Rose Of Sharon

by Emily Lussier


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Throughout the story, there are many times where we see the Joads with a varying supply of food that always depends on their work, or lack there of. There are many occasions where they cannot obtain certain luxuries, one of those being milk. Rose of Sharon is specifically concerned with this because of one nurse who told her she should drink as much of it as she can during her pregnancy.

"'I ain't had no milk,' Rose of Sharon said sullenly. 'I oughta have some.' 'I know, but you're still on your feet. This little fella's down. Is that mush good an' thick?'" (Steinbeck 398).


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Like many migrants during the Great Depression, the Joads start of as Oklahoma farmers, but on their journey out to California, and while there, they live in many types of shelters. They go where the work is, and Rose of Sharon comes with them. It is at the Hooverville where Connie leaves the family, but she continues on, all the way to the boxcar camp where, during a flood, she gives birth to a stillborn baby.

"The boxcars, twelve of them, stood end to end on a little flat beside the stream... They made good houses, water-tight and draftless, room for twenty-four families, one family in each end of the car. No windows, but the wide doors stood open" (Steinbeck 409).


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Before leaving for California, the Joads were a family of farmers, but they did leave, having no other choice. They became migrant workers, taking any work they could. They worked on farms and orchards picking cotton and peaches. Usually Rose of Sharon was not a big part of the working, since she was pregnant and often ill. When that was the case, she still worked in the kitchen helping Ma prepare whatever they could. It was not until they were at one cotton field that she insisted on going out to pick in a moment of sadness and frustration.

"The girl set her jaw. 'I'm a-goin',' she said. 'Ma, I got to go.' 'Well, you got no cotton sack. You can't pull no sack.' 'I'll pick in your sack.' 'I wisht you wouldn'.' 'I'm a-goin'.'" (Steinbeck 427).


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Early in the story, on her journey to California with Connie, before he leaves, Rose of Sharon talks often about her future with Connie and what she expects it to be like. Similar to the rest of her family members, she dreams about California,expecting the best when she arrives. Her dreams for the future are just a bit more fine-tuned, and they focus on her and Connie rather than the whole family.

"'Connie gonna get a job in a store or maybe a fact'ry. An' he's gonna study at home, maybe radio, so he can git to be an expert an' maybe later have his own store. An' we'll go to pitchers whenever. An' Connie says I'm gonna have a doctor when the baby's born; an' he says we'll see how times is, an' maybe I'll go to a hospiddle. An' we'll have a car, little car. An' after he studies at night, why- it'll be nice..." (Steinbeck 164).