The Grapes of Wrath

Study Guide Questions



Chapter One [The scorched and dusty land]


  1. What is some evidence that the earth is suffering?
  2. How do the worker’s movements give evidence to the plight of the land? [4]
  3. What did the June rains give to the hopeful men? [4]
  4. In what way is the death of the corn portrayed as a life or death struggle? [5]
  5. How does the dust intrude into people’s lives?
  6. The women would watch to see if this time the men would break.  What is insinuated here? [6]
  7. In what way do the women put their hopes in men [7]


Chapter Two [Tom hitches a ride home]


  1. In what way is the opening scene of this chapter one of loneliness [8]?
  2. What are some inferences we can make about the trucker’s bumper sticker “no riders.” [9]  
  3. The driver makes references to small farms either dusted or tractored out.  What does he mean? [12]
  4. What about Tom’s appearance makes the driver guess that Tom has been subject to hard labor? [13]
  5. What about the driver annoys Tom? [13]


Chapter Three [turtle chapter]


  1. Keep in mind how the turtle’s journey might later prove symbolic to the journey of the Joads
  2. What is the sleeping life waiting to be dispersed? [20]
  3. How do the two cars react differently to the turtle [22]
  4. How does the turtle’s adventure across the highway help to spurn on new life? [22]


Chapter Four [Tom meets up with Casy.  Both head slowly to the old Joad farm]


  1. What evidence of the dust bowl does Tom find as he watches the truck go past? [23]
  2. What is the obvious connection between this chapter and chapter three [24] and what does Tom do with that connection? 
  3. How is the description of Casy somewhat similar to the description of the turtle in chapter 3? [25]
  4. What recollection does Casy initially have of Tom as a child? [26]
  5. What polite gesture did Tom offer in regards to the bottle? [28]
  6. How does Casy compare himself to the turtle? [28]  
  7. Why does Casy ‘fall from grace’ and how does he come to terms with it? [31]
  8. Why doesn’t Casy love Jesus as much as he does people? [32]
  9. Casy remarks: “Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.” [33]  How is this similar to the concept of the oversoul and Transcendentalism?
  10. Casy worried that ‘ messin’ around [practicing his religion] maybe I done somebody a hurt’ [34].  What possible hurt could’ve been caused?
  11. How did Tom get the nickname ‘Jesus Meek?’ [35]
  12. Explain why Pa and Grandpa were initially mad at Wink Manley. [38] 
  13. What can we tell about uncle John by the end of the chapter? [41]


Chapter Five [Owners and the bank take land from profit-less farmers]


  1. What are the different approaches that owners take in relaying the bad news? [42]
  2. How do farmers initially get into financial trouble? [43]
  3. What do banks or companies breath? [43]
  4. What are the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ fingers symbolic of? [44]
  5. What was the main point of the owner men? [44]
  6. According to tenants, what makes the land ‘ours’? [45]
  7. What sense of hope, albeit frail, do the owners provide? [46]
  8. Why would Steinbeck compare tractors to insects? [47]
  9. Why would land “bore under iron” eventually die? [49]
  10. What has Joe Davis’ boy decided to do for a living? [50]
  11. In what way does owning property help a man? [50]
  12. What warning does Joe give to the tenant? [51]
  13. The tenant wants to find someone to blame. . .but what’s the problem? [52]


Chapter Six [Casy, Tom, meet up with Muly to learn about the fate of Tom’s family and the current state of affairs].


  1. What is the immediate connection to the end of the previous chapter? [54]
  2. What clue leads Tom to conclude that all the Joad’s neighbors are also gone, and how does that relate to the story of Albert Rance? [58]
  3. In the humorous story regarding Grandpa and Albert Rance, what does Granpa refuse to give up? [59]
  4. What finally gets away from Tom Joad, only to be attacked by a cat? [60]
  5. What did Grampa do to the tractor that plowed over the Joad place? [62]
  6. In what way is Muley trapped by his own pride? [64]
  7. How is the owner’s speech similar to those mentioned in the previous chapter? [65]
  8. Where does Muley express a sense of moral obligation to Casy and Tom? [66]
  9. Explain the inherit symbolism of Muley’s observation that he’s just “wanderin’ aroun’ like a damn ol’ graveyard ghos.’” [69].
  10. What happened to Muley’s father? [70]
  11. Muley argues that the “Place where folks live is them folks.  They ain’t whole, out lonely on the road in a piled-up car.  They ain’t alive no more.”  [71].  Do you think Muley is mistaken in his philosophy?
  12. What are the details of Tom’s crime? [72]
  13. What’s Tom’s explanation for why Pa doesn’t write? [74]
  14. A possible theme for this chapter could be find in Casy’s statement: “We got to get thinkin’ about doin’ stuff that means somepin.” [80]  Explain.


