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The Grapes of Wrath (2)
by John Steinbeck

1.  Four main characters (and one-sentence description of each)

1.  Pa Joad - He is a hard working farmer whose family farm was taken away by the bank and he moves to California with his family looking for work.

2.  Ma Joad - Pa’s wife and the person that takes care of and hold the family together.

3.  Tom Joad - He was just paroled from the state prison and is depended on by his family as they journey to California.

4.  Jim Casy - He is a former preacher that joins the Joads to California where he fights for the right of the migrant workers.

2.  Two minor Characters

1.  Rose of Sharon - She is an expectant mother who complains about everything and whose husband left her in California.

2.  Al Joad - He is a sixteen year old boy that looks forward to leaving his family to meet girls and work fixing cars.

3.  Three main settings

1.  Sallisaw, Oklahoma - This was the location of the Joad’s family farm that was taken away but is now dry and barren.

2.  Hooverville - It is a filthy camp that the Joads, along with many other migrant workers stay until the sheriffs arrive and threaten to burn the camp down.

3.  Government camp - This is a camp set up by the government but run by the inhabitants where there are several luxuries such as toilets and showers.

4.  One paragraph plot outline

 Tom Joad was just released from prison and meets Jim Casy on the way home, however, they find the house empty and finds out that Tom’s family is moving to California because a severe drought ruined the crops and the farm was to be turned over to the bank.  The trip is difficult and hazardous but the family still stops to help those in need.  The family arrives in California but finds that it is not as they expected.  The family is treated poorly and disrespected, even my other migrant workers.  There is little work and much too many workers.  The family eventually gets work at several different farms but are not able to make enough money to make a living.  Near the end of the harvest season, a flood strikes the area forcing the Joads and other workers to flee to find higher ground after a futile attempt at a damn.  During the rains, Rose of Sharon gives birth to a dead baby.  They find shelter on a nearby farm where they find an ill man in need of food.  The book ends with Rose of Sharon breast-feeding the man.

Two symbols and references

1.  Muley’s meal - In the early chapters, Muley Graves shares a meager meal with Tom and Casy saying that he cannot refrain from sharing if another person is hungry.  This symbolizes the goodwill and foreshadows the family’s future sufferings.

2.  Jim Casy - He symbolized the fight for better conditions for the migrant workers.  When he was killed, Tom carried on his work.

Two or three sentences on style

 The book is in the third person.  Steinbeck’s writing style is simple and easy to understand.  The dialogues are appropriate for people from that region.

One or two sentences of dominant philosophy

 The dominant philosophy in this book is that despite troubles and hard ships, a family can pull through by sticking together.  Although the family is poor and homeless, they manage to work through the hardships as a family.

Four short quotations typical of the work (include speaker, occasion)

1.  “This ain’t no lan’ of milk an’ honey like the preaches say.  They’s a mean thing here.  The folks here is scared of us people comin’ west; an’s so they got cops out tryin’ to scare us back.”  Tom Joad makes this comment showing his bitter feelings about the treatment he receives.

2.  “Road is full a people, come in, use water, dirty up the toilet, an’s then, by God, they’ll steal stuff an’ don’t buy nothin’.  Got no money to buy with.  Come beggin’ a gallon gas to move on.”  A gas station owner complains to Tom about the poor migrants coming west and shows his prejudices against them.

3.  “I’m a-gonna set this here kettle out, an’ you’ll all get a little tas’, but it ain’t gonna do you no good.  I can’t he’p it.  Can’t keep it from you.”  Ma tells starving kids that she can’t help but give them food.

4.  “You ain’t gonna get no steady work.  Gonna scrabble for your dinner ever’ day.  An’ you gonna do her with people lookin’ mean at you.  Pick cotton, an’ you gonna be sure the scales ain’t honest.”  A man at the camp warns the Joads about the living conditions of the migrant workers and the dishonesty of the farm owners.