The Grapes of Wrath Study Guide

What does Steinbeck describe in Chapter 1?
Natural elements which destroy farmer crops, and the reaction of the people to the disaster and economic hardships that result
Where was Tom Joad coming from and where was he going to when he hitched a ride with the truck driver?
Jail; released on parole, and was on his way home to his parents farm
What is the turtles most outstanding characteristic?
Determination to reach destination even when things get in his way and set him back
Describe Jim Casy
Preacher; gave it up after being alone and thinking about religion and life
What ideas did Jim Casy come up with during his thinking time?
“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all a part of the same thing. Maybe all men got one big soul everybody’s a part of.”
Why was Tom in jail, and what was his attitude toward his crime?
Killed a man in a fight by hitting him in the head with a shovel; not sorry for it, he’d do the same thing again under the same circumstances
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What was the Monster, and why could men not control it?
CAPITALISM; the banking industry which bankers blamed for the foreclosure on the farmers, no individual man had to take responsibility for foreclosures; each could pretend to sympathize with the farmers and yet still carry out foreclosures to personally gain from bankers actions directly or indirectly
Describe Muley Graves
Neighbor of the Joads who stayed at home(farm) after his family left for California, hide from authorities and taught Tom and Jim Casy how to avoid them to stay out of trouble, Muley tells Tom that his family left for Tom’s Uncle’s farm
About what does Uncle John feel guilty?
He didn’t take his wife who was pregnant to the doctor even when she complained of stomach pain, as a result her appendix burst and she died the next day
What is the first thing each of the Joads wants to know when Tom comes home?
Ask if Tom escaped from jail
Describe the relationship between Granma and Granpa
They are both feisty and argue with each other, opposites, she is religious and he is not
What happened to Noah at his birth?
Pa tried pulling him out at birth; Noah’s head had become distorted and was not proportional, as a result he could read, write, and figure but had a strange calmness about him
What does Steinbeck show about the relationship between the merchants and the farmers in Chapter 9?
Merchants who bought the farmer’s goods took advantage of the farmers’ desperate situation
What advice did Tom give Ma about worrying about the future?
Told her to take one day at a time and not worry about the future
What does Pa say about Jim Casy coming along with the family? What does Ma say? Does Casy go?
Pa wonders if they will be able to feed another person, Ma says that Joads never refuse food, shelter, or a lift on the road to anyone who asks, Casy joins them on their journey to California
How did Tom and Ma get Granpa into the truck even though he didn’t want to go?
They slipped some sleeping medicine into his coffee, he feel asleep and they put him on the truck
Who all headed west on the Joad truck?
Ma, Pa, Tom, Al, Uncle John, Rose of Sharon, Connie, Ruthie, Winfield, Noah, Granpa, Granma, Jim Casy, and one dog
What does Steinbeck describe in Chapter 11?
The deterioration of the home sites the farmers left behind
Which of the passengers on the Joad truck was the first to be left behind?
The dog was run over by a car and was left behind to be buried by the station attendant
Who were the Wilsons?
The Joads camped along side them the first night, Wilsons offered their tent to Granpa, who died there, and they helped the Joads after Granpa’s death; to return the favor, the Joads offered to travel together with the Wilsons and share their services, food, and belongings with them
What plans have Connie and Rose of Sharon made?
When they get to California, Connie will take a course and study a trade so he can have a little shop in town and Rose of Sharon will have a nice place to live
What is Al’s attitude problem?
When the con-rod bearing breaks, he’s defensive and complains, the cars are his responsibility, the one and only responsibility he takes seriously; When there is a problem, he is the first one to say it’s not his fault(when it’s no ones fault); Al seems to play a second fiddle to Tom and seems to try to win Tom’s approval throughout the trip
Why does Ma revolt?
She believes that the family should stay together and refuses to allow them to split up saying that they may have nothing else but they will still have each other, all they have to hold on
What discouraging news did the ragged man give Pa?
He had been to California and found nothing but hardship, explaining the low wages for too many workers and about families who were starving
What did Pa and Tom learn from the men in the river?
Californians do not like migrants, and again they heard that work is scarce
To what decision did Noah come?