Chapter Seven [The car salesman]


  1. Why would the salesman want to get potential clients “under obligation”? [84]
  2. Throughout the chapter, what is the speaker’s consistent wish?



 Chapter Eight [Tom comes home and finds his family getting ready to move out]


  1. Why would Uncle John feel guilty about his wife’s death? [92]
  2. How does his wife’s death alter his behavior? [92]
  3. Who is described as “the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken”? [100]
  4. Why does Ma Joad “deny [hurt and fear] in herself. . . .and [laugh] out of inadequate materials”?  [100]
  5. At one point in Ma Joad’s initial interchange with her son Tom, Steinbeck writes that “Then she knew, and her control came back.”  What did she know? [101]
  6. Why is Ma worried that Tom was going to turn out like Purty Boy Floyd? [103]
  7. According to ma, what could people do to prevent being ‘hunted down’ on the land? [104]
  8. How does Ma Joad explain why she isn’t as joyful to see Tom as Granma? [104]
  9. What is the name of Tom’s older brother? [105]
  10. What is one possible explanation for Noah’s misshapen body? [106]
  11. What are the Hatfields and the McCoys famous for? [107]
  12. What was the expression on the preacher’s face during the saying of grace?  How is this symbolic of the preacher’s state of mind? [109]
  13. What references does Casy make to the oversoul in this chapter? [110]
  14. How did Al come to learn so much about trucks? [111]
  15. What is the name of Rosasharn’s husband? [113]


Chapter nine [Leaving behind one life because you can’t take it with you]


  1. Why do the men and the women treat the material symbols of the past differently?
  2. Who do you think is the one “buying bitterness”? [118]
  3. What is the apocalyptic prophecy for those who are buyers of ruined lives? [118]
  4. According to the men, the march to California is a “parade of hurts.”  What do they mean? [119]
  5. What’s at stake by leaving memories behind or by burning them away? [120]



Chapter Ten [The family packs up, and takes off in the early morning hours]


  1. What was Tom’s pilgrimage? [122]
  2. What is Ma Joad’s fear? [123]
  3. What does Tom learn from a ‘fella’ about what is really going on in CA? [124]  How does Ma prove him wrong?
  4. Why do you think Casy is so appealing to the Joad clan? [127]
  5. Casy states that “All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn’ understan’.  All them things is the good things.”  What is he talking about? [128]
  6. How old is Ruthie and Winfield? [129]
  7. What is Rosasharn focused on? [130]
  8. Uncle John does not live in moderation with either his drinking or eating.  Explain [130-131]
  9. How much money did the family from selling off all their goods? [132]
  10. Why is Tom’s status as a parolee significant in respect to the family’s plans? [133]
  11. Because Casy was “a good preacher [who] knew his people,” what does he decide to do during the Joad family discussion? [136]
  12. According to Pa’s original estimates, how many will be on the truck? [139]
  13. What did Ma Joad do with her box of memorabilia? [148]
  14. In what way is Grampa like Muley by the end of the chapter? [152]


Chapter Eleven [The evolution of vacant houses]


  1. How does man’s relationship with the land change under machineries influence [157]?
  2. Who eventually takes over the empty houses [159]?


Chapter Twelve [Tale of life on the road in untrustworthy vehicles]


  1. Highway 66 is the path of flight for people who are running from what? [160]
  2. Why is it a “terror between the towns”?


