The Grapes of Wrath Ethnography

By Natalia Torcia


Boxcar Homes for Sugar Beet Workers

Ma: "It's nice," she said. "It's almost nicer than anything we had 'cept the gov'ment camp" (409)
The images relate to the different homes that the Joad's lived in. The first image relating to how Ma was trying to get everyone up and out of Uncle Johns house, the second relating to Ma at the Hoovervilles trying to get the tent all set up. The third showing their homes at the government camp where Ma had felt most comfortable, and the fourth showing the family living in the boxcars where Ma compares as one of the better homes.


Buying Groceries

'"Ma pulled herself together. 'John, you go find Pa. Get to the store. I want beans an' sugar an'---a piece of fryin' meat an' carrots an'---tell Pa to get somepin nice---anything---but nice---for tonight. Tonight---we'll have---somepin nice'" (324).
All of these images sum up the progression in which Ma had the ability to feed her family. The first showing how Ma could barley feed the family; the second relating to Ma in the Hoovervilles cooking stew; the third showing her ability to buy meat with the points earned peach picking, and the fourth showing Ma being able to buy more items at the grocery store when working in the cotton fields.


Picking Cotton

Peach Picking:

Ma: "An' Tom had five days work. An' the rest of you scrabblin' out ever' day, an' no work" (350).

Cotton Picking:

"We're doin' fine. We made three and a half today. Wisht she'd keep up. Them kids is gettin' to be good pickers. Ma's worked 'em up a little bag for each. They couldn' tow a growed-up bag. Dump into ours. Made bags outa a couple old shirts. Work fine" (410).

These images represent the long way the family came and the choices Ma made work wise to get them there. The first relating to Ma realizing that the family had to leave and find work; the second relating to Ma picking peaches at Hoober Ranch; third leading into Ma's choice to leave the Ranch to get more money; the fourth showing Ma being offered more work for cotton picking at another plantation.


On the Road

"In the late afternoon the truck came back, bumbing and rattling through the dust, and there was a layer of dust in the bed, and the hood was covered with dust, and the headlights were obscured with a red flour...Al sat bent over the wheel, proud and serious and efficient, and Pa and Uncle John, as befitted the heads of the clan, had the honor seats beside the driver. Standing in the truck bed, holding onto the bars of the sides, rode the others, twelve-year-old Ruthie and ten-year-old Winfield...Beside them clinging lightly to the bars, stood Rose of Sharon, and she balanced, swaying on the balls of her feet, and took up the road shock in her knees and hams" (95).
These images represent the transportation Ma and the family had. The first one relates to how Ma was getting the family ready to leave in a truck; the second relating to when they were actually traveling on the road with the Wilsons. The third reminded me of Ma rounding up the family together on the road when they stopped at an inn on the roadside. And the fourth reminded me of how at the end of the book Ma was walking Ruthie and Winfield with Pa and Rose of Sharon after the flood as a source of transportation.

**Works Cited**

"The History Place - Dorothea Lange Photo Gallery: Migrant Farm Families." The History Place - Dorothea Lange Photo Gallery: Migrant Farm Families. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2015.

"Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives." - About This Collection - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.