p> The harvest of Hemingway's considerable experience of Spain in war and
peace was the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), a substantial and
impressive work that some critics consider his finest novel, in preference
to A Farewell to Arms. It was also the most successful of all his books as
measured in sales. Set during the Spanish Civil War, it tells of Robert
Jordan, an American volunteer who is sent to join a guerrilla band behind
the Nationalist lines in the Guadarrama Mountains. Most of the novel
concerns Jordan's relations with the varied personalities of the band,
including the girl Maria, with whom he falls in love. Through dialogue,
flashbacks, and stories, Hemingway offers telling and vivid profiles of the
Spanish character and unsparingly depicts the cruelty and inhumanity
stirred up by the civil war. Jordan's mission is to blow up a strategic
bridge near Segovia in order to aid a coming Republican attack, which he
realizes is doomed to fail. In an atmosphere of impending disaster, he
blows up the bridge but is wounded and makes his retreating comrades leave
him behind, where he prepares a last-minute resistance to his Nationalist
pursuers.All of his life Hemingway was fascinated by war--in A Farewell to
Arms he focused on its pointlessness, in For Whom the Bell Tolls on the
comradeship it creates--and as World War II progressed he made his way to
London as a journalist. He flew several missions with the Royal Air Force
and crossed the English Channel with American troops on D-Day (June 6,
Attaching himself to the 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division, he
saw a good deal of action in Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge. He
also participated in the liberation of Paris and, although ostensibly a
journalist, he impressed professional soldiers not only as a man of courage
in battle but also as a real expert in military matters, guerrilla
activities, and intelligence collection.Following the war in Europe,
Hemingway returned to his home in Cuba and began to work seriously again.
He also traveled widely, and on a trip to Africa he was injured in a plane
crash. Soon after (in 1953), he received the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for
The Old Man and the Sea (1952), a short, heroic novel about an old Cuban
fisherman who, after an extended struggle, hooks and boats a giant marlin
only to have it eaten by voracious sharks during the long voyage home.
This book, which played a role in gaining for Hemingway the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1954, was as enthusiastically praised as his
previous novel, Across the River and into the Trees (1950), the story of a
professional army officer who dies while on leave in Venice, had been
damned.By 1960 Fidel Castro's revolution had driven Hemingway from Cuba. He
settled in Ketchum, Idaho, and tried to lead his life and do his work as
before. For a while he succeeded, but, anxiety-ridden and depressed, he was
twice hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he
received electroshock treatments. Two days after his return to the house in
Ketchum, he took his life with a shotgun. Hemingway had married four times
and fathered three sons.He left behind a substantial amount of manuscript,
some which has been published. A Moveable Feast, an entertaining memoir of
his years in Paris (1921-26) before he was famous, was issued in 1964.
Islands in the Stream, three closely related novellas growing directly out
of his peacetime memories of the Caribbean island of Bimini, of Havana
during World War II, and of searching for U-boats off Cuba, appeared in
1970.Hemingway's characters plainly embody his own values and view of life.
The main characters of The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For
Whom the Bell Tolls are young men whose strength and self-confidence
nevertheless coexist with a sensitivity that leaves them deeply scarred by
their wartime experiences. War was for Hemingway a potent symbol of the
world, which he viewed as complex, filled with moral ambiguities, and
offering almost unavoidable pain, hurt, and destruction. To survive in such
a world, and perhaps emerge victorious, one must conduct oneself with
honour, courage, endurance, and dignity, a set of principles known as "the
To behave well in the lonely, losing battle with life is to show "grace
under pressure" and constitutes in itself a kind of victory, a theme
clearly established in The Old Man and the Sea.Hemingway's prose style was
probably the most widely imitated of any in the 20th century. He wished to
strip his own use of language of inessentials, ridding it of all traces of
verbosity, embellishment, and sentimentality. In striving to be as
objective and honest as possible, Hemingway hit upon the device of
describing a series of actions using short, simple sentences from which all
comment or emotional rhetoric have been eliminated. These sentences are
composed largely of nouns and verbs, have few adjectives and adverbs, and
rely on repetition and rhythm for much of their effect. The resulting
terse, concentrated prose is concrete and unemotional yet is often resonant
and capable of conveying great irony through understatement. Hemingway's
use of dialogue was similarly fresh, simple, and natural-sounding. The
influence of this style was felt worldwide wherever novels were written,
particularly from the 1930s through the '50s.A consummately contradictory
man, Hemingway achieved a fame surpassed by few, if any, American authors
of the 20th century. The virile nature of his writing, which attempted to
re-create the exact physical sensations he experienced in wartime, big-game
hunting, and bullfighting, in fact masked an aesthetic sensibility of great
delicacy. He was a celebrity long before he reached middle age, but his
popularity continues to be validated by serious critical opinion.
Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in the summer of 1899.
As a young man, he left home to become a newspaper writer in Kansas City.
Early in 1918, he joined the Italian Red Cross and became an ambulance
driver in Italy, serving in the battlefield in the First World War, in
which the Italians allied with the British, the French, and the Americans,
against Germany and Austria-Hungary. In Italy, he observed the carnage and
the brutality of the Great War firsthand. On July 8, 1918, a trench mortar
shell struck him while he crouched beyond the front lines with three
Though Hemingway embellished the story of his wounding over the years,
this much is certain: he was transferred to a hospital in Milan, where he
fell in love with a Red Cross nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. Scholars are
divided over Agnes' role in Hemingway's life and writing, but there is
little doubt that his affair with her provided the background for A
Farewell to Arms, which many critics consider to be Hemingway's greatest
Published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms tells the story of Frederic
Henry, a young American ambulance driver and first lieutenant ("Tenente")
in the Italian army. Hit in the leg by a trench mortar shell in the
fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary, Henry is transferred to a
hospital in Milan, where he falls in love with an English Red Cross nurse
named Catherine Barkley. The similarities to Hemingway's own life are
After the war, when he had published several novels and become a famous
writer, Hemingway claimed that the account of Henry's wounding in A
Farewell to Arms was the most accurate version of his own wounding he had
ever written. Hemingway's life certainly gave the novel a trenchant
urgency, and its similarity to his own experience no doubt helped him
refine the terse, realistic, descriptive style for which he became famous,
and which made him one of the most influential American writers of the
Book I, Chapters 1-6
Frederic Henry begins his story by describing his situation: he is an
American in the Italian army near the front with Austria-Hungary, a mile
from the fighting. Every day he sees troops marching and hears gunfire;
often the King rides through the town. A cholera epidemic has spread
through the army, he says, but only seven thousand die of it.
His unit moves to a town in Gorizia, further from the fighting, which
continues in the mountains beyond. His situation is relatively enjoyable;
the town is not badly damaged, with nice cafes and two brothels--one for
the officers and one for the enlisted men. One day Henry sits in the mess
hall with a group of fellow officers taunting the military priest. A
captain accuses the priest of cavorting with women, and the priest blushes;
though he is not religious, Henry treats the priest kindly. After teasing
the priest, the Italians argue over where Henry should take his leave;
because the winter is approaching, the fighting will ease, and Henry, an
ambulance driver, will be able to spend some time away from the front. The
priest encourages him to visit the cold, clear country of Abruzzo, but the
other men have other suggestions.
