Pa Joad Artifacts

Mollie Redman

Housing

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The Joad family lives in a variety of housing situations throughout The Grapes of Wrath. Migrants may live in poor Hoovervilles or 'fancy' government camps. The Joads experience both ends of the spectrum while trying to find work.


Quote:

"'Now, Ma, don' think I don' wanta go. I ain't had a good gutful to eat in two weeks. 'Course I filled up, but I did' take no good from it'" (Steinbeck 352).


Pa knows the family will not be able to go to a place like Weedpatch again, so Pa wants to stay as long as possible. Ma is able to look at the family's needs for the future and not just the present, realizing that the family has to leave before it is too late. Pa being blind to these situations are what make Ma the head of the family

Work

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The Joad family trekked to California in search of work. They based their decision off of a handbill that contained promises for a far away land. As long as they were able to find work and eat a fulfilling meal, the family slept as happy people.


Quote:

"The men trooped in. 'Meat, by god!' said Tom. 'And coffee. I smell her. Jesus, I'm hungry!'" (Steinbeck 378).


For the men, working is a way to provide for the family. Pa gains self esteem while working. The feeling that he gets when he provides his family with money makes him feel important and needed.

Bed

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As the Joad family travels to California, where they sleep constantly changes. To start the story the sleep in comfortable beds, however at the end, they end up sleeping on the floor in an empty barn. Pa becomes increasingly less important as their situation changes.


Quote:

"'You ain't said where-at we're a-hurryin' to,' Pa reminded her sarcastically" (Steinbeck 452).


Pa's agitation with their situation causes him to make immature remarks to Ma due to his inability to support the family.

Suffering

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Throughout Grapes of Wrath, characters suffer mentally or physically. Pa suffers mentally by losing his place in the family. This causes him to distance himself and make poor decisions. Ma replaces him by making quick smart decisions in order to help keep the family alive.


Quote:

"The weary men watched, their mouths hanging open. The tree moved slowly down...The water piled up behind it...The men broke and ran, and the current worked smoothly into the flat, under the cars, under the automobiles" (Steinbeck 442).


Pa's efforts to dig a ditch and slow the water from rising fail due to the inevability of their situation. He only causes weariness within the men at the camp, which slows their efforts to make it out.