are fearful of using the flush toilet because they have never seen one before. Steinbeck also addresses the limited access of people in rural areas to technology.
What is the overall feeling of the people who reside in the camp?
Ma's change in demeanor is also based on a brighter outlook for the family that is based on the familiar custom of visiting neighbors. Ma is excited to have a reason to look nice.
Ma is concerned the committee is coming to see her and they "ain't clean." Ma expressed the same concern about cleanliness and filth when they crossed into California. This is an example of which literary device?
Ma says, "Praise God, we come home to our own people." Steinbeck contrasts the reception that the destitute provide people versus the lack of graciousness in the more affluent class.
When the Jehovah's Witness woman approaches Rose of Sharon and warns her to be a "good girl" because if she sinned, she needs to "watch out for that there baby." This confirms Rose of Sharon's fear that
Steinbeck includes the exchange between Rose of Sharon and the woman to contrast the idea of sin Casy provides earlier in the text. Casy believes a sin is defined by the sinner on some level. A prime example of this is Tom Joad's lack of shame for killing a man. He admits his mistake, spent his time in jail and now lives guilt-free. According to the woman sin and the devil are ubiquitous and are evident when a woman miscarries a child. She refuses to acknowledge a legitimate medical reason for the miscarriages, but instead is quick to assign blame and label it a sin.
What does Ma mean when she tells Rose of Sharon to "git to your proper place?"
There is an overwhelming sense of pride held by most people who live in the camp. This pride is founded in the ability to work and provide for one another and be a functioning community. This illustrates the theme of humanity versus inhumanity.
Rather than shame Miss Joyce for using too much toilet paper because her daughters' are sick from eating unripe grapes, Jessie admonishes Miss Joyce for not telling the committee and insists she borrow food from the camp in order to provide for her family. This illustrates the theme of
According to the women there is a difference between the camp and a charity. Taking charity changes a person and removes his dignity, but at the camp, people pay for their lodging and food, even it is by working at the camp. Barter systems became commonplace in the Great Depression as money became scarce. (This annotation contains an image)
After searching for work all day and finding none, Pa can be characterized as
Ma's content is juxtaposed with her rage at the same woman who bothered Rose of Sharon before. Ma believes the woman would "take a little pleasure" in seeing something terrible happen to Rose of Sharon's child because it would confirm her belief in penance for a sinner.
Why is Ma so sad even though she is in a nice place and finally settled?
For the first time since they left the Joads are eating something nice. What does this indicate?
The storyteller compares killing an "Injun" and killing a pheasant because in both cases "you spoiled somepin better'n you" and "you spoiled somepin in yaself, an' you can't never fix it up." What is the "it" the storyteller refers to? How does the story about killing the "Injun" relate to the plight of the Joads and other migrants? Use textual examples to support your answer.
The harmonica, guitar and fiddle are all symbolic. They represent elements of the migrants' lives and journeys. The harmonica represents the adaptations and changes that occur along the journey. The guitar symbolizes the connection to the past and family history. The fiddle symbolizes the harder challenges that may not be understood or surmounted. When used together, they represent the bond that ties the community rather than the contrasts that may separate them otherwise. (This annotation contains an image)
The narrator describes the migrant people finding salvation in a roadside ditch by a preacher who cleanses their sin. They are "saved" and "won't never sin again." Based on this image, one can infer the migrant people believe their journey symbolizes
Even though there is not an official government or laws in the camp, the migrants understand that remaining peaceable is paramount to maintaining the camp. If the local authorities find reason to enter the camp, the migrants will be forced to relinquish control of the camp to the authorities and will be displaced again. Remember: the locals want the migrants off their land. They are afraid of the migrants organizing and taking jobs and whatever else they can imagine.
Though the camps are not under any direct lawful jurisdiction, they adhere to a strict code to remain harmonious and undisturbed. It is _________ that the police, whose job is to keep the peace and order are seeking to start a riot within the confines of the camp.
Aside from the Jehovah's Witnesses, the remainder of the camp is a mixture of excitement and relief. The dance provides an outlet for people to be happy for a short time. It has a cathartic effect on the campers.