When he returns from his leave, Henry discusses his trip with his
roommate, the surgeon Rinaldi. Henry claims to have traveled throughout
Italy, and Rinaldi, who is obsessed with beautiful girls, tells him about a
group of new English women and claims to be in love with a Miss Barkley.
Henry loans him fifty lire (Italian money). At dinner that night, the
priest is hurt that Henry failed to visit Abruzzi. Henry feels guilty, and
tells him that he wanted to visit Abruzzi.
The next morning, Henry examines the gun batteries and quizzes the
mechanics; then he travels to visit Miss Barkley and the English nurses
with Rinaldi. He is immediately struck by Miss Barkley's beauty, and
especially by her long blonde hair. Miss Barkley tells Henry that her
fiancee was killed in the battle of the Somme, and Henry tells her he has
never loved anyone. On the way back, Rinaldi observes that Miss Barkley
liked Henry more than she liked Rinaldi, but that her friend, Helen
Ferguson, was nice too.
The next day, Henry calls on Miss Barkley again. The head nurse
expresses surprise that an American would want to join the Italian army,
and tells him that Miss Barkley is gone-- but says that Henry may come back
to see her at seven o'clock that night. Henry drives back along the
trenches, eats dinner, then returns to see Miss Barkley. He finds her
waiting with Helen Ferguson; Helen excuses herself, and Henry tries to put
his arm around her. She refuses, but allows him to kiss her. Then she
begins to cry, and Henry is annoyed. When Henry goes home, Rinaldi is
Three nights later, Henry sees Miss Barkley again; she tells him to
call her Catherine. They walk through the garden, and Henry tells Catherine
he loves her, though he knows he does not. They kiss again, and he thinks
of their relationship as an elaborate game. To his surprise, she suddenly
tells him that he plays the game very well, but that it is a rotten game.
Henry sees Rinaldi later that evening, and Rinaldi, observing Henry's
romantic confusion, feel glad that he did not become involved with a
Book I, Chapters 7-12
Driving back from his post, Henry picks up a soldier with a hernia;
they discuss the War, and Henry arranges a way to get the man to a
hospital. Henry thinks about the War, and realizes that he feels no danger
from it. At dinner that night, the men drink and tease the priest; Henry
nearly forgets he had promised to go see Catherine, and before he rushes
over, Rinaldi gives him some coffee to sober him up. At the nurses' villa,
Helen Ferguson tells Henry that Catherine is sick and will not see him.
Henry feels guilty and surprisingly lonely.
The next day an attack is scheduled. Henry goes to see Catherine, and
she gives him a Saint Anthony medal. He spends the day driving to the spot
where the fighting will take place.Henry and his men wait in the trenches
as the shelling begins. They are hungry, and Henry risks being shot to
fetch some cheese. As he sits down to eat it, he hears a loud noise and
sees a flash and believes he has died. A trench mortar shell has struck him
in the leg. Wounded men fall all around him.
Henry's surviving men carry him to safety; a British doctor treats him
on the field, then sends him in an ambulance to the field hospital. Henry
lies in intense pain. Rinaldi comes to visit him at the field hospital, and
tells Henry that he will get a medal. Henry shows no interest in medals.
Rinaldi leaves him a bottle of cognac and promises to send Miss Barkley to
see him soon.
At dusk, the priest comes to visit. They discuss the war, then God.
Henry tells the priest he does not love God--he says he does not love
anything much. The priest tells him he will find love, and it will make him
happy. Henry claims to have always been happy, but the priest says Henry
will know another kind of happiness when he finds it. Half delirious, Henry
thinks about Italian towns, then falls asleep.
Rinaldi and a Major from their group come to visit Henry the night
before he moves to a better hospital in Milan. Henry is still half-
delirious, and they drink profusely. After a confused conversation, Henry
falls into a drunken sleep. The next day, he is taken on a train to Milan.
Book II, Chapters 13-17
At Milan, Frederic Henry is taken to the American hospital. A young,
pretty nurse named Miss Gage makes his bed and takes his temperature. The
head nurse, Miss Van Campen, irritates Henry by not allowing him to have
wine. Henry pays some Italians to sneak wine into his room with the evening
In the morning, Miss Gage tells Henry that Miss Barkley has come to
work at the hospital--she claims not to like her, but Henry tells her she
will learn to like her. The porter brings a barber to shave Henry, but the
barber mistakes Henry for an Austrian soldier and threatens to cut his
throat. After the barber and the porter leave, Miss Barkley comes in, and
Henry realizes he is in love with her. He pulls her down into the bed with
him, and they make love for the first time.
Henry goes through a round of doctors who remove some of the shrapnel
from his leg. The doctors seem incompetent, and tell Henry he will have to
wait six months for an operation if he wants to keep his leg. He cannot
stand the thought of spending six months in bed, and asks for another
opinion; the house doctor says he will send for Dr. Valentini. When Dr.
Valentini comes, he is cheerful, energetic, and competent and says he will
perform the operation in the morning.Catherine spends the night in Henry's
room, and they see a bat. Catherine prepares him for the operation, and
warns him not to talk about their affair while under the anaesthetic.
After the operation, Henry is very sick. As he recovers, three other
patients come to the hospital--a boy from Georgia with malaria, a boy from
New York with malaria and jaundice, and a boy who tried to unscrew the fuse
cap from an explosive shell for a souvenir. Henry develops an appreciation
for Helen Ferguson, who helps him pass notes to Catherine while she is on
duty. Catherine continues to stay with Henry every night, but Henry and
Miss Gage finally convince her to take three nights off of night duty--Miss
Van Campen has commented that Henry always sleeps till noon.
Book II, Chapters 18-24
That summer Henry learns to walk on crutches, and he and Catherine
enjoy Milan. They befriend the headwaiter at a restaurant called the Gran
Italia, and Catherine continues to see Henry every night. They discuss
marriage, but Catherine remains opposed to the idea for the time being.
They pretend to be married instead. Catherine tells Henry that her love for
him has become her religion.
When not with Catherine, Henry spends time with a soldier named Ettore
Moretti, an Italian from San Francisco who is very proud of his war medals.
Ettore is extremely boastful about his military prowess, and Catherine
finds him annoying and dull. One night Henry and Catherine lie in bed
listening to the rain, and Catherine asks Henry if he will always love her.
She says she is afraid of the rain, and begins to cry.
Henry and Catherine go to the races with Helen Ferguson, whom Henry now
calls "Fergie," and the boy who tried to unscrew the nose cap on the
shrapnel shell. They bet on a horse backed by a racing expert and former
criminal named Mr. Myers; they win, but Catherine feels dissatisfied, so
they pick a horse for the next race on their own. Even though they lose,
Catherine feels much better.
By September, Henry's leg is nearly healed. He receives some leave time
from the hospital, and Catherine tells him she will arrange to go with him.