Chapter Thirteen [Family’s trek.  Grampa’s death, the Wilsons]


  1. Why does Al feel such responsibility for the welfare of the car?  Why had he become the “soul of the car”? [167]
  2. Why do the Joad’s begin to second-guess their decision in bringing Casy along? [168]
  3. What does Ma Joad mean when she says “It’s too much –livin’ too many lives”? [168]
  4. What experiences has the gas station worker had that makes him distrustful of people like the Joads? [171]
  5. Besides money, what kind of items are traded for gas? [172]
  6. According to Casy, why do folks always move? [173]
  7. Why is Tom probably right in his prediction that the gas station worker will himself be on the move someday? [174]
  8. Of all the Joads, who reacts more strongly to the dog’s death? [177-179]
  9. Why would the Joads feel embarrassed as they make their way through Okalahoma City? [180]
  10. What is the medical cause of Grampa’s death? [186]
  11. Why did/didn’t Ma make the right decision in telling Granma that her husband is “awright. . .he’s jus’ takin’ a little res.” [186]
  12. Why does Grampa’s face turn purple? [187]
  13. What does Granma demand of Casy? [187]
  14. After Grampa’s death, Granma “walked for the family and held her head straight for the family.” [188]  In this regard, both Granma and Ma Joad are similar.  Look too at mom’s statement that “we always try to hold in.” [193] Explain.
  15. What problem do the Joad’s have to solve immediately after Grampa’s death? [190]
  16. What do you think is the most important line [insightful, or relevant to Casy’s philosophy] in Casy’s euology? [196]  Why?
  17. Why does the family bury Grampa in a level grave instead of the standard burial mound? [197]
  18. According to Casy, when did Grampa really die? [199]
  19. The orange handbill will show up several times in this novel.  The Wilson and the Joads have both seen the same handbill, diminishing the handbill’s promise.  What words appear on the handbill? [201]


Chapter Fourteen [The beginning of change for those who own land in the west]


  1. What are the ‘results’? [204]
  2. What are the ‘causes’ [204]
  3. What is the relationship between man and work? [204]
  4. Why, according to Steinbeck, should be not fear bombs [in your own words]? 205
  5. Which quality can ‘cut you off forever from the ‘we’? [206]


Chapter Fifteen [The truck stop and diner perspective]


  1. Which of the diner’s clientele are the most highly valued and why? [209]
  2. What does Mae mean when she says that she’ll “keep [her] eye on the hose” to the man who asks for water? [216]
  3. Explain the conflict with bread. [217]
  4. How does Mae show evidence of a softer side as the chapter progresses? [219]
  5. How do the truck driver’s react to Mae’s generosity? [220]
  6. What does Al do that shows greediness? [220]


Chapter Sixteen [Car breaks down, first camp that charges, Tom sleeps on the road]


  1. As the family traveled over the mountains, Ma ‘sat loosely, letting the movement of the car sway her body and her head.’  Why didn’t Rose relax as well? [223]
  2. Where do Rose and Connie hope to live [in general]? [224]
  3. After Rose shares her dreams with Ma, Ma ‘suddenly seemed to know it was all a dream.”  Do you think Ma is fooling herself, or is it true that Rose does have plans to move? [225]
  4. Why can’t the family just buy parts for Wilson’s broken car tomorrow? [227]
  5. What is Tom’s plan and why doesn’t Ma like it? [228-230]
  6. Where did Tom learn about living day by day? [236]
  7. What are Casy’s observations about the traffic he sees on route 66?  What is Casy worried about? [236]
  8. What does Al want from Tom that Tom is resistant to give? [240-241]
  9. What is wrong with the junkyard worker’s face? [242]
  10. Why do you think the junk yard worker gets so mad when his boss asks “They’s a dance; how’d you like to go?’ [243]
  11. What is Tom’s advice to the man? 244]
  12. Put Tom’s advice to Al in your own words: “Al, don’ keep ya guard up when nobody ain’t sparrin; with ya.” [248]
  13. Al was mad that, while driving, he failed to hit a cat near the side of the road.  Does Tom have a similar reaction when he accidentally hits the rabbit? [252]
  14. As Tom is considering whether or not to sleep roadside, the owner warns him about what law? [254]
  15. What did the ‘ragged man’ teach the Joads? [257-260]
  16. Why did the owners print so many copies of the orange handbill? [259]
  17. What did the ‘ragged man’ lose during his one year stint in California? [260]
  18. When Tom is arguing with the proprietor, he chides that he is ‘bolshevisky’.  What does this allude to? [263]