Reread the dialogue between Ma and Tom about Rose of Sharon. In what tone does Tom say the highlighted text?
Once again the idea of shame is explored. Rose of Sharon's reluctance to attend the dance implies she has something to be ashamed of, but the truth is she is married and is having a baby in wedlock. She did not force Connie to leave nor did she leave him. The family does not need the implication of shame.
The dances at the camp are a source of ________ and _________ for most of the residents.
The residents are well organized and ready to circumvent any attempts by the local authorities to infiltrate and ruin their camp.
Huston is shocked at the boys' actions and tells them, "You're our own folks....You belong with us." What does he mean by this statement?
In the text thus far, there have been some discussions about banding together and unionizing the migrant workers. This talk seems logical because it would guarantee the workers basic rights and a fair wage, but the discussions make people nervous and anxious. There is violence and lawlessness that surrounds the migrant workers.
Who are the "doctors of preventative medicine" the narrator refers to?
This chapter is another divergence from the specific Joad family plot line. Steinbeck includes this information to give the reader a broader perspective in order to understand the other obstacles facing the farms in California. Like many other places in the mid-west, the smaller California farmers were quickly losing their properties to larger corporations. The smaller farms cannot afford to pay someone to pick the fruit and make a profit. The fruit then rots. The farmers lose money. Ironically, it is these men who have developed the varietals of fruit and should be making the money.
What is the conundrum facing the smaller farmers?
Pa tries to argue with Ma why they should stay at the camp though they cannot find work nearby. He points out there is hot water, toilets and other amenities. Ma replies, "Well, we can't eat no toilets." Ma decides that they should leave. The exchange between the couple demonstrates
Ma tells Tom, "I got to lean on you. Them others - they're kinda strangers, all but you. You won't give up, Tom." Based on this statement, which term best characterizes Tom?
Rose of Sharon is suffering from a condition called pica. Pica is when a person consumes non-food substances. This can be harmful to the mother and baby. Pica is not only seen in pregnant women but in children as well. The causes of pica are uncertain, though some believe it is caused by a vitamin deficiency. Below is a link to more information about pica and pregnancy. (This annotation contains a link)
The dialogue between Al and the blonde girl illustrate their youthful _________.
Tom openly admits that he is afraid that he cannot control himself and his reactions if he must interact with deputies again. Tom, unlike Al, is very self-aware. He knows his limitations and does not test them because he is aware of the consequences. Watch the video below reinterpreting the Bruce Springsteen/Jonny Cash versions of the song "The Ghost of Tom Joad." How does this song encapsulate Tom's character? (This annotation contains a video)
How have the nice accommodations of the camp affected the Joad family? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
Al, like Rose of Sharon, once again relies on his dreams to help him escape reality. The only thing that can take away innocence is experience and knowledge. Al has not truly experienced the world yet and will not until he is not surrounded by his family to buffer him from reality. English poet William Blake illustrated the theme of maturing from childhood to adulthood in his "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," a work also heavily laced with Biblical allusion and social commentary. Analyze the imagery of the original cover illustrated by Blake. (This annotation contains an image)
Ma tells Tom that they must have a house before winter because "Ruthie's awright, but Winfiel' ain't so strong." What does she imply?
The family is so desperate for work, they accept a job without even asking what it pays, what the housing will be or what they are expected to do besides pick peaches.
What is the story of Happy Hooligan a metaphor for?
Tom is not sure what is going on as they enter the farm for work, but he is uneasy because along the side of the road are their "own people." The people yelling are not townspeople trying to drive the migrants off the land. They are other immigrants on strike.
Which literary device does the narrator use to convey that this place is not amicable or a community like the camp?
This is the first time in the text Ruthie and Winfield are told they have to work as well. This is the beginning of how their innocence will be chipped away by the reality of their situation. Below is a photograph from the 1940 movie version of "The Grapes of Wrath." Notice how Ruthie and Winfield seek protection from Tom. (This annotation contains an image)
The market on the farm has items that are marked higher than they would be in another location. This is because the corporation knows they can charge the workers more because the workers would have to spend more money to buy it off the property. This illustrates which motif?