She then gives him a piece of startling news: she is six months pregnant.
Catherine worries that Henry feels trapped, and promises not to make
trouble for him, but he tells her he feels cheerful and thinks she is
wonderful. Catherine talks about the obstacles they will face, and mentions
the old quote about how the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but
one. She says that, in reality, the brave man dies perhaps two thousand
deaths in his imagination--he simply does not mention them.
The next morning it begins to rain, and Henry is diagnosed with
jaundice. Miss Van Campen finds empty liquor bottles in Henry's room, and
accuses him of producing jaundice through alcoholism to avoid being sent
back to the front. Miss Gage helps Henry clear things up, but in the end he
loses his leave time.
Henry prepares to travel back to the front. He buys a new pistol, and
takes Catherine to a hotel. The hotel makes Catherine feel like a
prostitute, but before the night is over they feel at home there. Before
midnight, they walk downstairs and Henry calls a carriage for Catherine.
They have a brief good-bye, and Henry boards the crowded train that will
take him back to the war.
Book III, Chapters 25-28
After returning to Gorizia, Henry has a talk with the major about the
war--it was a bad year, the major says; Henry was lucky to get hit when he
did. Henry then goes to find Rinaldi; while he waits for his friend, he
thinks about Catherine. Rinaldi comes into the room and is glad to see
Henry; concerned, he examines Henry's wounded knee. He says that he has
become a skilled surgeon from the constant work with the wounded, but now
that the fighting has died down temporarily he has a frustrating lack of
work. They talk about Catherine, and at dinner the officers tease the
After dinner, Henry goes to talk with the priest. The priest thinks the
war will end soon, but Henry remains skeptical. After the priest leaves,
Henry goes to sleep; he wakes when Rinaldi comes back, but quickly falls
The next morning, he travels to the Bainsizza area, and sees the damage
caused by the war: the whole village is destroyed. Henry meets a man named
Gino, and they discuss the fighting. Gino says the summer's losses were not
in vain, and Henry falls silent--he says words like those embarrass him. He
says that the names of villages and the numbers of streets have more
meaning than words like sacred and glorious.That night, the rain comes down
hard, and the Croatians begin a bombardment. In the morning, the Italians
learn that the attacking forces include Germans, and they become very
afraid--they have had little contact with the Germans in the war so far,
and prefer to keep it that way. The next night, the Italian line has been
broken, and the Italian forces begin a large-scale retreat.
As the forces slowly move out, Henry returns to the villa, but finds it
empty; Rinaldi is gone with the hospital. Henry finds the drivers under his
command, including Piani, Bonello, and Aymo. Before leaving in the morning,
Henry gets a good night's sleep.
They drive out slowly through the town, in an endless line of soldiers
and vehicles. Henry takes a turn sleeping, and shortly after he wakes, the
column stalls. He finds that Bonello has given two engineer sergeants a
ride, and Aymo has two girls in his car. Exhausted, Henry falls asleep
again, and dreams of Catherine.That night, columns of peasants join the
retreating army. In the early morning Henry and his men stop briefly at a
farmhouse, eating a large breakfast. Soon, they continue slowly on their
way, rejoining the line of trucks and soldiers.
Book III, Chapters 29-32
Aymo's car gets stuck in the soft ground; the men are forced to cut
brush hurriedly to place under the tires for traction. Henry orders the two
engineer sergeants riding with Bonello to help; afraid of being overtaken
by the enemy, they refuse, and try to leave. Henry draws his gun and shoots
one of them, but the other escapes. Bonello takes Henry's pistol and kills
the wounded sergeant.
They begin to cut branches and twigs; in the end, they are unable to
save the car. Henry gives some money to the two girls travelling with Aymo
and encourages them to go down to a nearby village, Aymo gets in Henry's
vehicle, and they set out, now cut off from the main column.
Crossing a bridge, Henry sees a nearby car full of German soldiers. As
they travel, they begin to notice more and more signs of German occupation,
and they worry that they have been completely cut off from Italian-
controlled land. They proceed with caution; a sudden burst of gunfire kills
Aymo. They realize he was shot by the Italian rear guard--the Italians are
ahead, but because the rear guard is afraid, they are almost as dangerous
as the Germans.
Fearing death, Bonello leaves in hopes of being taken prisoner. The men
hide in a barn that night, and in the morning they rejoin the Italians. The
enlisted men become furious with the officers, and Piani is afraid they
will try to kill Henry. Suddenly, two men (battle police) seize hold of
Henry. They seize Henry because he is a foreigner, and in the chaos of the
retreat they intend to shoot him for a spy. When they look away for a
moment, Henry dives into the river and swims away.
After floating in the river for what seems like a very long time, Henry
climbs out, removes the stars from his shirt, and counts his money. He
crosses the Venetian plain that day, then jumps aboard a military train
that evening, hiding under a canvas with guns.
Lying under the canvas, Henry thinks about the army, about the war, and
about Catherine. He realizes that he will be pronounced dead, and assumes
he will never see Rinaldi again. Rinaldi has been concerned he will die of
syphilis, and Henry worries for him. Exhausted and hungry, he imagines
finding Catherine and going away with her to a safe place.
Book V, Chapters 38-41
That fall, Henry and Catherine live in a brown wooden house on the side
of a mountain. They enjoy the company of Mr. and Mrs. Guttingen, who live
downstairs, and they remain very happy together; sometimes they walk down
the mountain path in Montreux. One day Catherine gets her hair done in
Montreux, and afterwards they go to have a beer--Catherine thinks beer is
good for the baby, because it will keep it small; she is worried about the
baby's size because the doctor has said she has a narrow pelvis. They talk
again about getting married, but Catherine wants to wait until after the
baby is born when she will be thin again.
Three days before Christmas, the snow comes. Catherine asks Henry if he
feels restless, and he says no, though he does wonder about his friends on
the front, such as Rinaldi and the priest.
Henry decides to grow a beard and by mid-January, he has one. Through
January and February he and Catherine remain very happy; in March they move
into town to be near the hospital. They stay in a hotel there for three
weeks; Catherine buys baby clothes, Henry works out in the gym, and they
both feel that the baby will arrive soon.
Finally, around three o'clock one morning, Catherine goes into labor.
They go to the hospital, where Catherine is given a nightgown and a room.
She encourages Henry to go out for breakfast, and he does, talking to the
old man who serves him. When he returns to the hospital, he finds that
Catherine has been taken to the delivery room. He goes in to see her; the
doctor stands by, and Catherine takes an anaesthetic gas when her
contractions become very painful. At two o'clock in the afternoon, Henry
goes out for lunch.
He goes back to the hospital; Catherine is now intoxicated from the
gas. The doctor thinks her pelvis is too narrow to allow the baby to pass
through, and advises a Caesarian section. Catherine suffers unbearable pain
and pleads for more gas. Finally they wheel her out on a stretcher to
perform the operation. Henry watches the rain outside.
