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 The Grapes of wrath

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The Hated
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PostSubject: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:22 pm

The epic boring book i have to read for summer reading Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep

chapets 1-3

chapters One–Three
Summary: Chapter One
The cornfields of Oklahoma shrivel and fade in a long summer drought. Thick clouds of dust fill the skies, and the farmers tie handkerchiefs over their noses and mouths. At night, the dust blocks out the stars and creeps in through cracks in the farmhouses. During the day the farmers have nothing to do but stare dazedly at their dying crops, wondering how their families will survive. Their wives and children watch them in turn, fearful that the disaster will break the men and leave the families destitute. They know that no misfortune will be too great to bear as long as their men remain “whole.”
Summary: Chapter Two
Into this desolate country enters Tom Joad, newly released from the McAlester State Penitentiary, where he served four years on a manslaughter conviction. Dressed in a cheap new suit, Tom hitches a ride with a trucker he meets at a roadside restaurant. The trucker’s vehicle carries a “No Riders” sign, but Tom asks the trucker to be a “good guy” even if “some rich lovely person makes him carry a sticker.” As they travel down the road, the driver asks Tom about himself, and Tom explains that he is returning to his father’s farm. The driver is surprised that the Joads have not been driven off their property by a “cat,” a large tractor sent by landowners and bankers to force poor farmers off the land. The driver reports that much has changed during Tom’s absence: great numbers of families have been “tractored out” of their small farms. The driver fears that Tom has taken offense at his questions and assures him that he’s not a man to stick his nose in other folks’ business. The loneliness of life on the road, he confides in Tom, can wear a man down. Tom senses the man looking him over, noticing his clothes, and admits that he has just been released from prison. The driver assures Tom that such news does not bother him. Tom laughs, telling the driver that he now has a story to tell “in every joint from here to Texola.” The truck comes to a stop at the road leading to the Joads’ farm, and Tom gets out.
Summary: Chapter Three
In the summer heat, a turtle plods across the baking highway. A woman careens her car aside to avoid hitting the turtle, but a young man veers his truck straight at the turtle, trying to run it over. He nicks the edge of the turtle’s shell, flipping it off the highway and onto its back. Legs jerking in the air, the turtle struggles to flip itself back over. Eventually it succeeds and continues trudging on its way.
Analysis: Chapters One–Three
The Grapes of Wrath derives its epic scope from the way that Steinbeck uses the story of the Joad family to portray the plight of thousands of Dust Bowl farmers. The structure of the novel reflects this dual commitment: Steinbeck tracks the Joad family with long narrative chapters but alternates these sections with short, lyrical vignettes, capturing the westward movement of migrant farmers in the 1930s as they flee drought and industry.
This structure enables Steinbeck to use many different writing styles. The short (usually odd-numbered) chapters use highly stylized, poetic language to explore the social, economic, and historical factors that forced the great migration. Steinbeck’s first description of the land is almost biblical in its simplicity, grandeur, and repetition: “The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country and white in the gray country.” The chapters devoted to the Joads’ story are noteworthy for their remarkably realistic evocation of life and language among Oklahoma sharecroppers. Here Steinbeck displays his talent for rich, naturalistic narration. (Naturalism is a school of writing favoring realistic representations of human life and natural, as opposed to supernatural or spiritual, explanations for social phenomena.) Expertly rendered details place the reader squarely and immediately in the book’s setting, quickly drawing us in after an interlude of more distanced poetics. Steinbeck also skillfully captures the colorful, rough dialogue of his folk heroes—“You had that big nose goin’ over me like a sheep in a vegetable patch,” Tom says to the truck driver in Chapter Two—thus bringing them to life. By employing a wide range of styles, Steinbeck achieves what he called a “symphony in composition, in movement, in tone and scope.”
The opening of the novel also establishes several of the novel’s dominant themes. Steinbeck dedicates the first and third chapters, respectively, to a historical and symbolic description of the Dust Bowl tragedy. While Chapter One paints an impressionistic picture of the Oklahoma farms as they wither and die, Chapter Three presents a symbolic depiction of the farmers’ plights in the turtle that struggles to cross the road. Both chapters share a particularly dark vision of the world. As the relentless weather of Chapter One and the mean-spirited driver of Chapter Three represent, the universe is full of obstacles that fill life with hardship and danger. Like the turtle that trudges across the road, the Joad family will be called upon, time and again, to fight the malicious forces—drought, industry, human jealousy and fear—that seek to overturn it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:24 pm