Ma is mad like the other patrons who shop at the Hooper Ranches store, but she is probably the only one who shames the clerk for his "flip" attitude towards the workers. It is ironic because he is no better than they are; they are all working for Hooper Ranches Incorporated.
The guards are shocked that Tom and Al are looking for warm water because they believe the government camps are spoiling the workers. These idea of keeping the workers repressed and without basic amenities as a means of control is a fundamental method in which form of government?
As Tom walks around the farm to find out what is going on outside the farm, the mood is tense. Tom must be careful or he will be arrested.
Which character knew that the Joad family would see Casy again?
The strike won't be a success for the same reason Casy and the others were making less money than they were promised originally: there are too many workers and not enough jobs. The striking workers are not more in number than the workers willing to work and replace them. The migrants cannot refuse to work for less than promised because there is someone else who will take the job.
Casy desperately wants Tom to convince his family to join the strike, but Tom tells him frankly they will not because
Casy dies trying to make people be better to one another. This is ironic because throughout the text he claims that he is no longer a preacher or a purveyor of morals and values, but his life is taken because he is trying to protect people from starvation and inhumanity at the hands of other people.
Is Tom wrong for attacking the man who killed Casy? Does this action change your feelings about Tom? Why or why not?
Tom's actions have dire consequences for the entire family. First, there is a possibility he may be arrested and taken away. This will destroy the family dynamic and structure. Tom is their foundation and support. More pressing is that he cannot work today. He will not be able to provide for the family. He will be more of a burden.
Tom and Al both want to leave the family at this point. What is different about their motivations?
Tom is like the Joad's farm: he is the glue that binds the family. The farm had a physical boundary, but Tom is the figurative boundary that keeps his family together.
Rose of Sharon's outburst about Tom illustrates
The humor that the workers and people could once find in a tough situation is now replaced by bitterness and anger. These are the effects of the destitute life the migrants live.
Based on the reaction to Winfield's illness, you can infer that the family is losing
The situation at Hooper Ranch is not amenable to the Joad's needs. The pay is poor, there are too many workers and the situation with Tom is worsening as time wears on. The authorities are so biased against the migrants that the story of the night is changing and painting Tom out to be a cold-blooded murderer.
In what tone does Pa say the highlighted statement?
Rose of Sharon laments her dreams but still grasps onto them. Like Al's ideas about becoming a mechanic, Rose of Sharon's dreams help her deal with reality.
Ma realizes that because they seem to be "hunted" by the authorities she is becoming mean. Pa responds and points out, "Down that gov'ment camp we wasn't mean." Why were they not mean at the government camps? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
Once the support and foundation of the family, Tom must step down in order to preserve the family.
The narrator describes picking cotton in terms of fingers and eyes. "Fingers go right to it. Fingers know. Eyes see the work-and don't see it" is an example of what literary device?
This chapter illustrates the predicament the Joads will find themselves in shortly: there will be cotton to pick, but the cotton won't be there forever. Just like their situation at Hooper Ranch, there will be an abundance of workers to pick the cotton. Analyze the image from the Great Depression era of children picking cotton. What connections are there to the text?
What is ironic about the narrator's description of the Joad family as "old-timers" and "aristocrats" since they arrived early to the boxcars?
Uncle John's guilt does not seem to bother him now that he is "workin' hard an' sleepin' good." Do you think this illustrates the saying, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop?"
Ruthie tells about Tom's past and run in with the law in a fit of anger and pride. Based on the situation, do you think that Ruthie has created a dangerous situation or do you think the other girl doesn't believe Ruthie? Use textual evidence and an example from another work (a movie, television show, book or your life) to support your answer.
When Ruthie returns to the boxcar, she is not punished. She feels the shame and it is mixed with residual "fierceness" from her altercation. Here is an example of the motif of shame and how shame can affect a person's innocence.