Chapter Seventeen [A narrative look at life in the camps]


  1. Why do you think the author alludes to the migrants as ‘bugs’? [264]
  2. What ‘strange thing’ happens in the evening in the camps?  What happens to that ‘strange thing’ in the morning? [264-265]
  3. How do these social units evolve as people move westward? [265]
  4. Name some of the assumed ‘rights’ of the migrants in the camps. [265]
  5. What constitutes unacceptable violations in the camps? [265]
  6. Should someone violate the camp’s laws, what two punishments might they face? Which was worse? [266]
  7. How might a man insure himself against hunger? [266]
  8. The migrant worries used to be centered around farming.  What do they worry about now? [268]


Chapter Eighteen [Family reaches California, Noah departs, Granma dies, Confrontation with law]


  1. The Arizona border guard warns the family to. . .[274]
  2. Who joins the Joad men as they relax in the river? [278]
  3. What does the man mean when he says that California was ‘stole a long time ago’? [279]
  4. The man explains that Joads will be hated by the owners.  Why do the owners hate the okies? [280]
  5. At home, the Joads used to dream of picking fruit and eating it on the spot.  How does the man squash that idea? [281]
  6. How does Casy criticize the idea of being ‘rich’? [282]
  7. Many of the Joads are bothered by the warnings they’ve heard.  The man says that most people in California are ‘purty mis’able.’  What is Uncle John’s take on the man’s advice? [283]
  8. Why might Noah decide to stay by the river? [284]
  9. Explain the point of Ma’s lecture to Rose about ‘dyin is a piece of all dyin.’  [286]
  10. Put Ma’s advice in your own words: “Take your breath in when you need it, an’ let it go when you need to.” [286]
  11. How would you describe Ma’s reaction to the woman who wants to pay for Granma? [287]
  12. What does the officer demand Ma and the Joads do? [291]
  13. What weapon is Ma holding as she encroaches upon the officer? [291]
  14. What is Ma doing when she is ‘fighting with her face’? [293]
  15. What news does Ma get that makes her say she just ‘can’t think no more.  I jus’ can’t think.  They’s too much.’ [294]
  16. What does Casy begrudgingly give to Sairy Wilson? [297]
  17. The Joads are nervous about crossing the desert in their old car.  How do they justify the crossing anyway? [301]
  18. Put Casy’s thoughts about ‘sin’ into your own words. [306]
  19. What happened to Ma and Granma during the night journey through the desert?  Why did Ma make the decision she did? [311]
  20. Who, according to Casy, is a ‘woman so great with love—she scares me’?  [313]


Chapter Nineteen [The lifestyle differences between owner and migrant.  The migrants futile attempts to find work]


  1. Why didn’t the Mexican’s resist the American’s fight for California? [315]
  2. How does each successive generation in an owner’s family view the land differently? [315]
  3. What is the reality of farming in capitalism? [316]
  4. What message do you think the author intended when he states the “owners followed Rome”? [316]
  5. When the owners stopped farming the land itself, where did they farm instead? [317]
  6. What groups came to California as ‘restless as ants? [317].  Do you think this is a good analogy?
  7. What did the migrants find in California instead of a home? [318]
  8. What are some reasons that the Okies were hated? [318]
  9. What two things did the ‘new barbarians’ want? [318]
  10. In what way is a fallow field a sin? [319]
  11. In looking for work, the migrants are constantly losing money by paying for what item? [320]
  12. What are the ‘secret gardens’ of the migrants? [321]
  13. For a hungry man, what is the ‘fear beyond every other’? [323]
  14. Explain the inversely proportional relationship between farmers and machinery?. [325]
  15. How do the owners alleviate their concerns? [326]


Chapter Twenty [Joads first dealings with a dirty Hooverville.  Casy takes the fall for a deputy sheriff’s beating]