Chapters Four–Six
Summary: Chapter Four
As Tom plods along the dusty road, he notices a turtle. He picks it up, wraps it in his coat, and takes it with him. Continuing on, he notices a tattered man sitting under a tree. The man recognizes him and introduces himself as Jim Casy, the preacher in Tom’s church when Tom was a boy. Casy says that he baptized Tom, but Tom was too busy pulling a girl’s pigtails to have taken much interest in the event. Tom gives the old preacher a drink from his flask of liquor, and Casy tells Tom how he decided to stop preaching. He admits that he had a habit of taking girls “out in the grass” after prayer meetings and tells Tom that he was conflicted for some time, not knowing how to reconcile his sexual appetites with his responsibility for these young women’s souls. Eventually, however, he came to the decision that “[t]here ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing.” No longer convinced that human pleasures run counter to a divine plan, Casy believes that the human spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Casy asks Tom about his father, and Tom replies that he hasn’t seen or heard from him in years. Tom divulges the crime that landed him in prison, explaining that he and another man, both drunk, got into a fight; the man stabbed Tom, and Tom killed him with a nearby shovel. He describes life in prison, where he received regular meals and baths. Despite this good treatment, however, he notes that the lack of women made life hard. As Tom prepares to continue toward his home, Casy asks if he can come along. Tom welcomes him, and comments that the Joads always thought highly of their preacher. They walk to the farm, but upon arriving at the site, they realize it has been deserted.
Summary: Chapter Five
The landowners and the banks, unable to make high profits from tenant farming, evict the farmers from the land. (Tenant farming is an agricultural system in which farmers live on the property of a landowner and share in the profits.) Some of the property owners are cruel, some are kind, but they all deliver the same news: the farmers must leave. The farmers protest, complaining that they have nowhere to go. The owners suggest they go to California, where there is work to be done. Tractors arrive on the land, with orders to plow the property, crushing anything in their paths—including, if necessary, the farmhouse. The tractors are often driven by the farmers’ neighbors, who explain that their own families have nothing to eat and that the banks pay several dollars a day. Livid, the displaced farmers yearn to fight back, but the banks are so faceless, impersonal, and inhuman that they cannot be fought against.
Summary: Chapter Six
Tom and Casy find the Joad homestead strangely untouched, other than a section of the farmhouse that has been crushed. The presence of usable materials and tools on the premises, apparently unscavenged, signifies to Tom that the neighbors, too, must have deserted their farms. Tom and Casy see Muley Graves walking toward them. He reports that the Joads have moved in with Tom’s Uncle John. The entire family has gone to work picking cotton in hopes of earning enough money to buy a car and make the journey to California. Muley explains haltingly that a large company has bought all the land in the area and evicted the tenant farmers in order to cut labor costs. When Tom asks if he can stay at Muley’s place for the night, Muley explains that he, too, has lost his land and that his family has already departed for California. Hearing this, Casy criticizes Muley’s decision to stay behind: “You shouldn’t of broke up the fambly.” Hungry, the men share the rabbits Muley caught hunting. After dinner, the headlights of a police car sweep across the land. Afraid that they will be arrested for trespassing, they hide, though Tom balks at the idea of hiding from the police on his own farm. Muley takes them to a cave where he sleeps. Tom sleeps in the open air outside the cave, but Casy says that he cannot sleep: his mind is too burdened with what the men have learned.
Analysis: Chapters Four–Six
As the novel unfolds, the short, descriptive chapters emerge like a series of thesis statements on the conditions of life in the Dust Bowl. The chapters recounting the story of the Joad clan can be seen as illustrations of or evidence for the claims made in the shorter chapters. In Chapter Five, Steinbeck sets forth an argument strongly supportive of tenant farmers. Notably, however, he does not directly vilify the landowners and bank representatives as they turn the tenant farmers off their land. He asserts that the economic system makes everyone a victim—rich and poor, privileged and disenfranchised. All are caught “in something larger than themselves.” It is this larger monster that has created the divides between the victims, stratified them, and turned the upper strata against the lower. Still, Steinbeck does not portray in detail the personal difficulties of the men who evict the farmers, nor of the conflicted neighbors who plow down their farms. His sympathies clearly lie with the farmers, and his descriptive eye follows these sympathies. Correspondingly, it is with these families that the reader comes to identify.
The Grapes of Wrath openly and without apology declares its stance on the events it portrays. This sense of commitment and candor stems from Steinbeck’s method of characterization, as well as from his insistence on setting up the Joads and their clan as models of moral virtue. Although Tom Joad has spent four years in prison, he soon emerges as a kind of moral authority in the book. A straight-talking man, Tom begins his trek home by putting a nosy truck driver in his place—having served the lawful punishment for his crime, he owns up to his past without indulging in regret or shame. His deeply thoughtful disposition, truthful speech, and gestures of generosity endear him to the reader, as well as those around him. He will soon emerge as a leader among his people. His leadership ability stems also from his sense of confidence and sureness of purpose. Tom admits to Casy that if he found himself in a situation similar to the one that landed him in jail, he would behave no differently now. This statement does not convey pride or vanity but a capacity to know and be honest with himself, as well as a steady resolve.
If Tom Joad emerges as the novel’s moral consciousness, then Jim Casy emerges as its moral mouthpiece. Although he claims he has lost his calling as a preacher, Casy remains a great talker, and he rarely declines an opportunity to make a speech. At many points, Steinbeck uses him to voice the novel’s themes. Here, for instance, Casy describes the route by which he left the pulpit. After several sexual affairs with young women in his congregation, Casy realized that the immediate pleasures of human life were more important than lofty concepts of theological virtue. He decided that he did not need to be a preacher to experience holiness: simply being an equal among one’s fellow human beings was sacred in its own way. This philosophy is lived out by the Joads, who soon discover that open, sincere fellowship with others is more precious than any longed-for commodity. Casy further emphasizes the virtues of companionship when he chastises Muley Graves. The man has allowed his family to leave for California without him, for the sake of practicality, but Casy believes that togetherness and cooperation should always take precedence over practicality.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:25 pm

Chapters Seven–Nine
Summary: Chapter Seven
The narrator assumes the voice of a used-car salesman explaining to his employees how to cheat the departing families. The great westward exodus has created a huge demand for automobiles, and dusty used-car lots spring up throughout the area. Crooked salesmen sell the departing families whatever broken-down vehicles they can find. The salesmen fill engines with sawdust to conceal noisy transmissions and replace good batteries with cracked ones before they deliver the cars. The tenant farmers, desperate to move and with little knowledge of cars, willingly pay the skyrocketing prices, much to the salesmen’s delight.
Summary: Chapter Eight

[W]hen they’re all workin’ together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang . . . that’s holy.
(See Important Quotations Explained)
As the men travel to Uncle John’s, Tom relates a story about his curious uncle. Years ago, John dismissed his wife’s complaints of a stomachache and refused to hire a doctor for her. When she subsequently died, John was unable to deal with the loss. Tom describes his constant acts of generosity, handing out candy to children or delivering a sack of meal to a neighbor, as if trying to make up for his one fatal instance of stinginess. Despite his efforts, John remains unable to console himself.
At Uncle John’s house, Tom is reunited with his family. He comes upon his father, Pa Joad, piling the family’s belongings outside. Neither Pa nor Ma Joad recognizes Tom at first, and, until he explains that he has been paroled from prison, both fear that he has broken out illegally. They tell him that they are about to leave for California. Ma Joad worries that life in prison may have driven Tom insane: she knew the mother of a gangster, “Purty Boy Floyd,” who went “mean-mad” in prison. Tom assures his mother that he lacks the stubborn pride of those who find prison a devastating insult. “I let stuff run off’n me,” he says. Tom also reunites with fiery old Grampa and Granma Joad, and with his withdrawn and slow-moving brother Noah.
At breakfast, Granma, who is devoutly religious, insists that Casy say a prayer, even though he tells them he no longer preaches. Instead of a traditional prayer, he shares his realization that mankind is holy in itself. The Joads do not begin the meal, however, until he follows the speech with an “amen.” Pa Joad shows Tom the truck he has bought for the family and says that Tom’s younger brother Al, who knows a bit about cars, helped him pick it out. When sixteen-year-old Al arrives at the house, his admiration and respect for Tom is clear. Tom learns that his two youngest siblings, Ruthie and Winfield, are in town with Uncle John. Rose of Sharon, another sister, has married Connie, a boy from a neighboring farm, and is expecting a child.
Summary: Chapter Nine
The narrator shifts focus from the Joads to describe how the tenant farmers in general prepare for the journey to California. For much of the chapter, the narrator assumes the voice of typical tenant farmers, expressing what their possessions and memories of their homes mean to them. The farmers are forced to pawn most of their belongings, both to raise money for the trip and simply because they cannot take them on the road. In the frenzied buying and selling that follows, the farmers have no choice but to deal with brokers who pay outrageously low prices, knowing that the farmers are in no position to bargain. Disappointed, the farmers return to their wives and report that they have sold most of their property for a pocketful of change. The wives linger over objects with sentimental value, but everything must be sold or destroyed before the families can leave for California.
Analysis: Chapters Seven–Nine
Chapter Eight introduces us to the Joad family. Steinbeck sketches a good number of memorable characters in the space of a single chapter. Pa appears as a competent, fair-minded, and good-hearted head of the family, leading the Joads in their journeys, while Ma emerges as the family’s “citadel,” anchoring them and keeping them safe. Steinbeck does not render the Joads as particularly complex characters. Instead, each family member tends to possess one or two exaggerated, distinguishing characteristics. Grampa, for instance, is mischievous and ornery; Granma is excessively pious; Al, a typically cocky teenaged boy, is obsessed with cars and girls.
Some readers find fault with Steinbeck’s method of characterization, which they criticize as unsophisticated and sentimental, but this criticism may be unfair. It is true that the Joads are not shown as having the kind of complex psychological lives that mark many great literary characters. Their desires are simple and clearly stated, and the obstacles to their desires are plainly identified by both the novel and themselves. However, it is in the nature of an epic to portray heroic, boldly drawn figures—figures who embody national ideals or universal struggles. Steinbeck succeeds in crafting the Joads into heroes worthy of an epic. Their goodness, conviction, and moral certainty stand in sharp contrast to their material circumstances.
The short chapters that bookend the introduction of the Joad family develop one of the book’s major themes. The narrative’s indictment of the crooked car salesmen and pawnbrokers illustrates man’s inhumanity to man, a force against which the Joads struggle. Time and again, those in positions of power seek to take advantage of those below them. Even when giving up a portion of land might save a family, the privileged refuse to imperil their wealth. Later in the novel, there is nothing that the California landowners fear as much as relinquishing their precious land to the needy farmers. This behavior contradicts Jim Casy’s belief that men must act for the good of all men. In The Grapes of Wrath, moral order depends upon this kind of selflessness and charity. Without these virtues, the text suggests, there is no hope for a livable world. As one farmer warns the corrupt pawnbroker who robs him of his possessions: “[Y]ou cut us down, and soon you will be cut down and there’ll be none of us to save you.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:26 pm

