In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck describes a family's journey from Oklahoma to California during the 1930s. The Joad Family has to move to California because they cannot survive the horrible Dust Bowl in Oklahoma. They encounter many problems during their journey, but they still manage to make it to California. Steinbeck inserts inner chapters to show a picture of society in general. Many of these inner chapters foreshadow problems that the Joad family will encounter.
In Chapter Five, an inner chapter, land owners in Oklahoma are forced to kick the tenant families off of their land. The owners say, "The tenant system won't work anymore. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families"(Steinbeck 42). When Tom meets Muley in the next chapter, Muley says that the land owners told him "We can't afford to keep no tenants"(60). Some of the tenant men feel that the land belongs to them since they were born on it.
When an owner asks a tenant man to leave the land, the tenant man replies, "We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it's no good, it's still ours"(43). Muley shows that he has the same feelings as the tenant farmer when he says, "There's the place down by the barn where Pa got gored to death by a bull. An' his blood is right in the groun', right now"(65-66). In the inner chapter, an angry tenant farmer threatens a tractor driver with a rifle because he holds the tractor driver responsible for forcing him to leave his land. Grandpa also threatens a tractor driver with a rifle because he considers him a traitor for accepting a job that forces many families to move off of the land. Chapter Five foreshadows the problems that the Joad family will encounter with the tenant system.
In Chapter Nine, another inner chapter, many tenant families are heading to California in hope of work. These families need to sell almost all of their belonging before they start their long trip to California because they do not have enough room in their cars for their belongings. When they try to sell all of their extra belongings, the buyers tell them that they have no use for their junk. The buyers are aware that the tenant families have to sell all their junk since they have no use for it. Tenant families have to accept a very small amount of money for all of their junk. In the next chapter, the Joad family decides to start their preparation for leaving Oklahoma. They gather everything that they will not have room for on their journey to California, and they drive to a place to sell their junk. When they arrive, they buyer pretends that he has no interest in their junk. The Joad family ends up receiving only eighteen dollars for "every movable thing from the farm: the horses, the wagon, the implements, and all the furniture from the house"(125). Chapter Nine foreshadows how the Joad family will have to sell all of their junk for a very small amount of money.
In Chapter twelve, another inner chapter, many people start to leave for California on Highway 66. Steinbeck describes all of cities and the mountains that people have to pass on Highway 66 in order to arrive at California. Many people have to listen to their cars carefully to make sure that everything is working perfectly. When Al drives to California, he also makes sure that nothing is wrong with his car. When a family arrives at a service station and asks about California, they are told "There ain't room enough for you an' me, for your kind an' my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men"(154). The man at the service station foreshadows that the Joad family will not have an easy time finding work in California. Many people run short of water on their way to California and rely on service stations for water. The Joad family also has to rely on service stations for water. Chapter Twelve foreshadows some of the problems that the Joad family will experience on Highway 66.
Steinbeck inserts inner chapters to foreshadow what the Joad family will have to overcome. In the inner chapters, Steinbeck describes what people in general are doing in order to foreshadow the Joads future actions. When Steinbeck describes peoples opinions on topics, he is actually describing what the Joad family is thinking.