  1. Which of Granma’s wishes are the Joad’s unable to fulfill? [328]
  2. Draw out the Hooverville as portrayed on pages 328-329.
  3. What’s wrong with the mayor of Hooverville? [331-332]
  4. Name three reasons why the police want to keep the Okies moving. [332]
  5. What is the young man reacting to when he says “They say they’s three hundred thousan; us folks here, an’ I bet ever’ dam’ fam’ly seen them.” [333]
  6. Why would an owner print so many? [334]
  7. Why is picking only a temporary venture? [335]
  8. What is the blacklist? [336]
  9. In what way does the young man advice Tom to act when the cops come? [338]
  10. Casy compares the migrants struggles in California to what animal? [340]
  11. According to Casy, what are man’s most basic desire? [341]
  12. When Tom mentions that “this ain’t no lan’ of milk an’ honey,’ what is he alluding to? [342]
  13. In the camp, how does Connie begin to change his attitude about studying? [344]
  14. Why does Ma feel uncomfortable when cooking dinner in the camp? [344]
  15. What does Al love more than anything else? [348]
  16. Why can’t Uncle John eat? [351]
  17. Why does the child’s mother get mad at Ma Joad? [353]
  18. How did Floyd’s family get broken up? [356]
  19. When Floyd hears about the possibility of work in Tulare County, he is immediately skeptical towards the contractor.  Why? [358-359]
  20. What happens to Floyd as a result of his outspokenness? [359]
  21. How did the woman’s hand get mangled? [361]
  22. In what way is Casy the savior of the confrontation?  How does Casy feel about his actions? [362-364]
  23. What does Uncle John want to share with the family and who advises him not to? [365]
  24. Why is Rose upset? [366]
  25. What does Uncle John feel guilty about keeping? [367]
  26. How does Tom finally get Uncle John back on the truck? [377]  
  27. What does Tom tell the storekeeper about Connie? [379]


Chapter Twenty One [The companies control of the land results in hordes of angry men]


  1. What were the migrants’ senses ‘still sharp to’? [385]
  2. What emotion unifies the migrants? [385]
  3. How do the owners rationalize their cruelty towards the migrants? [386]

4.        What was the role of canneries in the obliteration of small farms? [387]

5.        What did the ‘great companies’ fail to understand? [388]


Chapter Twenty Two [The Joads make their way to the government camp.  Ma reflects on journey.  Tom finds work with a pick.  Brown lady antagonizes Joads.]


  1. What amenities does the Weedpatch camp offer the Joads? [390]
  2. In addition to breakfast, Tom’s neighbors, the young and older man, offer him what? [397]
  3. What question arises shame on the face of the Wallaces?  [400]
  4. Who pressures Mr. Thomas to lower wages?  [402]
  5. Who is responsible for the camp burning that was in the paper? [403]
  6. What might happened at the next dance? [404]
  7. Justify Tom’s elation in swing the pick. [405]
  8. Why is the association so concerned with whether or not the migrants organize? [406]
  9. What does the word ‘red’ allude to in the conversation between Tom and Timothy? [406]
  10. Explain how Ruthie and Winfield come to feel guilty for breaking the toilet. [409]
  11. The children were ‘shamed’ by their ignorance.  Is shame a natural reaction when ignorance is discovered? [411].
  12. Why does Uncle John have a red bruise on his chin? [412]
  13. Scan through the book’s introduction to find who Jim Rawley is modeled after. [415]
  14. What causes Ma Joad to “feel like people again.” [420]
  15. What character in the camp has the biggest problem with Saturday night dances and why? [422]
  16. What reactions do you think Steinbeck wanted readers to have when reading about the brown woman? [422-423]
  17. From whom to Ma and Rose get a tour of the camp? [428]
  18. According to one camper, what was ‘too low, an’ it ain’t big enough’ for cleaning clothes? [429]
  19. Why did the idea get introduced to put a small bell on the toilet paper? [430]
  20. The camp gives freely to its members, but there’s no charity allowed.  Explain. [432]
  21. What life-lesson do you think Ruthie learns when she disrupts the game? [434
  22. In her conversation with Rose, what does Ma do/think that she wouldn’t allow herself to do/think during their trip? [436]
  23. What happens that causes the brown lady to, according to one bystander, get ‘the sperit’? [438]
  24. How does Jim rationalize the brown lady’s behavior? [439]
  25. What one thing is missing from the government camp that the Joads need? [440]
  26. What does Ma think back upon while talking in the camp with Pa? [441]


Chapter Twenty Three [How migrants pass time in the camps.  Those who condemn the migrants as sinners].