Chapters Ten–Twelve
Summary: Chapter Ten
Tom and Ma Joad discuss California. Ma worries about what they will find there but trusts that the handbill she read that advertised work was accurate and that California will be a wonderful place. Grampa agrees, boasting that when he arrives there he will fill his mouth with grapes and let the juices run down his chin. Pa Joad has gone to town to sell off some of the family’s possessions. Now he returns discouraged, having earned a mere eighteen dollars. The Joads hold a council during which it is decided that Casy may travel with them to California; then they set about packing to leave. Casy helps Ma Joad salt the meat. Despite her protests that salting is women’s work, Casy convinces her that the amount of work facing them renders such preoccupations invalid. Rose of Sharon and Connie arrive, and the family piles onto the truck. When the time comes to leave, Muley Graves bids the family good-bye, but Grampa suddenly wants to stay. He claims that he aims to live off the land like Muley and continues to protest loudly until the Joads lace his coffee with sleeping medicine. Once the old man is asleep, the family loads him onto the truck and begins the long journey west.
Summary: Chapter Eleven
When the farmers leave their land, the land becomes vacant. The narrator explains that even though men continue to work the land, these men have no real connection to their work. Possessed of little knowledge or skill, these corporate farm workers come to the farm during the day, drive a tractor over it, and leave to go home. Such a separation between work and life causes men to lose wonder for their work and for the land. The farmer’s “deep understanding” of the land and his relationship to it cease to be. The empty farmhouses are quickly invaded by animals and begin to crumble in the dust and the wind.
Summary: Chapter Twelve
Long lines of cars creep down Highway 66, full of tenant farmers making their way to California. The narrator again assumes the voices of typical farmers, expressing their worries about their vehicles and the dangers of the journey. When the farmers stop to buy parts for their cars, salesmen try to cheat them. The farmers struggle to make it from service station to service station, fleeing from the desolation they have left behind. They are met with hostility and suspicion. People inquire about their journey, claiming that the country is not large enough to support everybody’s needs and suggesting that they go back to where they came from. Still, one finds rare instances of hope and beauty, such as the stranded family that possesses only a trailer—no motor to pull it—and waits by the side of the road for lifts. They make it to California “in two jumps,” proving that “strange things happen . . . some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that faith is refired forever.”
Analysis: Chapters Ten–Twelve
In these chapters, Steinbeck continues to develop his picture of the farmers’ world, with flashes of the desolate farms they flee, as well as of the many adverse circumstances that await them. Steinbeck suggests that the hardships the families face stem from more than harsh weather conditions or simple misfortune. Human beings, acting with calculated greed, are responsible for much of their sorrow. Such selfishness separates people from one another, disabling the kind of unity and brotherhood that Casy deems holy. It creates an ugly animosity that pits man against man, as is clear in Chapter Twelve, when a gas station attendant suggests that California is becoming overcrowded with migrants. When a farmer notes that surely California is a large enough state to support everyone, the attendant cynically replies, “There ain’t room enough for you an’ me, for your kind an’ my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country.”
This factionalism not only divides men from their brethren, it also divides men from the land. Steinbeck identifies greed and covetousness as the central cause of the tenant farmers’ dislocation from the ground they have always known. The corporate farmers who replace the old families possess the same acquisitive mind-set as their employers. Interested only in getting their work done quickly and leaving with a paycheck, they treat the land with hostility, as an affliction rather than a home, and put heavy machinery between themselves and the fields.
Both Muley Graves and Grampa Joad represent the human reluctance to be separated from one’s land. Both men locate their roots in the Oklahoma soil and both are willing to abandon their families in order to maintain this connection. Neither Muley nor Grampa Joad can imagine who he would be beyond the boundaries that, until now, have shaped and defined him. In their scheme to prevent Grampa from staying, the Joads engage in blatant dishonesty, yet their intentions are good. For the Joads mean to sever one kind of connection in favor of another, abandoning the land to keep the family together. They believe in the ability of human connections to sustain their grandfather’s life and spirit.
As the Joads depart, their interactions speak further to their common belief in the importance of family and the family structure. Men lead—even if, as in Grampa’s case, their guidance is merely ceremonial—whereas women follow. It is important to note this structure now, for once the family is on the road, this traditional power dynamic shifts. This process is prefigured in Casy’s insistence that he help Ma Joad salt the meat. Faced with dauntingly difficult work, the group can no longer cling to gender-based divisions of labor.
Thus, while economic adversity may frequently drive divisions between people, it can also serve to erase divisions, to emphasize everyone’s common humanity. Steinbeck’s text insists that the hardships of the road, while often creating ugliness, can also yield unexpected beauty. A single instance of charity or kindness emerges as an oasis of moral nobility, both testifying to and renewing the strength of the human spirit. Although the Joads declare the family’s goal to be their arrival in California, it is these rare and serendipitous places along the road—in which hope is confirmed despite life’s atrocities—that constitute the Joads’ true destination.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:27 pm