Soon the doctor comes out and takes Henry to see the baby, a boy. Henry
has no feeling for the child. He then goes to see Catherine, and at first
worries that she is dead. When she asks him about their son, he tells her
he was fine, and the nurse gives him a quizzical look. Ushering him
outside, the nurse tells him that the boy is not fine--he strangled on the
umbilical cord, and never began to breathe.
He goes out for dinner, and when he returns the nurse tells him that
Catherine is hemorrhaging. He is filled with terror that she will die. When
he is allowed to see her, she tells him she will die, and asks him not to
say the same things to other girls. Henry goes into the hallway while they
try to treat Catherine, but nothing works; finally, he goes back into the
room and stays with her until she dies.
The doctor offers to drive him back to the hotel, but Henry declines.
He goes back into the room and tries to say good-bye to Catherine, but says
that it was like saying good-bye to a statue. He leaves the hospital and
walks back to his hotel in the rain
Frederic Henry - The novel's protagonist. A young American ambulance
driver in the Italian army during the First World War, Henry is disciplined
and courageous, but feels detached from life. When introduced to Catherine
Barkley, Henry discovers a capacity for love he had not known he possessed,
and begins a process of development that culminates with his desertion of
the Italian army. Throughout the novel, the Italian soldiers under Henry's
command call him "Tenente"--the Italian word for "lieutenant."
Catherine Barkley - An English nurse who falls in love with Frederic Henry.
Catherine's fiancee was killed in the battle of the Somme before she met
Henry. Catherine has cast aside conventional social values, and lives
according to her own values, devoting herself wholly to her love for Henry.
Her long, beautiful hair is her most distinctive physical feature.
Rinaldi - Frederic's friend, an Italian surgeon. Mischievous and wry,
Rinaldi is nevertheless a passionate and skilled doctor. Rinaldi makes a
practice of always being in love with a beautiful woman, and at the
beginning of the novel is attracted to Catherine Barkley; Rinaldi's
infatuation causes him to introduce Frederic and Catherine to one another.
Helen Ferguson - A friend of Catherine's. Though she remains fond of the
lovers and helps them, Helen is much more committed to social convention
than Henry and Catherine; she vocally disapproves of their "immoral" love
Miss Gage - An American nurse. Miss Gage becomes a friend to both Catherine
and Henry--in fact, she may be in love with Henry. Unlike Helen Ferguson,
she sets aside conventional social values to support their love affair.
Miss Van Campen - The superintendent of nurses at the American hospital
where Catherine works. Miss Van Campen is strict, cold, and unlikable; she
is obsessed with rules and regulations and has no patience for or interest
in individual feelings.
Dr. Valentini - An Italian surgeon who comes to the American hospital. Self-
assured and confident, Dr. Valentini is also a highly talented surgeon.
Frederic Henry takes an immediate liking to him.
Count Greffi - A spry ninety-four year old nobleman. Henry knows Count
Greffi from his time in Stresa, and the two play billiards together toward
the end of the novel. Despite his advanced age, the count is intelligent,
disciplined, and fully committed to life.
The Grapes of Wrath
Chapter One: Steinbeck begins the novel with a description of the dust bowl
climate of Oklahoma. The dust was so thick that men and women had to remain
in their houses, and when they had to leave they tied handkerchiefs over
their faces and wore goggles to protect their eyes. After the wind had
stopped, an even blanket of dust covered the earth. The corn crop was
ruined. Everybody wondered what they would do. The women and children knew
that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole, but the
men had not yet figured out what to do.
Chapter Two: A man approaches a small diner where a large red transport
truck is parked. The man is under thirty, with dark brown eyes and high
cheekbones. He wore new clothes that don't quite fit. The truck driver
exits from the diner and the man asks him for a ride, despite the "No
Riders" sticker on the truck. The man claims that sometimes a guy will do a
good thing even when a rich bastard makes him carry a sticker, and the
driver, feeling trapped by the statement, lets the man have a ride. While
driving, the truck driver asks questions, and the man finally gives his
name, Tom Joad. The truck driver claims that guys do strange things when
they drive trucks, such as make up poetry, because of the loneliness of the
job. The truck driver claims that his experience driving has trained his
memory and that he can remember everything about a person he passes.
Realizing that the truck driver is pressing for information, Tom finally
admits that he had just been released from McAlester prison for homicide.
He had been sentenced to seven years and was released after only four, for
Chapter Three: At the side of the roadside, a turtle crawled, dragging his
shell over the grass. He came to the embankment at the road and, with great
effort, climbed onto the road. As the turtle attempts to cross the road, it
is nearby hit by a sedan. A truck swerves to hit the turtle, but its wheel
only strikes the edge of its shell and spins it back off the highway. The
turtle lays on its back, but finally pulls itself over.
Chapter Four: After getting out of the truck, Tom Joad begins walking home.
He sees the turtle of the previous chapter and picks it up. He stops in the
shade of a tree to rest and meets a man who sits there, singing "Jesus is
My Savior." The man, Jim Casy, had a long, bony frame and sharp features. A
former minister, he recognizes Tom immediately. He was a "Burning Busher"
who used to "howl out the name of Jesus to glory," but he lost the calling
because he has too many sinful ideas that seem sensible. Tom tells Casy
that he took the turtle for his little brother, and he replies that nobody
can keep a turtle, for they eventually just go off on their own. Casy
claims that he doesn't know where he's going now, and Tom tells him to lead
people, even if he doesn't know where to lead them. Casy tells Tom that
part of the reason he quit preaching was that he too often succumbed to
temptation, having sex with many of the girls he Њsaved.' Finally he
realized that perhaps what he was doing wasn't a sin, and there isn't
really sin or virtue there are simply things people do. He realized he didn't Њknow Jesus,' he merely knew the stories of the
Bible. Tom tells Casy why he was in jail: he was at a dance drunk, and got
in a fight with a man. The man cut Tom with a knife, so he hit him over the
head with a shovel. Tom tells him that he was treated relatively well in
McAlester. He ate regularly, got clean clothes and bathed. He even tells
about how someone broke his parole to go back. Tom tells how his father
Њstole' their house. There was a family living there that moved away, so
his father, uncle and grandfather cut the house in two and dragged part of
it first, only to find that Wink Manley took the other half. They get to
the boundary fence of their property, and Tom tells him that they didn't
need a fence, but it gave Pa a feeling that their forty acres was forty
acres. Tom and Casy get to the house: something has happened nobody is
Chapter Five: This chapter describes the coming of the bank representatives
to evict the farmers. Some of the men were kind because they knew how cruel
their job was, while some were angry because they hated to be cruel, and
others were merely cold and hardened by their job. They are mostly pawns of
a system that they can merely obey. The tenant system has become untenable
for the banks, for one man on a tractor can take the place of a dozen
families. The farmers raise the possibility of armed insurrection, but what
would they fight against? They will be murderers if they stay, fighting
against the wrong targets.
