Analysis: The Grapes of Wrath

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One Can Help Several Defeat Despair

When the devastation of Dustbowl hit the families in Okalahoma, chaos erupted. In the book The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck prevails a story of tragedy and struggle, but also the conquering of triumph. Each character in this novel individually matures, however Ma Joad’s development is the most significant. She is the threshold of the family’s well being. Through all the obstacles the Joad family faced, Ma grew in strength and drive as well as maintaining the family’s faith and hope for future success.

Ma is a hardheaded and stubborn woman. When she had an idea, she put it into action and was determined to succeed. As Tom described Ma, "An’ Ma ain’t nobody you can push aroun’ neither. I seen her beat the hell out of a tin peddler with a live chicken one time 'cause he give her an argument… Couldn’ even eat that chicken when she got done. Wasn’t nothing but a pair a legs in her han’" (50). If Ma doesn’t agree with something, not only will the disagreement create a heated argument, but it will also end in her favor. She doesn’t let anybody push her around. Even when the circumstances came to government authorities, what she said went, and she made sure of it. When the police came to the Joad’s tent, on the roadside, and ordered Ma to get the family packed and gone, Ma courageously said, “Mister…you got a tin button an’ a gun. Where I come from, you keep your voice down.” She advanced on him with the skillet. He loosened the gun holster. “Go ahead…scarin’ a woman. I’m thankful the men folks ain’t here. They’d tear ya to pieces. In my country you watch your tounge” said Ma (235). She wasn’t fond of the tone the Police officer had with her, she wanted to set him straight and persuade him to think that anything he said wouldn’t concern her. Likewise, later in the book, Ma scowls at Mrs. Sandry, “Git!…don’t you never come back! Seen your kind before. You’d take the little pleasure woudn’ you?” Ma advanced on Mrs. Sandry...
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