Chapters Thirteen–Fifteen
Summary: Chapter Thirteen
Al skillfully guides the Joads’ truck along Route 66, listening carefully to the engine for any trouble that might cause a breakdown. He asks Ma if she fears that California will not live up to their expectations, and she wisely says that she cannot account for what might be; she can only account for what is. They stop at a service station, where Al argues with an attendant who insinuates that the family has no money to pay for gas. The attendant laments that most of his customers have nothing and often stop to beg for the fuel. He explains that all the fancy new cars stop at the yellow-painted company stations in town. Although the man has attempted to paint his pumps yellow in imitation of the fancier stations, the underlying decrepitude of the place shows through. While the family drinks water and rests, their dog is hit by a car, and Rose of Sharon becomes frightened, worrying that witnessing something so gruesome will harm her baby. The attendant agrees to bury the dog, and the Joads continue on their way. They pass through Oklahoma City, a larger city than the family has ever seen. The sights and sounds of the place embarrass and frighten Ruthie and Winfield, while Rose of Sharon and Connie burst into giggles at the fashions they see worn for the first time. At the end of a day’s travel, the family camps along the roadside and meets Ivy Wilson and his wife, Sairy, whose car has broken down. Grampa is sick, and the Wilsons offer him their tent for a rest, but before long the old man suffers a stroke and dies. The Joads improvise a funeral and bury their grandfather, despite the fact that it is against the law. Later, they convince the Wilsons that both groups would benefit from traveling together to California, and the Wilsons agree.
Summary: Chapter Fourteen

The last clear definite function of man—muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need—this is man.
(See Important Quotations Explained)
People who live in the West do not understand what has happened in Oklahoma and the Midwest. What began as a thin trickle of migrant farmers has become a flood. Families camp next to the road, and every ditch has become a settlement. Amid the deluge of poor farmers, the citizens of the western states are frightened and on edge. They fear that the dislocated farmers will come together; that the weak, when united, will become strong—strong enough, perhaps, to stage a revolt.
Summary: Chapter Fifteen
A waitress named Mae and a cook named Al work at a coffee shop on Route 66. Mae watches the many cars pass by, hoping that truckers will stop, for they leave the biggest tips. One day, two truckers with whom Mae is friendly drop in for a piece of pie. They discuss the westward migration, and Mae reports that the farmers are rumored to be thieves. Just then, a tattered man and his two boys enter, asking if they can buy a loaf of bread for a dime. Mae brushes them off. She reminds the man that she is not running a grocery store, and that even if she did sell him a loaf of bread she would have to charge fifteen cents. From behind the counter, Al growls at Mae to give the man some bread, and she finally softens. Then she notices the two boys looking longingly at some nickel candy, and she sells their father two pieces for a penny. The truckers, witnessing this scene, leave Mae an extra-large tip.
Analysis: Chapters Thirteen–Fifteen
As the Joads set out for California, the second phase of the novel begins: their dramatic journey west. Almost immediately, the Joads are exposed to the very hardships that Steinbeck describes in the alternating expository chapters that chronicle the great migration as a whole; the account of the family provides a close-up on the larger picture. Thus, in Chapter Thirteen, at the gas station, the family encounters the hostility and suspicion described in Chapters Twelve, Fourteen, and Fifteen. The attendant unfairly pegs the Joads as vagrants and seems sure that they have come to beg gas from him. As Al’s reaction makes clear, this accusation comes as a great insult to self-reliant people with a strong sense of dignity. The apologetic attendant confides in the Joads that his livelihood has been endangered by the fancy corporate service stations. He fears that he, like the poor tenant farmers, will soon be forced to find another way to make his living. Steinbeck is far from subtle in identifying capitalism and corporate interests as a source of great human tragedy, a form of “ritualized thievery.” Corporate gas companies have preyed upon the attendant; the attendant, in turn, insults the Joads and is initially loath to offer them help. The system in force here works according to a vicious cycle, a cycle that perpetuates greed as a method of sheer survival.
These rather bleak observations cast a pall over the Joads’ journey and point to even darker clouds on the horizon. Soon after arriving at the gas station, the Joads’ dog is struck by a car. The dog’s gruesome death stands as a symbol of the difficulties that await the family—difficulties that begin as soon as the family camps for the night. Before the family has been gone a full day, Grampa suffers a stroke and dies. Because Grampa was, at one point, the most enthusiastic proponent of the trip, dreaming of the day he would arrive in California and crush fat bunches of vine-ripened grapes in his mouth, his death foreshadows the harsh realities that await the family in the so-called Promised Land. With Grampa, something of the family’s hope dies too.
Still, even in this forlorn world, opportunities to display kindness, virtue, and generosity exist. In this section, the narrator’s statement from the end of Chapter Twelve is validated: there will be instances both of bitter cruelty and life-affirming beauty. The story of Mae, in its simplistic illustration of morality and virtue, functions almost like a parable, and considerably lightens the tone of these chapters. The lesson Mae learns is a simple one: compassion and generosity are rewarded in the world. Thus, although greed may be self-perpetuating, as the earlier chapters insist, so is kindness. The entrance of the Wilsons into the story also introduces a hopeful tone: by cooperating and looking after their communal interests, the families find a strength that they lack on their own.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:28 pm