  1. What source of amusement do the migrants find from each other? [444]
  2. What happens in the tale of the indian’s suicide? [445]
  3. Sometimes the story tellers would pay to get stories.  Explain.  [446]
  4. What vice would the migrants partake to help them forget about their woes? [447]

5.      Explain the irony behind this statement: “Wisht I knowed what all the sins was, so I could do ‘em.” [451]


Chapter Twenty Four [Camp readies for dance and possible intrusion by association thugs.  Men struggle with dwindling finances.  Some talk of union formation].


  1. At the beginning of the chapter, what ‘fever’ did the children catch? [452]
  2. The central committee meets to discuss what piece of news? [453]
  3. The association argues that an organized migrant force will just sit around and brainstorm ways to get relief.  What are the migrant’s arguments against his? [455]
  4. Al becomes interested in a blond girl on the night of the dance.  In what way is she similar to Rose? [458]
  5. When Tom says “We’re gonna entertain some fellas,” what does he mean? [459]
  6. How do the farmers bring down labor costs? [462]
  7. Why was pa scared to take the job? [462]
  8. What happens to migrant children at school? [462]
  9. What happens to the ‘friends’ of the migrant Jackson? [468]
  10. Who is waiting in the car outside of the camp and why are they there? [469]
  11. What happened in Akron, Ohio? [471]


Chapter Twenty Five [Farmers who can’t afford to sell destroy their crops.  Novel’s title explained.]


  1. How do the farmers employ skill in their trade? [473]
  2. Why would farmers let the fruit die on the trees and the ground? [475]
  3. How come the great owners can survive the low prices? [476]
  4. Even the most intelligent farmers can create a fair system to do what? [476]
  5. Why were the men with kerosene ‘angry at the crime’? [476]
  6. Explain how this quote relates to the novel so far.  “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”


Chapter Twenty Six [Family is running out of food and leaves the government camp.  Joads find work and protestors up north.  Meet up with Casy.  Casy is murdered.  Tom acts out violently.  The Joads leave the camp to protect Tom.]


  1. What does Winfield’s body represent to the rest of the Joad clan? [478]. 
  2. What demands does Ma make on the men of the family? [478].
  3. What, according to Pa, ‘puts a weight on ya’? [479]
  4. Why does Ma get angrier more easily now? [480]
  5. Though Ma intentionally angers Pa, she avoids making Tom mad.  Why? [481-482]
  6. What do you think Ma means when she says to Tom ‘Ever’thing you do is more’n you”? [482]
  7. What effect do the earrings have on Rose? [484]
  8. Who does Al ‘whistle softly’ to? [485]
  9. How does Willie explain why the Deputies haven’t yet raided the government camp? [488]
  10. When John says to Pa that “I feel sin,” what is he saying he wants to do? [490]
  11. On the way out of the camp, the truck encounters what mishap? [495]
  12. While fixing the truck, what does Tom learn from a passerby? [498]
  13. What’s the story with Happy Hooligan? [500-501]
  14. How did the Joads make their way through the picket lines? [502]
  15. What do you think is the significance of the deputy’s ‘long list’? [504]
  16. How does the store clerk in the camp justify the raised prices? [510]
  17. In what way does the storekeeper ‘soften up’ by the end of his encounter with Ma Joad? [513]
  18. According to Ma Joad, who should you turn to if you need help?  What is the logic in this? [513-514]
  19. What’s ‘working on’ Tom during their first dinner at the camp? [514]
  20. Who is the fella that is ‘spark-pluggin’’ the protests? [516]
  21. What obstacles does Tom face in trying to reach the protestors? [518]
  22. Whom does Tom encounter in the tent? [520]
  23. According to Casy, what “makes all the trouble?” [521]
  24. What is the lesson behind the sour beans story? [522]
  25. How much money was originally offered to Casy when he showed up to work on the farm? [522]
  26. What does Casy want Tom to persuade the pickers to do? [524]
  27. What is the final fate of all revolutionaries? [525]
  28. What happens to Casey and Tom down by the river? [527]
  29. What’s the effect of all the new people coming in? [534]
  30. What does Ma mean when she says ‘An’ now we ain’t clear no more”? [536]
  31. How does Ma convince Tom to stay? [536]
  32. Tom doesn’t trust Rose not to give him away.  What does he grab to provide a little extra security? [538]
  33. Outside of the tent, a new family is instructed to head to tent 25.  What does Tom find out about the wages through listening to their conversation? [538]
  34. When Pa finds out about the new workers and lower wages, he argues with the checker about the dangers of making the workers mad with the absurdly low pay.  However, the checker doesn’t seem worried.  Why? [544]
  35. True or False.  People around the camp know that the ‘wanted man’ [Tom] probably has a mark on his face from a blow to the head. [545]
  36. On the way out of the camp, what lie does Al devise to help explain the fact that they are one man short than what they entered the camp with? [547]


