malicious forces—drought, industry, human jealousy and fear
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.
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 appetite 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.
Casy believes that the human spirit is the Holy Spirit.
lack of women made life hard for Tom in prison
Livid, the displaced farmers yearn to fight back, but the banks are so faceless, impersonal, and inhuman that they cannot be fought against.
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
Steinbeck asserts that the economic system makes everyone a victim—rich and poor, privileged and disenfranchised. All are caught “in something larger than themselves.”
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.
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
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.
Ma emerges as the family’s “citadel,” anchoring them and keeping them safe.
The narrative’s indictment of the crooked car salesmen and pawnbrokers illustrates man’s inhumanity to man, a force against which the Joads struggle.
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.”
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.
The narrator explains that even though men continue to work the land, these men have no real connection to their work.
in Chapter 12, 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.
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.
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.
Al 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.
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…