The Grapes of Wrath


Chapters 13 - 17

Chapter 13 Summary

As he drives the heavily loaded truck down Route 66, Al is watchful for any signs of trouble in the engine. Al asks Ma whether she is apprehensive about California, to which she quickly replies that she is not. She says there is no point in worrying about what might happen in the future because there are too many possibilities. She says that she can only deal with matters in the present moment, and that the family depends on her to do this. If she began to worry too much about the future, it would be bad for the rest of the family.

When the Joads stop at a gas station, the attendant implies that they probably don’t have any money for gas. Al is offended at the suggestion, and the attendant bemoans the fact that so many migrants come through begging for water and gas. The Joads' dog is hit by a passing truck, and Rose of Sharon becomes anxious that witnessing this event is a bad omen for her baby. Throughout the day, Grampa moans in his sleep and is unwell. After passing through Oklahoma City—the biggest city the Joads have ever seen—the family sets up camp at the side of the road. There, they encounter and befriend another couple, Ivy and Sairy Wilson, whose car is broken down.

The two families are immediately kind to one another. Sairy offers her tent as a place for the obviously ill Grampa to rest. There, Grampa suffers a stroke and dies. Sairy helps Ma prepare the body for burial. Even though it is illegal not to report a death to the authorities, the Joads conclude that they cannot afford the forty dollars for Grampa to have a funeral. Instead, they bury him themselves and Casy is persuaded to say a few words. Al offers to help fix the Wilsons’ car. Tom and Al suggest that in future the two families could help one another by traveling together to California. Although Sairy, who is ill and in constant pain, does not want to be a burden, Ma insists that “Each’ll help each, and we’ll all get to California.”  

Chapter 14 Summary

... Sign up to continue reading Chapters 13 - 17 >

Essays About The Grapes of Wrath