Chapter 17 in The Grapes of Wrath showed how the traveling migrant families became one family when they rested from a long day’s travel. A community began with one family camping along the roadside and eventually more joining. As the families camped together, there were many unwritten however, obviously understood rules or rights. Each person had the right to many basic needs such as food, water, and privacy. And everyone also knew the general rules such as not disturbing the peace when the camp is quiet or having gluttony while others are hungry. Everyone shared with each other: support, conversation, music, supplies, and hardships. A good way to summarize up this chapter would be with the song, “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. The communities on the whole became tight knit clans or families of sorts.
Chapter 17 not only talked about the importance of having a family feeling for the migrants to survive and be successful in their travels but also introduced the concept of self-government. All of the people felt as though they were part of a whole; of one. They realized that equilibrium among the communities could be maintained by just following rules derived from common sense and respect. They could ultimately, adequately govern themselves.
The illustrated concept of self-government in chapter 17 was further established by the migrants realizing that people who use "I" thinking are static, while those who join together to create a "we" community are always shifting, always changing and advancing. Flexibility and adaptability were two major attributes which everyone in Grapes of Wrath needed to survive and flourish. With people possessing those characteristics, society can be both fair and efficient.
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