Steinbeck describes the arrival of the tractors. They crawled over the
ground, cutting the earth like surgery and violating it like rape. The
tractor driver does his job simply out of necessity: he has to feed his
kids, even if it comes at the expense of dozens of families. Steinbeck
dramatizes a conversation between a truck driver and an evicted tenant
farmer. The farmer threatens to kill the driver, but even if he does so, he
will not stop the bank. Another driver will come. Even if the farmer
murders the president of the bank and board of directors, the bank is
controlled by the East. There is no effective target which could prevent
Chapter Six: Casy and Tom approached the Joad home. The house was mashed at
one corner and appeared deserted. Casy says that it looks like the arm of
the Lord had struck. Tom can tell that Ma isn't there, for she would have
never left the gate unhooked. They only see one resident (the cat), but Tom
wonders why the cat didn't go to find another family if his family had
moved, or why the neighbors hadn't taken the rest of the belongings in the
house. Muley Graves approaches, a short, lean old man with the truculent
look of an ornery child. Muley tells Tom that his mother was worrying about
him. His family was evicted, and had to move in with his Uncle John. They
were forced to chop cotton to make enough money to go west. Casy suggests
going west to pick grapes in California. Muley tells Tom and Casy that the
loss of the farm broke up his family his wife and kids went off to
California, while Muley chose to stay. He has been forced to eat wild game.
He muses about how angry he was when he was told he had to get off the
land. First he wanted to kill people, but then his family left and Muley
was left alone and wandering. He realized that he is used to the place,
even if he has to wander the land like a ghost. Tom tells them that he
can't go to California, for it would mean breaking parole. According to
Tom, prison has not changed him significantly. He thinks that if he saw
Herb Turnbull, the man he killed, coming after him with a knife again, he
would still hit him with the shovel. Tom tells them that there was a man in
McAlester that read a great deal about prisons and told him that they
started a long time ago and now cannot be stopped, despite the fact that
they do not actually rehabilitate people. Muley tells them that they have
to hide, for they are trespassing on the land. They have to hide in a cave
for the night.
Chapter Seven: The car dealership owners look at their customers. They
watch for weaknesses, such as a woman who wants an expensive car and can
push her husband into buying one. They attempt to make the customers feel
obliged. The proffts come from selling jalopies, not from new and
dependable cars. There are no guarantees, hidden costs and obvious flaws.
Chapter Eight: Tom and Casy reach Uncle John's farm. They remark that
Muley's lonely and covert lifestyle has obviously driven him insane.
According to Tom, his Uncle John is equally crazy, and wasn't expected to
live long, yet is older than his father. Still, he is tougher and meaner
than even Grampa, hardened by losing his young wife years ago. They see Pa
Joad fixing the truck. When he sees Tom, he assumes that he broke out of
jail. They go in the house and see Ma Joad, a heavy woman thick with child-
bearing and work. Her face was controlled and kindly. She worries that Tom
went mad in prison. This chapter also introduces Grampa and Granma Joad.
She is as tough as he is, once shooting her husband while she was speaking
in tongues. Noah Joad, Tom's older brother, is a strange man, slow and
withdrawn, with little pride and few urges. He may have been brain damaged
at childbirth. The family has dinner, and Casy says grace. He talks about
how Jesus went off into the wilderness alone, and how he did the same. Yet
what Casy concluded was that mankind was holy. Pa tells Tom about Al, his
sixteen-year old brother, who is concerned with little more than girls and
cars. He hasn't been at home at night for a week. His sister Rosasharn has
married Connie Rivers, and is several months pregnant. They have two
hundred dollars for their journey.
Chapter Nine: This chapter describes the process of selling belongings. The
items pile up in the yard, selling for ridiculously low prices. Whatever is
not sold must be burned, even items of sentimental value that simply cannot
be taken on the journey for lack of space.
Chapter Ten: Ma Joad tells Tom that she is concerned about going to
California, worried that it won't turn out well, for the only information
they have is from flyers they read. Casy asks to accompany them to
California. He wants to work in the fields, where he can listen to people
rather than preach to them. Tom says that preaching is a tone of voice and
a style, being good to people when they don't respond to it. Pa and Uncle
John return with the truck, and prepare to leave. The two children, twelve-
year old Ruthie and ten-year old Winfield are there with their older
sister, Rose of Sharon (Rosasharn) and her husband. They discuss how Tom
can't leave the state because of his parole. They have a family conference
that night and discuss a number of issues: they decide to allow Casy to go
with them, since it's the only right thing for them to do. They continue
with preparations, killing the pigs to have food to take with them. While
Casy helps out Ma Joad with food preparation, he remarks to Tom that she
looks tired, as if she is sick. Ma Joad looks through her belongings, going
through old letters and clippings she had saved. She has to place them in
the fire. Before they leave, Muley Graves stops to say goodbye. Noah tells
him that he's going to die out in the field if he stays, but Muley accepts
his fate. Grampa refuses to leave, so they decide to give him medicine that
will knock him out and take him with them.
Chapter Eleven: The houses were left vacant. Only the tractor sheds of
gleaming iron and silver were alive. Yet when the tractors are at rest the
life goes out of them. The work is easy and efficient, so easy that the
wonder goes out of the work and so efficient that the wonder goes out of
the land and the working of it. In the tractor man there grows the contempt
that comes to a stranger who has little understanding and no relation to
the land. The abandoned houses slowly fall apart.
Chapter Twelve: Highway 66 is the main migrant road stretching from the
Mississippi to Bakersfield, California. It is a road of flight for refugees
from the dust and shrinking land. The people streamed out on 66, possibly
breaking down in their undependable cars on the way. Yet the travelers face
obstacles. California is a big state, but not big enough to support all of
the workers who are coming. The border patrol can turn people back. The
high wages that are promised may be false.
Chapter Thirteen: The Joads continue on their travels. Al remarks that they
may have trouble getting over mountains in their car, which can barely
support its weight. Grampa Joad wakes up and insists that he's not going
with them. They stop at a gas station where the owner automatically assumes
they are broke, and tells them that people often stop, begging for gas. The
owner claims that fifty cars per day go west, but wonders what they expect
when they reach their destination. He tells how one family traded their
daughter's doll for some gas. Casy wonders what the nation is coming to,
since people seem unable to make a decent living. Casy says that he used to
use his energy to fight against the devil, believing that the devil was the
enemy. However, now he believes that there's something worse. The Joad's
dog wanders from the car and is run over in the road. They continue on
their journey and begin to worry when they reach the state line. However,
Tom reassures them that he is only in danger if he commits a crime.
Otherwise, nobody will know that he has broken his parole by leaving the
state. On their next stop for the night, the Joads meet the Wilsons, a
family from Kansas that is going to California. Grampa complains of
illness, and weeps. The family thinks that he may suffer a stroke. Granma
tells Casy to pray for Grampa, even if he is no longer a preacher. Suddenly
Grampa starts twitching and slumps. He dies. The Joads face a choice: they
can pay fifty dollars for a proper burial for him or have him buried a
pauper. They decide to bury Grampa themselves and leave a note so that
people don't assume he was murdered. The Wilsons help them bury Grampa.
