Ma Joad (from the Grapes of Wrath)

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  • Topic: The Grapes of Wrath, Family, John Steinbeck
  • Pages : 3 (1041 words )
  • Download(s) : 2282
  • Published : April 22, 2008
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Ma Joad
In the 1930s, America’s Great Plains experienced a disastrous drought causing thousands of people to migrate west. As their land was devastated by the Dust Bowl, deprived farmers were left with few options but to leave. The Grapes of Wrath depicts the journey of the Joads, an Oklahoma based family which decides to move to California in search of better conditions. Coming together as thirteen people at the start, the Joads will undertake what represents both a challenge and their only hope. Among them are only four women embodying every ages: the Grandma, the Mother and her two daughters, the pregnant Rose of Sharon and the young Ruthie. Appearing in Chapter Eight the mother, who is referred to as “Ma”, holds a decisive role in Steinbeck’s novel. She is, along with her son Tom (the main character of the book), present from the early stage of the story until its very end. We will attempt to trace back her emotional journey (I) as well as to analyze its universal aspects and to deliver an overall impression on the book (II). Steinbeck describes Ma as a strong woman, physically “heavy, thick with childbearing and work” (Chap.8). From the moment the author introduces her to the reader, she displays two qualities that remain throughout the book: generosity and self-control. Her first word aims to welcome stranger at the family table (“Let’em come”). Her face is “controlled” and even as she sees her son back her first reaction is rather calm: she worries about him breaking out of jail and his possible madness. She will consistently adopt a similar attitude during the family’s journey. Her main concern lies in the unity of the group. For instance; she speaks up against her husband when he suggested leaving Tom behind with the Wilsons and their broken car. From that point her authority has continuously grown over the family. Despite her first son’s departure and the grandparents’ deaths, Ma finds the strength to focus on the primary goal of getting to...
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