Chapters Sixteen–Eighteen
Summary: Chapter Sixteen
The Joad and Wilson families travel for two days. On the third day, they settle into a new routine whereby “the highway became their home and movement their medium of expression.” Rose of Sharon declares that when they arrive in California, she and Connie plan to live in town, where Connie can study at night in preparation for managing his own store. This worries Ma Joad, who balks at any idea of splitting up the family. The Wilsons’ car breaks down again. Tom and Casy offer to stay behind to repair it, but Ma refuses to go on without them. Instead, the whole group waits while Al and Tom go into town to find parts at a local car lot. The brothers find the needed part, and spend some time talking to the bitter, one-eyed attendant. The man complains tearfully of the injustices of his job. Tom urges him to pull himself together. At the crowded camp that night, Pa Joad tells a man that he is traveling to look for work in California. The man laughs at him, saying that there is no work in California, despite what the handbills promise. Wealthy farmers, the man reports, may need 800 workers, but they print 5000 handbills, which are seen by 20,000 people. The man says that his wife and children starved to death because he took them to find work in California. This worries Pa, but Casy tells him that the Joads may have a different experience than this man did.
Summary: Chapter Seventeen
As masses of cars travel together and camp along the highway, little communities spring up among the migrant farmers: “twenty families became one family.” The communities create their own rules of conduct and their own means of enforcement. The lives of the farmers change drastically. They are no longer farmers but “migrant men.”
Summary: Chapter Eighteen
After traveling through the mountains of New Mexico and the Arizona desert, the Joads and Wilsons arrive in California. They still face a great obstacle, however, as the desert lies between them and the lush valleys they have been expecting. The men find a river and go bathing. There, they meet a father and son who are returning from California because they have been unable to make a living. The man cautions the Joads about what awaits them there: the open hostility of people who derisively call them “Okies” and the wastefulness of ranchers with “a million acres.”
Despite these warnings, the Joads decide to continue on, and to finish the journey that night. Noah decides to stay behind, saying he will live off fish from the river. He claims that his absence will not really hurt the family, for although his parents treat him with kindness, they really do not love him deeply. Tom tries in vain to convince him otherwise. Granma, whose health has deteriorated since Grampa’s death, lies on a mattress hallucinating. A large woman enters the Joads’ tent to pray for Granma’s soul, but Ma sends the woman away, claiming that the old woman is too tired for such an ordeal.
Soon afterward, a policeman enters the tent and rudely informs Ma that the family will have to move on. When Tom returns to camp and reports that Noah has run off, Ma laments that the family is falling apart. The Joads must pack up and are forced to leave the Wilsons behind: Sairy’s health is failing, and Ivy insists that the Joads move on without them. During the night, police stop the truck for a routine agricultural inspection. Ma pleads with the officer to let them go, saying that Granma is in desperate need of medical attention. When they cross into the valley, Ma reports that Granma has been dead since before the inspection. Ma lay with the body all night in the back of the truck.
Analysis: Chapters Sixteen–Eighteen
The Joads’ dreams about life in California stand in bold relief against the realities that they face. Rose of Sharon believes that Connie will study at night and make a life for her in town, but this fantasy rings rather hollow against the backdrop of Grampa’s and now Granma’s death. Coming after two sets of dire warnings from ruined migrant workers, Granma’s death bodes especially ill for the Joads. They now seem fated to live out the cautionary tales of the men they have met in Chapters Sixteen and Eighteen, who now seem like a Greek chorus presaging impending tragedy. Before the Joads even set foot on its soil, California proves to be a land of vicious hostility rather than of opportunity. The cold manner of the police officers and border guards seems to testify to the harsh reception that awaits the family.
The sense of foreboding in this section is heightened as we witness the fulfillment of Ma Joad’s greatest fear—the unraveling of the family. In addition to the grandparents’ deaths, the reclusive Noah decides to remain alone on the river. Family is the foundation of the Joads’ will to survive, for, as Chapter Seventeen makes clear, migrant families were able to endure the harsh circumstances of life on the road by uniting with other families. Collectively, they share a responsibility that would be too great for one family to bear alone. Moreover, whereas to share a burden is to lighten it, to share a dream is to intensify and concentrate it, making that dream more vivid. Thus “[t]he loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.” Interestingly, Steinbeck sandwiches these observations between two chapters in which the Joad family not only suffers a decrease in number but also meets with neighbors who have no interest in cooperating with them. Increasingly, then, these statements about the importance of togetherness serve not so much as an affirmation of the Joads’ circumstances as an indication of what they are in the process of losing. The grandparents’ deaths and Noah’s departure are tragedies for the Joads.
Faced with these losses, Ma Joad demonstrates her strength as never before. Met by the deputy who evicts her from the camp and disdainfully calls her an “Okie,” Ma chases the man away with a cast-iron skillet. Similarly, she suffers privately with the knowledge of Granma’s death so that the family can successfully cross the desert. These occurrences do take their toll on her: when Tom attempts to comfort her, she warns him not to touch her lest she fall apart. Still, her ability to endure adversity proves remarkable, as does her commitment to delivering her family, or as much of it as she can keep together, into a more prosperous life.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:29 pm