As Ma seeks Tom to tell him that Ruthie has told another person about him, she knows that ultimately they must diverge. This will have a large impact on the family because Tom was a source of security. As Ma moves through the thicket, the weather changes and "fat drops of rain scattered down." The weather seems to reflect the changing mood of the Joad family. This is an example of which literary device?
Before Ma leaves Tom forever, she reaches out and feels his face with her fingers because she cannot see his face with her eyes. This is the second time the narrator utilizes fingers versus eyes to complete a task properly.
Why does Tom decide to continue Casy's mission to unionize the migrant workers? Is Tom unaware of or afraid of the risks he is taking by trying to assist the movement? Use textual evidence to support your response.
This is one of the most important scenes in the film. The climax of the text is when Tom kills the man outside of Hooper Ranch, but this is the point in the text where the Joads must deal with the consequences of Tom's actions. Below is a clip from the film. (This annotation contains a video)
Though the Joads' lives have changed tremendously, the world around them remains the same. Steinbeck uses the farmer who needs people to pick his cotton to illustrate this.
When Pa allows Ma to speak to Al about his behavior, something Pa should be doing, he admits "I ain't no good any more." This is the resolution to which conflict?
Who is Al reminiscent of when he declares he is "gonna git a job in a garage, an' we'll have a rent' house for a while" and will marry Aggie Wainwright?
When Al and Aggie announce they are going to get married, Rose of Sharon does not celebrate the occasion. The next morning she wants to go and pick cotton with the others even though she has not worked once since they arrived in California. What has changed in her?
The owner of the farm's reaction to the amount of people who show up to work is one of genuine
The weather changes dramatically from sunny to rainy. Often times in literature an extreme change in setting signifies a greater change in the text.
The rains come and create floods. The fields are now fallow so there is not work. This is similar to the Biblical parable of Noah's Ark. According to the tale, God gives Noah detailed instructions about how to build an ark to save Noah and his family and to preserve the animals on the earth. God then makes the rains occur for forty days and forty nights which creates a massive flood that wipes out humanity. Below is the trailer for the film version release in 2014. (This annotation contains a video)
How is the parable of Noah's Ark similar to the rains in California?
The narrator describes how the migrant workers' fear turns to wrath and the women are relieved because "the break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath." In this text, wrath is the impetus for action and survival, for revenge and retaliation, for retreat and defeat and for murder and sin.
As the rain continues, what dilemma are the migrants faced with?
Ruthie and Winfield are static characters; even though the family is in dire straits, they are only concerned with their own needs. View the clip below to review the definition of static characters. (This annotation contains a video)
Steinbeck juxtaposes the men working against the threat of a flood and Rose of Sharon's labor and delivery of her baby. Juxtaposition is used to compare or contrast two events, characters or things. How are the two events similar? How are they different? Why does he juxtapose the events? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
At this point, even if the men wanted to leave, they couldn't because the water has flooded the cars. Now they must wait until the water subsides.
What has happened to Rose of Sharon's baby?
When Ma thanks Mrs. Wainwright for her help with Rose of Sharon, Mrs. Wainwright replies, "No need to thank. Ever'body's in the same wagon." This exemplifies the theme of
The death of Rose of Sharon's baby changes the mood. It makes Pa feel guilty, reminds Uncle John of his past and causes Ma to lament her loss of Tom.
Why does Uncle John not bury the baby and instead allows the child to float away with the current?
The mood is filled with desperation. The families cannot go anywhere because they will have to abandon what little they own, but they must figure out how to survive the rising flood waters. They are not afraid of drowning but of the sickness that accompanies the cold and wet weather.
Ma informs the rest of the family that they are leaving the boxcar because they cannot stay dry there any longer. Al tells Ma he is going to stay with Aggie and she accepts that response. What does Pa's sarcasm reveal about his feelings?
The father is starving to death because he believed he was doing the right thing by saving his son. He failed to realize that by saving his son, he would leave him alone and fatherless. The young boy feels guilty because he didn't realize he was taking food from his father's mouth.
Quiz #3: Chapters 21-30
Rose of Sharon choice to breastfeed the starving man demonstrates