"The Grapes of Wrath"

Essay by Kodi_bnbJunior High, 9th gradeA+, February 2006

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After being released from an Okalahoma state prison after having served four years for a manslaughter conviction, Tom Joad makes his way back to his family's farm in Oklahoma. He meets Jim Casy, who was a former preacher who has given up his calling out of a belief that all life is holy. Jim accompanies Tom to his home, only to find it and all the surrounding farms deserted. Muley Graves, an old neighbor, wanders by and tells them that everyone has been "tractored" off the land. Most families, he says, including his own, have headed to California to look for work. The next morning, Tom and Jim set off for Tom's Uncle John's, where Muley assures them they will find the Joad clan. When arriving, Tom finds Ma and Pa Joad packing up the family's few possessions. Having seen handbills advertising fruit-picking jobs in California, they imagine the trip to California as their only hope of getting their lives back on track.

The journey to California in a crappy used truck is long and difficult. Grandpa Joad, a feisty old man who complains a lot that he does not want to leave his land and he dies on the road shortly after the family's departure. Rundown cars and trucks, weighed down down with scrappy possessions, jamming Highway 66. The Joads meet Ivy and Sairy Wilson, a couple overwhelmed with car trouble, and invite them to travel with the family. Sairy Wilson is sick and, near the California border, becomes unable to continue the journey.

As the Joads got closer too California, they hear warning rumors of a worn-out job market. One immigrant tells Pa that 20,000 people show up for every 800 jobs and that his own children have starved to death. Although the Joads continue on, their...