Chapters Nineteen–Twenty-One
Summary: Chapter Nineteen
The narrator describes how California once belonged to Mexico but was taken away by hungry American squatters who believed that they owned the land because they farmed it. The descendants of these squatters are the wealthy farmers who defend their land with security guards and protect their wealth by paying their laborers extremely low wages. They resent the droves of “Okies” flooding into the state because they know that hungry and impoverished people are a danger to the stability of land ownership. For their part, the Okies want only a decent wage and freedom from the threat of starvation. Settling in workers’ camps, they try their best to look for work. Sometimes one of the them tries to grow a secret garden in a fallow field, but the deputies find it and destroy it.
Summary: Chapter Twenty
Because they do not have enough money for a proper burial, Ma and Pa Joad leave Granma’s body in a coroner’s office. They rejoin the family at Hooverville, a large, crowded, and dirty camp full of hungry families unable to find work. One young man, Floyd Knowles, tells Tom that when he encounters police, he must act “bull-simple”: he must speak ramblingly and incoherently in order to convince the policeman that he is an unthreatening idiot. Floyd says that there are no jobs. Tom wonders why the men do not organize against the landowners, but Floyd says that anyone who discusses such possibilities will be labeled “red” and dragged off by the police. Men who attempt to organize are put on a “blacklist,” which ensures that they will never find work. Casy discusses the injustice of the situation with Tom and wonders what he can do to help the suffering people. Connie tells Rose of Sharon that they should have stayed in Oklahoma, where he could have learned about tractors. She reminds him that he intends to study radios and that she “ain’t gonna have this baby in no tent.” Ma cooks a stew that attracts a bevy of hungry children. After feeding her family, she hands over the meager leftovers, which the children devour ravenously.
A contractor arrives in a new Chevrolet coupe to recruit workers for a fruit-picking job in Tulare County. When Knowles demands a contract and a set wage for the fruit pickers, the man summons a police deputy, who arrests Knowles on a bogus charge and then begins threatening the others. A scuffle ensues. Knowles runs off, and the deputy shoots at him recklessly, piercing a woman through the hand. Tom trips the deputy, and Casy, coming from behind, knocks him unconscious. Knowing that someone will need to be held accountable, Casy volunteers, reminding Tom that he has broken parole by leaving Oklahoma. Backup officers arrive and arrest Casy. The sheriff announces that the whole camp will now be burned.
Uncle John is distraught by Casy’s sacrifice. Uncle John had spoken with Casy about the nature of sin, and now that the former preacher is gone, John’s wife’s tragic death lies heavy upon him. He tells the family that he must get drunk or he will not be able to bear his sorrow. They allow him to go buy alcohol. Rose of Sharon asks if anyone has seen Connie, and Al says that he saw him walking south along the river. Pa insists that Connie was always a good-for-nothing, but Rose of Sharon is beside herself with grief at his absence. Meanwhile, convinced that his family needs to leave the camp before further trouble erupts, Tom rounds up Uncle John, knocking the man unconscious in order to get him on the truck. The Joads depart, leaving word at the camp store for Connie in case he returns. Coming upon a nearby town, the family is turned away by a crowd of pick-handle and shotgun wielding men, who have stationed themselves by the road to keep Okies out. Tom is enraged, but Ma Joad reminds him that a “different time’s comin’.”
Summary: Chapter Twenty-One
The hostility directed toward the migrants changes them and brings them together. Property owners are terrified of “the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants.” California locals form armed bands to terrorize the “Okies” and keep them in their place. The owners of large farms drive the smaller farmers out of business, making more and more people destitute and unable to feed themselves or their children.
Analysis: Chapters Nineteen–Twenty-One
Chapters Nineteen and Twenty-One act like a refrain in their repetition of the novel’s social criticism. Both present history—especially California’s history—as a battle between the rich and the poor. Founded by squatters who stole the land from Mexicans, California has been the setting for a series of desperate measures taken by “frantic hungry men.” The landowners fear that history will repeat itself, and that the migrant farmers, who crave land and sustenance, will take their livelihood from them. The migrants, however, seeing acre upon acre of unused land, dream of tending just enough of it to support their families. The migrants’ simple desire to produce, and the landowners’ resistance, receives particularly poignant illustration in the tale of the man who plants a few carrots and turnips in a fallow field.
Chapter Twenty finds the Joads in Hooverville, where harsh reality further intrudes upon their idealistic vision of solidarity. The Joads have already encountered fellow migrants who do not share their desire to cooperate. The men who have failed to make a living in California, for example, show little interest in joining forces with the family. Disillusioned by their experiences, these men openly doubt and even mock the Joads’ optimism. This unfriendliness, combined with an intensifying scarcity of resources, makes it increasingly difficult for the Joads to honor bonds other than those of kinship. The scene in which Ma Joad prepares her stew offers a powerful illustration of this. Here, the scarcity of food forces her to walk a thin line between selfish interest in her own family and generosity toward the larger community. Yet, while Ma looks to the needs of her family first, she does manage to do what she can to alleviate some of the hunger of the onlooking children. Her compassion toward these strangers, whom she nonetheless considers her people, elevates her above the bleak and hateful circumstances that surround her.
While Ma expresses her devotion to community by sharing her stew with her fellow migrants’ children, Tom and Casy begin to express this devotion in more overtly political ways and with a sense of often violent outrage. The incident surrounding Floyd Knowles and the fruit-picking contractor signifies the beginning of the two men’s involvement in the burgeoning movement to organize migrant labor, to protect workers against unfair treatment and unlivable wages. Although the men have always possessed a sense for injustice, they do not act on their convictions until they witness Floyd Knowles’s impassioned speech against unfair labor practices. While the hardships facing the family serve to kindle devotions in some, they serve to rupture loyalties in others. Connie’s decision to abandon his wife and unborn child affects Rose of Sharon deeply and constitutes a turning point for her. His departure disabuses the girl of all notions of a charmed life in the big city and forces her to come to terms with the conditions in which she lives.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:31 pm

Summary: Chapter Twenty-Two

[T]hat police. He done somepin to me, made me feel mean . . . ashamed. An’ now I ain’t ashamed . . . Why, I feel like people again.
(See Important Quotations Explained)
Later that night, the Joads come across the Weedpatch camp, a decent, government-sponsored facility where migrants govern themselves, thus avoiding the abuse of corrupt police officers. Appointed committees ensure that the grounds remain clean and equipped with working toilets and showers. Early in the morning after their arrival, Tom wakes and meets Timothy and Wilkie Wallace, who invite him to breakfast. They agree to take him to the ranch they have been working on to see if they can get him a job. At the ranch, the boss, Mr. Thomas, tells the men about the Farmers’ Association, which demands that he pay his laborers twenty-five cents an hour and no more. Even though he knows his men deserve a higher wage, Thomas claims that to pay more would “only cause unrest.” He goes on to say that the government camp makes the association extremely uncomfortable: the members believe the place to be riddled with communists, or “red agitators.” In hopes of shutting the facilities down, Mr. Thomas says, the association is planning to send instigators into the camp on Saturday night to start a riot. The police will then have the right to enter the camp, arrest the labor organizers, and evict the migrants.
Back at the camp, the rest of the Joad men go to find work, and Ma is visited by Jim Rawley, the camp manager, whose kindness makes her feel human again. A religious fanatic named Mrs. Sandry appears and tells Rose of Sharon to beware of the dancing and sinning that goes on in the camp: the babies of sinners, she warns, are born “dead and bloody.” The camp’s Ladies Committee then drops in on Ma and Rose of Sharon, introducing the women to the rules of the camp. Pa, Al, and Uncle John return from a day of fruitless searching for work, but Ma remains hopeful, for Tom has been hired.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Three
When the people are not working or looking for work, they make music and tell folktales together. If they have money, they can buy alcohol, which, like music, temporarily distracts them from their miseries. Preachers give fire-and-brimstone sermons about evil and sin, haranguing the people until they grovel on the ground, and conduct mass baptisms. These are the various methods the migrants have for finding escape and salvation.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Four
It is the night of the camp dance—the night that the Farmers’ Association plans to start a riot and have the camp shut down. Ezra Huston, the chairman of the camp committee, hires twenty men to look out for instigators and preempt the riot. Although Rose of Sharon goes to the event, she decides not to dance for fear of the effect it might have on her baby. As the music begins, Tom and the other men quickly spot three dubious-looking men. They watch the men carefully. When one of the suspected troublemakers picks a fight by stepping in to dance with another man’s date, the men apprehend the trio and evict them from the camp. Before they leave, Huston asks the three why they would turn against their own brethren, and the men confess that they have been well paid to start a riot. Later that night, a man tells a story about a group of mountain people who were hired as cheap labor by a rubber company in Akron. When the mountain people joined a union, the townspeople united to run them out of town. In response, five thousand mountain men marched through the center of town with their rifles, allegedly to shoot turkeys on the far side of the settlement. The march served as a powerful demonstration. The storyteller concludes that there has been no trouble between the townspeople and the workers since then.
Analysis: Chapters Twenty-Two–Twenty-Four
Life in the Weedpatch government camp proves to turn the Joads’ luck around. Perhaps for the first time since leaving Oklahoma, the family finds itself in a secure position. Tom finds a job, and the camp manager treats Ma with such dignity that she says she feels “like people again.” The charity, kindness, and goodwill that the migrants exhibit toward one another testifies to the power of their fellowship. When left to their own devices, and given shelter from the corrupt social system that keeps them down, the migrants make the first steps toward establishing an almost utopian mini-society. Moreover, life in Weedpatch disproves the landowners’ beliefs that “Okies” lead undignified, uncivilized lives. Indeed, the migrants show themselves to be more civilized than the landowners, as demonstrated by the way in which they respond to the Farmers’ Association’s plot to sabotage the camp. Most of the wealthy landowners believe that poverty-stricken, uneducated farmers deserve to be treated contemptuously. These men maintain that to reward farmers with amenities such as toilets, showers, and comfortable wages will merely give them a sense of entitlement, embolden them to ask for more, and thus create social and economic unrest. The migrants, however, meet the association’s scheming and violent plot with grace and integrity. Here, the farmers rise far above the men who oppress them by exhibiting a kind of dignity that, in the world Steinbeck describes, often eludes the rich.
The Joads’ experiences in the Weedpatch camp serve to illustrate one of the novel’s main theses: humans find their greatest strength in numbers. When Ma tries to help Rose of Sharon to overcome her grief at Connie’s abandonment, she reminds the girl, “[Y]ou’re jest one person, an’ they’s a lot of other folks.” As the novel has suggested time and again, the needs of the group supersede the needs of the individual. As the novel moves into its final chapters, this philosophy takes center stage. The unity of the migrants poses the greatest threat to landowners and the socioeconomic system on which they thrive. This idea begins to dawn on the farmers, who realize the effects that their numbers, once organized, might have. The story about the rubber workers and their mass march indicates the desperation of people in these times to obtain not only economic solvency but the respect they deserve as human beings.
As Tom’s political involvement increases, the reader notes a change in his character. At the beginning of the novel, Tom asserted that he was interested only in getting through the present day; thinking about the future proved too troubling a task. Now, however, devoted as he is to his family and his fellow migrants, Tom begins to look toward the future and its possibilities.
The Weedpatch camp changes not only individual characters but also the interactions among groups of characters. Thus, we witness a shift of power taking place within the Joad clan. Always a source of strength and indomitable love, Ma Joad begins to move into a space traditionally reserved for male family members: as Pa Joad suffers one failure after another, Ma is called upon to make decisions and guide the family. The altered family structure parallels the more general revision of traditional power structures in the camp. The farmers now make their own decisions, delegating duties according to notions of fairness and common sense rather than adhering to old hierarchies or submitting to individual cravings for control. As Jim Casy had predicted in Chapter Ten when he insisted on helping Ma salt the family’s meat, when faced with unprecedented hardship, people can no longer afford to stratify themselves according to gender, age, or other superficial differences.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:32 pm

