The Grapes of Wrath


Cast of Characters

Tom Joad: The protagonist of the novel, Tom Joad is the second son of the Joad family and Ma’s unspoken favorite. Tom is released from the state prison after serving four years for killing a man in self-defense. He travels with his family to California in search of work, but is ultimately forced to leave the family because he is wanted by the police. At the end of the novel, it seems likely that Tom will become a labor organizer for migrant workers.

Ma Joad: The unbreakable center of the Joad family, Ma Joad is the novel’s most powerful figure. She is pragmatic, hard-working, and strong-willed. All of Ma’s actions are motivated by love and her determination to keep the Joad family together.

Pa Joad: Head of the Joad family. An Oklahoma sharecropper driven off his land by the drought, Pa leads his family to California. As Pa becomes gradually demoralized by the family’s desperate situation, he allows Ma to take over much of the decision making.

Jim Casy: The former local preacher, known by the Joads in Oklahoma since Tom was a young boy. Casy gives up preaching because he is conflicted about the nature of sin and holiness. A deep thinker, he has come to believe that humanity itself is holy. He travels to California with the Joads, where he becomes an organizer of the migrant workers and is ultimately killed by a deputy.

Rose of Sharon: The Joads’ eldest daughter, married to Connie and pregnant throughout the novel. When Connie abandons the family, Rose of Sharon’s dreams of a happy future turn into anxiety and fear. After delivering a stillborn child, Rose of Sharon gives her milk to a dying old man, providing the novel’s final, powerful image.

Granma and Grampa Joad: The Joad grandparents, an argumentative but tight-knit pair of Oklahoma sharecroppers. Granpa resists leaving the land he’s known all his life and dies of a stroke not long after the family’s...

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Essays About The Grapes of Wrath