The Grapes of Wrath


Chapters 22 - 25

Chapter 22 Summary

Late at night after leaving the Hooverville, the Joads arrive at a government-funded camp called Weedpatch. They are greeted in a friendly manner by the night watchman, who says that there is room for one more family. They are directed to the Number Four Sanitary Unit, where there are bathrooms with running water and a clear area for the family to set up camp. The Weedpatch camp is much nicer than anywhere they have been, and it is self-governed by committees elected from among the residents so that they are not hassled by local police officials. Everyone works together to keep the place clean, and they have a dance every Saturday night.

Tom wakes up early and is welcomed to breakfast with a father and son, Timothy and Wilkie Wallace, who are preparing to go to work laying pipe on a small ranch nearby. They invite Tom along, saying they are sure that the rancher will have work for him as well. Mr. Thomas, the ranch owner, agrees to give Tom work, but says that he has to start paying all of them twenty-five cents an hour instead of thirty-five. The local Farmers’ Association has told Mr. Thomas that thirty-five cents is too much, and he has no choice but to pay the lower wages since he is a small landowner. Mr. Thomas knows the unfairness of the situation and obviously feels badly about it. He confides to the men that the Farmers’ Association doesn’t like the Weedpatch camp because “the folks in the camp are getting used to being treated like humans.” The Association is therefore planning to incite a riot at the upcoming Saturday night dance in order to get the deputies involved to close the camp down. Timothy, who is a member of the camp’s Central Committee, thanks Mr. Thomas for the warning and assures him that there will be no riot.

Ma is visited by the Weedpatch camp manager, Jim Rawley, a kindly man who wins her over by praising her coffee and asking for a cup. Ma rouses the family and encourages everyone to use the clean bathrooms. She looks forward to meeting the...

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