Analysis of Home in the Grapes of Wrath

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“You can leave home all you want, but home will never leave you.” Sonsyrea Tate. Tate’s quote has distinct meaning depending on the individual who analyzes it. Many believe this quote to mean that a home is not a single place or object, but a concept or state of mind, which you have when you are around your family or loved ones. In the book The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck this idea of “home is where the heart is,” is shown throughout the book. One of the main characters, Ma, shows with great strength the concept of home is not a dwelling or place where you live, but a state of mind.

Ma, throughout the course of the book understood that a home is not a place, but where you are with your family. During the course of the book Ma takes steps to assert herself as a voice to be heard by all, in order to keep the family together as they travel. At the beginning of the book she was simply in the shadows of her husband for him to lean on. “And then Ma came out of the house and Granma with her, and Rose of Sharon behind, walking daintily. They took their places behind the squatting men…” (Steinbeck, 129) This shows how even though the women are there; they only spoke when spoken to. This is in huge contrast to later in the book when Ma stands up for herself and her opinion. “On’y way you gonna get me to go is whup me.” (Steinbeck, 217) This was her first real showing oh how she is taking control. Finally in chapter 26 she fully steps forward at the family’s leader and decision-making. Telling the family they must leave the government camp to look for work.

The beginning of the family breaking apart instigates the change of character for Ma. This family is not just those who are directly blood related, but even to those of whom have become connected to the Joads. Such as with Casy, “Somebody got to take the blame. I got no kids. They’ll jus’ put me in jail, an’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ but set aroun’.” (Steinbeck, 342) This occurred when Casy sent both Tom and Al...
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