The Family In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

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The novel The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck takes place during America’s great depression and follows Tom Joad and his family along with Reverend Jim Casy while they fight to survive after their farm is taken away from them by the landowners. Their crisis sends them west to California in search of jobs. They face many hardships along the way, including the loss a few family members. When they arrive in California, they discover that there are very few jobs and the few jobs that there are do not pay enough to support the family. They travel to different places in search of jobs causing them problems like sickness, hunger and encounters with the law. The novel ends leaving the question of whether they will find a stable income to support …show more content…
During their hard times, Ma becomes the leader of the family and makes almost all the decisions. One example of this is when they are trying to get past the border patrol guards to get into California. “‘Look mister. We got a sick ol’ lady. We got to get [Granma] to a doctor. We can’t wait.’”(Steinbeck 290) Ma tells this to the guards but in reality, Granma had passed away before they had been stopped. Ma lied to them because they would not have been able to get across the border if the guards checked the truck and found a dead body. Ma also acts as Rose of Sharon’s emotional support throughout the journey. Rose of Sharon is pregnant throughout the novel and is scared that her baby will not grow up well. This worry grows worse when her husband Connie runs away and a lady in the Weedpatch government camp tells her that if she has committed a sin, her baby will already be dead when it is born. This is shown by Rose of Connie talking to Tom when she says “‘what chance I got to have a nice baby? Connie’s gone, […] I know --- [the baby’s] gonna be a freak.’” (Steinbeck 504). Ma reassures Rose of Sharon that the baby is going to be fine and tries to keep her mind away from the baby. “Look! The small gold earrings were in [Ma’s] hand. These are for you” (Steinbeck 455) Ma gives Rose of Sharon these earrings to take her mind away from the baby and keep her emotionally stable. Ma being an emotional support and making good decisions shows that sticking together as a family can help surmount a crisis. In conclusion, the novel, The Grapes Of Wrath is filled with examples of being able to overcome a crisis. Steinbeck uses this to show that sticking together as a family can help surmount a crisis. Steinbeck shows this through Ma Joad supporting the family emotionally and making good decisions, Tom Joad’s life

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