He wouldn’t leave to water, he chose to stay by the area near the river and leave his family behind; he thought that he was dead-weight and that the family would be better off with him not around
Why don’t the Wilsons cross the desert with the Joads?
Mrs. Wilson is very ill and can’t travel any longer
Why was Ma so feisty at the agricultural inspection station?
She didn’t want the inspectors to find out that Granma was dead, she was afraid that the family would be detained and they would be struck on the east side of the desert
How did Casy help Tom out of trouble with the deputy sheriff?
Tom was going to get in trouble for tipping the sheriff when Casy kicked the deputy in the neck and rendered him unconscious, giving Tom the chance to get away and Casy took blame for all of it
Where and why did Connie go?
Headed South to find work with the radio(maybe he didn’t want the responsibility of carrying out plans with Rose of Sharon so he wouldn’t feel guilty if things didn’t work out)
Why did Mr. Thomas lower the wages from thirty cents per hour to twenty-five cents per hour?
The Farmers’ Association and banks set the wages and force the little farmers like Mr. Thomas to comply with their wages
What tip did Mr. Thomas give Timothy?
He warned that the Association was planning to send in people to start a fight at the government camp Saturday night so that the police would have an excuse to come into the camp and harass the people living there
Compare and contrast “Hoovervilles” and the government camp
The government camp had hot and cold water, toilets and showers, and the people could stay as long as they wanted; They governed themselves and had dances and a regular community spirit; No cops were allowed into the government camps
The Hoovervilles were usually one-night camps with no conveniences, and the people who stayed there suffered constant harassment by the police (who were trying to get the people to move on and not settle down)
What does Steinbeck show us in Chapter 23?
He shows that the migrants are people, too, just trying to make the best of each day and trying to find a little pleasure in difficult times
How did the camp “guards” ruin the Association’s plot to invade the government camp?
They found the people who had been sent in to start a fight; When the argument began, a large group of camp “guards” surrounded the troublemakers and escorted them out of the dance and out of the camp; With no trouble in the camp, the police had no excuse to enter
What moral crime was committed in Chapter 25?
Tons and tons of fruit were left to rot even though thousands of people were starving; The poor were not allowed to have any of the excess fruit
Why did the Joads leave the government camp?
The men could not find work, and they ran out of money; They had to go find work to get money to buy food
How was the flat tire good luck for the Joads?
While they were stopped to fix the tire, a man stopped by and told them about work 40 miles north
Where does Tom go after dinner on the first day of peach picking? Why?
He goes out to the gate to see what all the fuss was about and to satisfy his curiosity
Who did Tom meet again on his evening walk? What was he doing there outside the peach orchard?
Tom met Jim Casy again; Jim was leading a strike against the orchard owners to protest wage cuts
How did Tom get into trouble with the law again?
Men came and beat Casy to death; Tom picked up a club and smashed the head of one of Casy’s attackers; Tom got smashed in the face and fled
What happened to Winfield?
He ate too many peaches and got sick
Why did the Joads leave the peach orchard, and where did they go?
They left to protect Tom and to find better-paying work; They went South to find work picking cotton
Why did Ma risk going to Tom’s hiding place?
She had to tell him that Ruthie told about him, and she had to tell him to move on alone for his own safety
What did Tom decide to do?
He decided to take up Casy’s work to help the poor
Who is Aggie Wainwright?
The Wainwright family shares the boxcar with the Joads at the cotton plantation; Al decides to marry Aggie, the daughter of the Wainwrights
Why could the Joads not move when the rains came?
Rose of Sharon was ill with the baby
What was Pa’s solution to the problem of flooding? Was his plan successful?
He planned for all the men to get together and build up the river banks to keep the river from overflowing; The men finally agreed to help him, but the river came through and over the banks anyway
What happened to Rose of Sharon’s baby?
It was born dead; Uncle John took it out to bury it, and it floated down the river
Where do the Joads go after they leave the boxcar?
They have no direction in particular; They are just looking for higher ground; Finally, they find a barn
Who do the Joads find in the barn and how do they help them?
They find a boy with his father; The boy is undernourished, and the father is starving to death; Rose of Sharon fed the man with milk from her breasts