Chapters Twenty-Five–Twenty-Seven
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Five
Spring is beautiful in California, but, like the migrants, many small local farmers stand to be ruined by large landowners, who monopolize the industry. Unable to compete with these magnates, small farmers watch their crops wither and their debts rise. The wine in the vineyards’ vats goes bad, and anger and resentment spread throughout the land. The narrator comments, “In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Six
After nearly a month in the government camp, the Joads find their supplies running low and work scarce. Ma Joad convinces the others that they must leave the camp the next day. They make preparations and say good-bye to their friends. The truck has a flat tire, and as they are fixing it, a man in a suit and heavy jewelry pulls up in a roadster with news of employment: the Joads can go to work picking peaches only thirty-five miles away. When they arrive at the peach farm, they find cars backed up on the roads leading to it, and angry mobs of people shout from the roadside. The family learns that they will be paid only five cents a box for picking peaches; desperate for food, they take the job. At the end of the day, even with everyone in the family working, they have earned only one dollar. They must spend their entire day’s wages on their meal that night, and afterward they remain hungry.
That evening, Al goes looking for girls, and Tom, curious about the trouble on the roadside, goes to investigate. Guards turn him away at the orchard gate, but Tom sneaks under the gate and starts down the road. He comes upon a tent and discovers that one of the men inside is Jim Casy. Jim tells him about his experience in prison and reports that he now works to organize the migrant farmers. He explains that the owner of the peach orchards cut wages to two-and-a-half cents a box, so the men went on strike. Now the owner has hired a new group of men in hopes of breaking the strike. Casy predicts that by tomorrow, even the strike-breakers will be making only two-and-a-half cents per box. Tom and Casy see flashlight beams, and two policemen approach them, recognizing Casy as the workers’ leader and referring to him as a communist. As Casy protests that the men are only helping to starve children, one of them crushes his skull with a pick handle. Tom flies into a rage and wields the pick handle on Casy’s murderer, killing him before receiving a blow to his own head. He manages to run away and makes it back to his family. In the morning, when they discover his wounds and hear his story, Tom offers to leave so as not to bring any trouble to them. Ma, however, insists that he stay. They leave the peach farm and head off to find work picking cotton. Tom hides in a culvert close to the plantation—his crushed nose and bruised face would bring suspicion upon him—and the family sneaks food to him.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Seven
Signs appear everywhere advertising work in the cotton fields. Wages are decent, but workers without cotton-picking sacks are forced to buy them on credit. There are so many workers that some are unable to do enough work even to pay for their sacks. Some of the owners are crooked and rig the scales used to weigh the cotton. To counter this practice, the migrants often load stones in their sacks.
Analysis: Chapters Twetny-Five–Twenty-Seven
In the short, expository chapters that intersperse the story of the Joads, Steinbeck employs a range of prose styles and tones. He ranges from overt symbolism (as with the turtle in Chapter Three), to heated sermonizing (as with his indictment of corrupt businessmen in Chapter Seven), to the didactic tone of a parable (as with the story of Mae the waitress in Chapter Fifteen). In this part of the book, Steinbeck turns to the rough, native language of the people to convey a day on a cotton farm (Chapter Twenty-Seven): the effect is an intimate, lively, and moving portrayal of the daily life of the migrants. In Chapter Twenty-Five, the phrasing and word choice evokes biblical language: simple and declarative, yet highly stylized and symbolic. Steinbeck portrays the rotten state of the economic system by describing the literal decay that results from this system’s agricultural mismanagement. Depictions of the putrefying crops symbolize the people’s darkening, festering anger. The rotting vines and spoiled vintage in particular, both a source and an emblem of the workers’ rage, become a central image and provide the novel with its title.
The Joads’ dream of a golden life in California, like the season’s wine, has gone sour. After a month in the government camp with little work, the family’s resources are dangerously low. The few days of charmed living have passed. Desperate and discouraged, Ma announces that the family needs to move on; her seizure of authority rocks the traditional family structure. Pa is upset that Ma has assumed the task of decision-making, a responsibility that typically belongs to the male head of the household. When he threatens to put her back in her “proper place,” Ma responds by saying, “[Y]ou ain’t a-doin’ your job. . . . If you was, why, you could use your stick, an’ women folks’d sniffle their nose and creep-mouse aroun’. ” The family structure has undergone a revolution, in which the female figure, traditionally powerless, has taken control, while the male figure, traditionally in the leadership role, has retreated.
In this section, the stakes of the conflict established in previous chapters are made clear: the contest between rich and poor, between landowners and migrants, is one that will—and perhaps must—be fought to the death. As the end of Chapter Twenty-Five states, the people’s anger is ripening, “growing heavy for the vintage.” In other words, their anger must soon be released in a burst of violence. When that happens, lives will be lost. Casy’s death stands as a sober reminder of the price that must be paid for equality.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:33 pm