They write a verse from scripture on the note on his grave. After burying
Grampa, they have Casy say a few words. The reactions to the death are
varied. Rose of Sharon comforts Granma, while Uncle John is curiously
unmoved by the turn of events. Casy admits that he knew Grampa was dying,
but didn't say anything because he couldn't have helped. He blames the
separation from the land for Grampa's death. The Joads and the Sairy Wilson
decide to help each other on the journey by spreading out the load between
their two cars so that both families will make it to California.
Chapter Fourteen: The Western States are nervous about the impending
changes, including the widening government, growing labor unity, and
strikes. However, they do not realize that these are results of change and
not causes of it. The cause is the hunger of the multitude. The danger that
they face is that the people's problems have moved from "I" to "we."
Chapter Fifteen: This chapter begins with a description of the hamburger
stands and diners on Route 66. The typical diner is run by a usually
irritated woman who nevertheless becomes friendly when truck drivers
consistent customers who can always pay enter. The more wealthy travelers
drop names and buy vanity products. The owners of the diners complain about
the migrating workers, who can't pay and often steal. A family comes in,
wanting to buy a loaf of bread. The one owner, Mae, tells them that they're
not a grocery store, but Al, the other, tells them to just sell the bread.
Mae sells the family candy for reduced prices. Mae and Al wonder what such
families will do once they reach California.
Chapter Sixteen: The Joads and the Wilsons continue on their travels. Rose
of Sharon discusses with her mother what they will do when they reach
California. She and Connie want to live in a town, where he can get a job
in a store or a factory. He wants to study at home, possibly taking a radio
correspondence course. There is a rattling in the Wilson's car, so Al is
forced to pull over. There are problems with the motor. Sairy Wilson tells
them that they should go on ahead without them, but Ma Joad refuses,
telling them that they are like family now and they won't desert them. Tom
says that he and Casy will stay with the truck if everyone goes on ahead.
They'll fix the car and then move on. Only Ma objects. She refuses to go,
for the only thing that they have left is each other and she will not break
up the family even momentarily. When everyone else objects to her, she even
picks up a jack handle and threatens them. Tom and Casy try to fix the car,
and Casy remarks about how he has seen so many cars moving west, but no
cars going east. Casy predicts that all of the movement and collection of
people in California will change the country. The two of them stay with the
car while the family goes ahead. Before they leave, Al tells Tom that Ma is
worried that he will do something that might break his parole. Granma has
been going crazy, yelling and talking to herself.
Al asks Tom about what he felt when he killed a man. Tom admits that prison
has a tendency to drive a man insane. Tom and Al find a junkyard where they
find a part to replace the broken con-rod in the Wilson's car. The one-eyed
man working at the junkyard complains about his boss, and says that he
might kill him. Tom tells off the one-eyed man for blaming all of his
problems on his eye, and then criticizes Al for his constant worry that
people will blame him for the car breaking down. Tom, Casy and Al rejoin
the rest of the family at a campground not far away. To stay at the
campground, the three would have to pay an additional charge, for they
would be charged with vagrancy if they slept out in the open. Tom, Casy and
Uncle John eventually decide to go on ahead and meet up with everyone else
in the morning. A ragged man at the camp, when he hears that the Joads are
going to pick oranges in California, laughs. The man, who is returning from
California, tells how the handbills are a fraud. They ask for eight hundred
people, but get several thousand people who want to work. This drives down
wages. The proprietor of the campground suspects that the ragged man is
trying to stir up trouble for labor.
Chapter Seventeen: A strange thing happened for the migrant laborers.
During the day, as they traveled, the cars were separate and lonely, yet in
the evening a strange thing happened: at the campgrounds where they stayed
the twenty or so families became one. Their losses and their concerns
became communal. The families were at first timid, but they gradually built
small societies within the campgrounds, with codes of behavior and rights
that must be observed. For transgressions, there were only two punishments:
violence or ostracism. Leaders emerged, generally the wise elders. The
various families found connections to one another
Chapter Eighteen: When the Joads reach Arizona, a border guard stops them
and nearly turns them back, but does let them continue. They eventually
reach the desert of California. The terrain is barren and desolate. While
washing themselves during a stop, the Joads encounter migrant workers who
want to turn back. They tell them that the Californians hate the migrant
workers. A good deal of the land is owned by the Land and Cattle Company
that leaves the land largely untouched. Sheriffs push around migrant
workers, whom they derisively call "Okies." Noah tells Tom that he is going
to leave everyone, for they don't care about him. Although Tom protests,
Noah leaves them. Granma remains ill, suffering from delusions. She
believes that she sees Grampa. A Jehovite woman visits their tent to help
Granma, and tells Ma that she will die soon. The woman wants to organize a
prayer meeting, but Ma orders them not to do so. Nevertheless, soon she can
hear from a distance chanting and singing that eventually descends into
crying. Granma whines with the whining, then eventually falls asleep. Rose
of Sharon wonders where Connie is. Deputies come to the tent and tell Ma
that they cannot stay there and that they don't want any Okies around. Tom
returns to the tent after the policeman leaves, and is glad that he wasn't
there; he admits that he would have hit the cop. He tells Ma about Noah.
The Wilsons decide to remain even if they face arrest, since Sairy is too
sick to leave without any rest. Sairy asks Casy to say a prayer for her.
The Joads move on, and at a stop a boy remarks how hard-looking Okies are
and how they are less than human. Uncle John speaks with Casy, worried that
he brings bad luck to people. Connie and Rose of Sharon need privacy. Yet
again the Joads are pulled over for inspection, but Ma Joad insists that
they must continue because Granma needs medical attention. The next morning
when they reach the orange groves, Ma tells them that Granma is dead. She
died before they were pulled over for inspection.
Chapter Nineteen: California once belonged to Mexico and its land to the
Mexicans. But a horde of tattered feverish American poured in, with such
great hunger for the land that they took it. Farming became an industry as
the Americans took over. They imported Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and
Filipino workers who became essentially slaves. The owners of the farms
ceased to be farmers and became businessmen. They hated the Okies who came
because they could not profft from them. Other laborers hated the Okies
because they pushed down wages. While the Californians had aspirations of
social success and luxury, the barbarous Okies only wanted land and food.
Hoovervilles arose at the edge of every town. The Okies were forced to
secretly plant gardens in the evenings. The deputies overreacted to the
Okies, spurred by stories that an eleven year old Okie shot a deputy. The
great owners realized that when property accumulates in too few hands it is
taken away and that when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they
will take by force what they need.
Chapter Twenty: The Joads take Granma to the Bakersfield coroner's office.
They can't afford a funeral for her. They go to a camp to stay and ask
about work. They ask a bearded man if he owns the camp and whether they can
stay, and he replies with the same question to them. A younger man tells
them that the crazy old man is called the Mayor. According to the man, the
Mayor has likely been pushed by the police around so much that he's been
made bull-simple (crazy). The police don't want them to settle down, for
then they could draw relief, organize and vote. The younger man tells them
about the handbill fraud, and Tom suggests that everybody organize so that
they could guarantee higher wages. The man warns Tom about the blacklist.
