Rose Of Sharon

The Grapes of Wrath Character Sketch

Physical Appearance

Rose of Sharon Joad is the younger sister of Tom Joad, a young woman around twenty. She is described to have a soft round face, displaying her innocence and youth, and also braided blonde hair. She is also pregnant with the child of herself and the nineteen year old farm boy: Connie.


Of all things, Rose of Sharon most strongly represents hope. As the Joad family travels to California in search of work and a future for the family Rose of Sharon manages to stay hopeful for the majority of the trip. Wearing an "unbreakable smile" Rose of Sharon laughed with Connie for days on end, no matter the bleakness of their situation. She remained hopeful that Connie would be able to take the radio class and open up his own shop to provide a good life for their new family and child, even when Connie leaves she believes that he'll come back. Rose of Sharon never gave up, she even tried to help the family pick cotton when she was nine months pregnant, and when she discovers her child was stillborn, she still moved on and helped the poor starving man with her milk.


While Rose of Sharon doesn't let fear represent her, it is a common feeling she encounters as shown in the novel. For the majority of the time she is able to keep strong and maintain her smile, but in some cases she breaks down. For instance we learn that she is almost constantly worries about her future child, she also admits that she's worried about having to take care of her child alone to Ma Joad when she breaks down crying at one of the camps. She also worries for Tom, she hopes that he won't get discovered as the one who assaulted the police officer, she is clearly distressed when Winfield snitches on Ruthie for telling the other child about how Tom killed a man.

Beauty and Purity

Throughout the story "Rosasharn" is displayed as a symbol of purity and beauty. In the beginning of the story when Tom returns home, she is described as a beautiful young woman, radiating with happiness due to her pregnancy. She is shown to be pure through her "soft and round cheeks" accentuating her youthful purity. Throughout the story she is a victim of circumstance, the death of her child, Connie leaving her, and so on, but she never becomes bitter (or angry with Connie), she always remains hopeful and retains her inner beauty and purity.


One theme that Rose of Sharon embodies is change, or growing and becoming stronger. In the beginning of the novel Rose of Sharon is a happy go lucky, ditsy young woman, happily married and excited about her soon to be baby and also happy about her brother's return. Throughout the Joad's journey to the west she's beaten down time and time again, though she remains strong due to her hope, and she changes as a person. As the journey continues and her husband leaves, she becomes much quieter and more reserved, she tries to protect herself by not sharing her feelings and thoughts, having been exposed to the harshness of this changing world. This adventure makes her a stronger person so that when she eventually gives birth, she discovers her child is dead, and she is able to overcome the distress quite easily, and when she gives her breast milk to the starving man she goes through another transformation. She becomes confident in her strength as a woman (even when her child was dead, she could give life to the man), as shown by her smile as she is breastfeeding. After the tribulations of the past months this dynamic character realizes that she can adjust to the changing world, and she's ready to take on the world's challenges.

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