Ma Joad, Grapes of Wrath
In the book, The Grapes of Wrath, even the poorest families can afford cars. Cars were made to be an item to be used by the everyday family. Even though the Joad family had very little, they had a car to get them from one place to another. The road that they drive on is a symbol for hope. "His dark quiet eyes became amused as he stared along the road." referring to Tom. Ma coaxes the family to go to California in search of the promise land, therefore moving down the road in search of opportunity. The highway in the book, "Route 66", has only two directions. These directions are symbolic for going towards opportunity, and new beginnings, or heading back towards the poverty and hardships they once endured. "66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership...66 is the mother road, the road of flight"(Steinbeck 118).
Housing in the Grapes of Wrath was a very important part of the Joad's life. When their house becomes engulfed in dust, Ma knows that the family must leave and find a new place to live. Thats when they start making their way down Highway 66. They go to Uncle John's house. Ma coaxes the family to leave, in search of the promise land. Along the way, they endure living in government camps, that aren't as nice as they sound, Hoovervilles, and even boxcars. It shows just how tough life could be for poor people. "Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes"(Steinbeck 3).