If he is labeled an agitator he will be prevented from getting from
anybody. Tom talks to Casy, who has recently been relatively quiet. Casy
says that the people unorganized are like an army without a harness. Casy
says that he isn't helping out the family and should go off by himself. Tom
tries to convince him to stay at least until the next day, and he relents.
Connie regrets his decision to come with the Joads. He says that if he had
stayed in Oklahoma he could have worked as a tractor driver. When Ma is
fixing dinner, groups of small children approach, asking for food. The
children tell the Joads about Weedpatch, a government camp that is nearby
where no cops can push people around and there is good drinking water. Al
goes around looking for girls, and brags about how Tom killed a man. Al
meets a man named Floyd Knowles, who tells them that there was no steady
work. A woman reprimands Ma Joad for giving her children stew. Al brings
Floyd back to the family, where he says that there will be work up north
around Santa Clara Valley. He tells them to leave quietly, because everyone
else will follow after the work. Al wants to go with Floyd no matter what.
A man arrives in a Chevrolet coupe, wearing a business suit. He tells them
about work picking fruit around Tulare County. Floyd tells the man to show
his license -this is one of the tricks that the contractor uses. Floyd
points out some of the dirty tactics that the contractor is using, such as
bringing along a cop. The cop forces Floyd into the car and says that the
Board of Health might want to shut down their camp. Floyd punched the cop
and ran off. As the deputy chased after him, Tom tripped him. The deputy
raised his gun to shoot Floyd and fires indiscriminately, shooting a woman
in the hand. Suddenly Casy kicked the deputy in the back of the neck,
knocking him unconscious. Casy tells Tom to hide, for the contractor saw
him trip the deputy. More officers come to the scene, and they take away
Casy, who has a faint smile and a look of pride. Rose of Sharon wonders
where Connie has gone. She has not seen him recently. Uncle John admits
that he had five dollars. He kept it to get drunk. Uncle John gives them
the five in exchange for two, which is enough for him. Al tells Rose of
Sharon that he saw Connie, who was leaving. Pa claims that Connie was too
big for his overalls, but Ma scolds him, telling him to act respectfully,
as if Connie were dead. Because the cops are going to burn the camp
tonight, they have to leave. Tom goes to find Uncle John, who has gone off
to get drunk. Tom finds him by the river, singing morosely. He claims that
he wants to die. Tom has to hit him to make him come. Rose of Sharon wants
to wait for Connie to return. They leave the camp, heading north toward the
Chapter Twenty-One: The hostility that the migrant workers faced changed
them. They were united as targets of hostility, and this unity made the
little towns of Hoovervilles defend themselves. There was panic when the
migrants multiplied on the highways. The California residents feared them,
thinking them dirty, ignorant degenerates and sexual maniacs. The number of
migrant workers caused the wages to go down. The owners invented a new
method: the great owners bought canneries, where they kept the price of
fruit down to force smaller farmers out. The owners did not know that the
line between hunger and anger is a thin one.
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Joads reach the government camp, where they are
surprised to find that there are toilets and showers and running water. The
watchman at the camp explains some of the other features of the camp: there
is a central committee elected by the camp residents that keeps order and
makes rules, and the camp even holds dance nights. The next morning, two
camp residents (Timothy and Wilkie Wallace) give Tom breakfast and tell him
about work. When they reach the fields where they are to work, Mr. Thomas,
the contractor, tells them that he is reducing wages from thirty to twenty-
five cents per hour. It is not his choice, but rather orders from the
Farmers' Association, which is owned by the Bank of the West. Thomas also
shows them a newspaper, which has a story about a band of citizens who burn
a squatters' camp, infuriated by presumed communist agitation, and warns
them about the dance at the government camp on Saturday night. There will
be a fight in the camp so that the deputies can go in. The Farmers'
Association dislikes the government camps because the people in the camps
become used to being treated humanely and are thus harder to handle. Tom
and the Wallaces vow to make sure that there won't be a fight. While they work, Wilkie tells Tom that the complaints about agitators are
false. According to the rich owners, any person who wants thirty cents an
hour instead of twenty-five is a red. Back at the camp, Ruthie and Winfield
explore the camp, and are fascinated by the toilets they are frightened by
the flushing sound. Ma Joad makes the rest of the family clean themselves
up before the Ladies Committee comes to visit her. Jim Rawley, the camp
manager, introduces himself to the Joads and tells them some of the
features of the camp. Rose of Sharon goes to take a bath, and learns that a
nurse visits the camp every week and can help her deliver the baby when it
is time. Ma remarks that she no longer feels ashamed, as she had when they
were constantly harassed by the police. Lisbeth Sandry, a religious zealot,
speaks with Rose of Sharon about the alleged sin that goes on during the
dances, and complains about people putting on stage plays, which she calls
Њsin and delusion and devil stuff.' The woman even blames playacting for a
mother dropping her child. Rose of Sharon becomes frightened upon hearing
this, fearing that she will drop her child. Jessie Bullitt, the head of the
Ladies Committee, gives Ma Joad a tour of the camp and explains some of the
problems. Jessie bickers with Ella Summers, the previous committee head.
The children play and bicker. Pa comforts Uncle John, who still wants to
leave, thinking that he will bring the family punishment. Ma Joad confronts
Lisbeth Sandry for frightening Rose and for preaching that every action is
sinful. Ma becomes depressed about all of the losses Granma and Grampa,
John and Connie because she now has leisure time to think about such
Chapter Twenty-Three: The migrant workers looked for amusement wherever
they could find it, whether in jokes or stories for amusement. They told
stories of heroism in taming the land against the Indians, or about a rich
man who pretended to be poor and fell in love with a rich woman who was
also pretending to be poor. The workers took small pleasures in playing the
harmonica or a more precious guitar or fiddle, or even in getting drunk.
Chapter Twenty-Four: The rumors that the police were going to break up the
dance reached the camp. According to Ezra Huston, the chairman of the
Central Committee, this is a frequent tactic that the police use. Huston
tells Willie Eaton, the head of the entertainment committee, that if he
must hit a deputy, do so where they won't bleed. The camp members say that
the Californians hate them because the migrants might draw relief without
paying income tax, but they refute this, claiming that they pay sales tax
and tobacco tax. At the dance, Willie Eaton approaches Tom and tells him
where to watch for intruders. Ma comforts Rose of Sharon, who is depressed
about Connie. Tom finds the intruders at the dance, but the intruders begin
a fight and immediately the police enter the camp. Huston confronts the
police about the intruders, asking who paid them. They only admit that they
have to make money somehow. Once the problem is defused, the dance goes on
without any problems.
Chapter Twenty-Five: Spring is beautiful in California, for behind the
fruitfulness of the trees in the orchards are men of understanding who
experiment with the seeds and crops to defend them against insects and
disease. Yet the fruits become rotten and soft. The rotten grapes are still
used for wine, even if contaminated with mildew and formic acid. The
rationale is that it is good enough for the poor to get drunk. The decay of
the fruit spreads over the state. The men who have created the new fruits
cannot create a system whereby the fruits may be eaten. There is a crime
here that goes beyond denunciation, a sorrow that weeping cannot symbolize.
