As Tom was on his way home from prison, he let the reader see a glimpse of his future the way it would have been if his family still had their farm. He would have lived out the rest of his life helping his father on the farm consumed in the small and uncomplicated world in which he would have resided, until he was thrown into the reality of The Great Depression. Tom found his family farm abandoned, and his family getting ready to depart for California. With every mile the family drove away from their past lives, they drove towards a new future with “…different time’s comin’” (Steinbeck 362). Tom’s eyes were opened up to the reality of the hard times and the suffering of the people. He went from being a farmer’s son in Oklahoma who stayed involved in his own little world, to being a man who would travel around devoting himself to helping others. His personality and future would not have been changed if he hadn’t gone through The Great Depression.
Ma Joad had changes in her personality and future that would have been a huge leap forward for women at the time. Ma started out as a typical farmer’s wife who cooked, cleaned, took care of the children, and let the man of the house take charge. If she hadn’t gone through the hardships of The Great Depression, she would have remained an average farmer’s wife and had a simple future standing in the background. At first when the Joad family started falling apart, Ma sat back fretting and complaining about the direction her family was headed. She expected her husband to handle the situation and restore the family to the way everything had been before they left their home. When she realized that her husband would not be fit for the job, she took over as the head of the house and brought the family back to their place. One Ma Joad tasted the power she could have; she refused to hand the steering wheel back to her husband. When he made a snide comment about his dissatisfaction with their standings she explained that he wasn’t “…a-doing