Chapter Twenty-Seven [Picking Cotton]


  1. What device might ‘put han’ pickin’ out”? [556]s
  2. Though the work might be good now, there’s always danger in tomorrow.  Explain. [557]


Chapter Twenty Eight [Family finds a box car and short cotton work.  Tom leaves for good, vowing to follow Casy’s path.  The winter rains come].


1.   What’s Ma’s first impression of the box car? [558]

  1. Why could the family be considered aristocrats in their new settlement? [559]
  2. What Joad endangers Tom to the point where he must leave? [563]
  3. What does Ma try to give Tom before he goes? [570]
  4. According to Tom, why was the ‘wilderness. . .no good’? [570]
  5. What are Tom’s arguments for working/living together, rather than by oneself? [570
  6. What caused Tom to wonder ‘why we can’t do that all over’? [571]
  7. What do you think Tom means when he says to Ma that he will do ‘what Casy done’? [571]
  8. Tom almost becomes God like [omnipresent] in his rhetoric of his new path in life.  Explain. [572]
  9. What was Ma contemplating doing when she ‘stopped and stood still in the dripping thicket’? [573]
  10. What is Ms. Wainwright worry about when it comes to Al? [576]
  11. Why do you think Pa hates to think? [577]
  12. Why would Rose have the reaction she does when she hears about Al’s wedding? [579]
  13. The family got up early to pick cotton, but upon arriving at the farm, Al notes that ‘We ain’t so early as we thought.” Explain. [583]
  14. What forces are the pickers battling against during the short day or work? [585]


Chapter Twenty Nine [Rain comes.  Migrants get sick, face death, become desperate for relief].


  1. Why don’t migrant families just go to the relief offices to get aid? [590]
  2. What is the ‘greatest terror of all’? [590]
  3. What actions do the migrant men take that show desperation?  [591]
  4. How do the sheriffs react to the growing numbers of hungry migrants? [591]
  5. What is ironic about the owners treatment of the horses? [592]
  6. What causes the women of the camps to feel relieved when they watched their men? [592]


Chapter Thirty [Water rushes in.  Rose loses baby.  Family loses car in flood.  Family rushes to high ground.  Rose comes to the aid of a starving man].


  1. Does Pa want to leave for drier ground or stay and battle the water? [594]
  2. Who helps Ma and Rose with the delivery of the baby? [596]
  3. Who has the strongest reaction to Rose’s screams inside the car?  Why does this make sense? [600]
  4. What plan does Pa device to save the cars from the flood? [600-601]
  5. What causes Pa’s plan to fail? [602]
  6. What does Al desperately try to save, albeit unsuccessfully? [602-603]
  7. True or False:  Rose’s baby survived but a few minutes. [603]
  8. Why are some of the men angry at Pa? [605]
  9. Al still finds a way to make use out of the truck.  Explain. [607]
  10. In what way is Uncle John’s reaction to the burial request similar to penance? [608]
  11. Why doesn’t John follow through with the request? [609]
  12. What unspoken understanding do Rose and Ma come to when ‘the two women looked deep into each other’? [618]



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