Summary: Chapter Twenty-Eight

Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. . . . An’ when our folks eat [what] they raise an’ live in the houses they build . . . I’ll be there.
(See Important Quotations Explained)
At the cotton fields, the Joads are given a boxcar to live in, but they are forced to share it with another family, the Wainwrights. They soon make enough money to buy food and clothing, and Ma Joad is even able to indulge and treat Ruthie and Winfield to a box of Cracker Jack candy. When another girl, envious of Ruthie’s treat, picks a fight with her, Ruthie boasts angrily that her older brother has killed two men and is now in hiding. Ma Joad hurries into the woods to warn Tom that his secret has been revealed. Sorrowfully, she urges him to leave lest he be caught. Tom shares with his mother some of Jim Casy’s words of wisdom, which he has been pondering since his friend died: every man’s soul is simply a small piece of a great soul. Tom says that he has decided to unify his soul with this great soul by working to organize the people, as Casy would have wanted. Ma reminds Tom that Casy died for his efforts, but Tom jokes that he will be faster to duck out of harm’s way. As Ma returns to the boxcar, the owner of a small farm stops her and tells her he needs pickers for his twenty acres. Ma brings the news of the job back to the boxcar, where Al announces that he and Agnes Wainwright plan to be married. The families celebrate.
The next day, the two families travel to the small plantation, where so many workers have amassed that the entire crop is picked before noon. Glumly, the family returns to the boxcar, and it begins to rain.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Nine
Rain lashes the land, and no work can be done during the deluge. Rivers overflow, and cars wash away in the coursing mud. The men are forced to beg and to steal food. The women watch the men in apprehension, worried that they might finally see them break. Instead, however, they see the men’s fear turning to anger. The women know that their men will remain strong as long as they can maintain their rage.
Summary: Chapter Thirty

The rain continues to fall. On the third day of the storm, the skies still show no sign of clearing. Rose of Sharon, sick and feverish, goes into labor. The truck has flooded, and the family has no choice but to remain in the boxcar. At Pa’s urging, the men work to build a makeshift dam to keep the water from flooding their shelter or washing it away. However, an uprooted tree cascades into the dam and destroys it. When Pa Joad enters the car, soaked and defeated, Mrs. Wainwright informs him that Rose of Sharon has delivered a stillborn baby. The family sends Uncle John to bury the child. He ventures into the storm, places the improvised coffin in the stream, and watches the current carry it away. The rains continue. Pa spends the last of the family’s money on food.
On the sixth day of rain, the flood begins to overtake the boxcar, and Ma decides that the family must seek dry ground. Al decides to stay with the Wainwrights and Agnes. Traveling on foot, the remaining Joads spot a barn and head toward it. There, they find a dying man and small boy. The boy tells them that his father has not eaten for six days, having given all available food to his son. The man’s health has deteriorated to such an extent that he cannot digest solid food; he needs soup or milk. Ma looks to Rose of Sharon, and the girl at once understands her unstated thoughts. Rose of Sharon asks everyone to leave the barn and, once alone, she approaches the starving man. Despite his protests, she holds him close and suckles him.
Analysis: Chapters Twenty-Eight–Thirty
The end of The Grapes of Wrath is among the most memorable concluding chapters in American literature. Tom continues the legacy of Jim Casy as he promises to live his life devoted to a soul greater than his own. Recognizing the truth in the teachings of the Christ-like Casy, Tom realizes that a person’s highest calling is to put him- or herself in the service of the collective good. As Tom leaves his family to fight for social justice, he completes the transformation that began several chapters earlier. Initially lacking the patience and energy to consider the future at all, he marches off to lead the struggle toward making that future a kinder and gentler one.
Without Tom, and without food or work, the Joads sink, in the novel’s final chapter, to their most destitute moment yet. Nonetheless, the book ends on a surprisingly hopeful note: Steinbeck uses a collection of symbols, most of them borrowed from biblical stories, to inject a deeply spiritual optimism into his bleak tale. Thus, while the rain represents a damaging force that threatens to wash away the few possessions the Joads have left, it also represents a power of renewal. The reader recalls Steinbeck’s phrasing in Chapter Twenty-Nine, in which the text notes that the downpours, although causing great destruction, also enable the coming of spring: we read that the raindrops are followed by “[t]iny points of grass,” making the hills a pale green.
Even the events surrounding the birth of the dead baby contain images of hope. As Uncle John floats the child downstream, Steinbeck invokes the story of Moses, who, as a baby, was sent down the Nile, and later delivered his people out of slavery and into the Promised Land of Israel. As John surrenders the tiny body to the currents, he tells it: “Go down an’ tell ’em. Go down in the street an’ rot an’ tell ’em that way. That’s the way you can talk.” The child’s corpse becomes a symbolic messenger, charged with the task of testifying to his people’s suffering. (Again, in John’s speech we find an allusion to the life of the Hebrew prophet: his words echo the refrain of the traditional folk gospel song “Go Down, Moses.”)

Says . . . he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul. Says . . . [his piece] wasn’t no good ’less it was with the rest, an’ was whole.
(See Important Quotations Explained)
The closing image of the novel is imbued with equal spiritual power as Rose of Sharon and the starving man in the barn form the figure of a Pietà—a famous motif in visual art in which the Virgin Mary holds the dead Christ in her lap. As Rose of Sharon suckles the dying man, we watch her transform from the complaining, naive, often self-centered girl of previous chapters into a figure of maternal love. As a mother whose child has been sacrificed to send a larger message to the world, she assumes a role similar to that of the mother of Christ. Like Mary, she represents ultimate comfort and protection from suffering, confirming an image of the world in which generosity and self-sacrifice are the greatest of virtues.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:34 pm

Thats all you may post now =] and sweet dreams Sleep Sleep Sleep
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:36 pm

oh credits to John strident for writing this boring book.
Credits to school for making me read this boring book.
Credits to my computer to copying and pasting this boring book.
Credits to sparknotes for providing the summary of this boring book.


Overal i will give book a 1/10000 the one for being such a good bedtime story
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PostSubject: Re: The Grapes of wrath   Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:02 am

I'll find time to read this, but for now, the white on black background plus wall of texting is burning my eyes.
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