Children must die from pellagra because the profft cannot be taken from an
Chapter Twenty-Six: One evening, Ma Joad watches Winfield as he sleeps; he
writhes as he sleeps, and he seems discolored. In the month that the Joads
have been in Weedpatch, Tom has had only five days of work, and the rest of
the men have had none. Ma worries because Rose of Sharon is close to
delivering her baby. Ma reprimands them for becoming discouraged. She tells
them that in such circumstances they don't have the right. Pa fears that
they will have to leave Weedpatch. When Tom mentions work in Marysville, Ma
decides that they will go there, for despite the accommodations at
Weedpatch, they have no opportunity to make money. They plan to go north,
where the cotton will soon be ready for harvest. Regarding Ma Joad's
forceful control of the family, Pa remarks that women seem to be in
control, and it may be time to get out a stick. Ma hears this, and tells
him that she is doing her job as wife, but he certainly isn't doing his job
as husband. Rose of Sharon complains that if Connie hadn't left they would
have had a house by now. Ma pierces Rose of Sharon's ears so that she can
wear small gold earrings. Al parts ways with a blonde girl that he has been
seeing; she rejects his promises that they will eventually get married. He
promises her that he'll return soon, but she does not believe him. Pa
remarks that he only notices that he stinks now that he takes regular
baths. Before they leave, Willie remarks that the deputies don't bother the
residents of Weedpatch because they are united, and that their solution may
be a union.
The car starts to break down as the Joads leave Al has let the battery run
down but he fixes the problem and they continue on their way. Al is
irritable as they leave. He says that he's going out on his own soon to
start a family. On the road, they get a flat tire. While Tom fixes the
tire, a businessman stops in his car and offers them a job picking peaches
forty miles north. They reach the ranch at Pixley where they are to pick
oranges for five cents a box. Even the women and children can do the job.
Ruthie and Winfield worry about settling down in the area and going to
school in California. They assume that everyone will call them Okies. At
the nearby grocery store owned by Hooper Ranch, Ma finds that the prices
are much higher than they would be at the store in town. The sales clerk
lends Ma ten cents for sugar. She tells him that it is only poor people who
will help out. That night, Tom goes for a walk, but a deputy tells him to
walk back to the cabin at the ranch. The deputy claims that if Tom is
alone, the reds will get to him.
While continuing on his walk, Tom finds Casy, who has been released from
jail. He is with a group of men that are on strike. Casy claims that people
who strive for justice always face opposition, citing Lincoln and
Washington, as well as the martyrs of the French Revolution. Casy, Tom and
the rest of the strikers are confronted by the police. A short, heavy man
with a white pick handle swings it at Casy, hitting him in the head. Tom
fights with the man, and eventually wrenches the club from him and strikes
him with it, killing him. Tom immediately fled the scene, crawling through
a stream to get back to the cabin. He cannot sleep that night, and in the
morning tells Ma that he has to hide. He tells her that he was spotted, and
warns his family that they are breaking the strike they are getting five
cents a box only because of this, and today may only get half that amount.
When Tom tells Ma that he is going to leave that night, she tells him that
they aren't a family anymore: Al cares about nothing more than girls, Uncle
John is only dragging along, Pa has lost his place as the head of the
family, and the children are becoming unruly. Rose of Sharon screams at Tom
for murdering the man she thinks that his sin will doom her baby. After a
day of work, Winfield becomes extremely sick from eating peaches. Uncle
John tells Tom that when the police catch him, there will be a lynching.
Tom insists that he must leave, but Ma insists that they leave as a family.
They hide Tom as they leave, taking the back roads to avoid police.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Those who want to pick cotton must first purchase a
bag before they can make money. The men who weigh the cotton fix the scales
to cheat the workers. The introduction of a cotton-picking machine seems
Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Joads now stay in a boxcar that stood beside the
stream, a small home that proved better than anything except for the
government camp. They were now picking cotton. Winfield tells Ma that
Ruthie told about Tom she got into an argument with some other kids, and
told them that her brother was on the run for committing murder. Ruthie
returns to Ma, crying that the kids stole her Cracker Jack the reason that
she threatened them by telling about Tom but Ma tells her that it was her
own fault for showing off her candy to others. That night, in the pitch
black, Ma Joad goes out into the woods and finds Tom, who has been hiding
out there. She crawls close to him and wants to touch him to remember what
he looked like. She wants to give him seven dollars to take the bus and get
away. He tells her that he has been thinking about Casy, and remembered how
Casy said that he went out into the woods searching for his soul, but only
found that he had no individual soul, but rather part of a larger one. Tom
has been wondering why people can't work together for their living, and
vows to do what Casy had done. He leaves, but promises to return to the
family when everything has blown over. As she left, Ma Joad did not cry,
but rain began to fall. When she returned to the boxcar, she meets Mr. and
Mrs. Wainwright, who have come to talk to the Joads about their daughter,
Aggie, who has been spending time with Al. They're worried that the two
families will part and then find out that Aggie is pregnant. Ma tells them
that she found Tom and that he is gone. Pa laments leaving Oklahoma, while
Ma says that women can deal with change better than a man, because women
have their lives in their arms, and men have it in their heads. For women,
change is more acceptable because it seems inevitable. Al and Aggie return
to the boxcar, and they announce that they are getting married. They go out
before dawn to pick cotton before everyone else can get the rest, and Rose
of Sharon vows to go with them, even though she can barely move. When they
get to the place where the cotton is being picked, there are already a
number of families. While picking cotton, it suddenly starts to rain,
causing Rose of Sharon to fall ill. Everybody assumes that she is about to
deliver, but she instead suffers from a chill. They take her back to the
boxcar and start a fire to get her warm.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: The migrant families wondered how long the rain would
last. The rain damaged cars and penetrated tents. During the rain storms
some people went to relief offices, but there were rules: one had to live
in California a year before he could collect relief. The greatest terror
had arrived no work would be available for three months. Hungry men
crowded the alleys to beg for bread; a number of people died. Anger
festered, causing sheriffs to swear in new deputies. There would be no work
and no food.
Chapter Thirty: After three days of rain, the Wainwrights decide that they
have to keep on going. They fear that the creek will flood. Rose of Sharon
goes into labor, and the Joads cannot leave. Pa Joad and the rest of the
man at the camp build up the embankment to prevent flooding, but the water
breaks through. Pa, Al and Uncle John rush toward the car, but it cannot
start. They reach the boxcar and find that Rose of Sharon delivered a
stillborn baby. They realize that the car will eventually flood, and Mr.
Wainwright blames Pa Joad for asking them to stay and help, but Mrs.
Wainwright offers them help. She tells Ma Joad that it once was the case
that family came first. Now they have greater concerns. Uncle John places
the dead baby in an apple box and floats it down the flooded stream as Al
and build a platform on the top of the car. As the flood waters rise, the
family remains on the platform. The family finds a barn for refuge until
the rain stops. In the corner of the barn there are a starving man and a
boy. Ma and Rose of Sharon realize what she must do. Ma makes everybody
leave the barn, while Rose of Sharon gives the dying man her breast milk.