Ma Joad

Pictures Throughout Her Life By Kyra Smith


The pictures show the truck that made the journey possible. Ma needs it to get to the next town and make the family's life better. The pictures show all of their possessions piled up in the back, as well as people piled up on the mattress in the back, and the struggles they had getting it to last till the next stop.

The Truck They Travelled In

"Pa and Al loaded the truck. Tools on the bottom, but handy to reach in case of a breakdown. Boxes of clothes next, and kitchen utensils in a gunny sack; cutlery and dishes in their box. Then the gallon bucket tied on behind. They made the bottom of the load as even as possible,and filled the spaces between with boxes with rolled blankets. Then over the top they laid the mattresses, filling the truck in level."(Steinbeck 108-109)


These images connect to the book by showing how far Ma has come, and how the family has always gotten better. They started in a Hooverville and worked their way up to homes in a boxcar. The photos show the progression of their homes.

Boxcar Homes

"The Joads had been lucky. They got in early enough to have a place in the boxcars. Now the tents of the late-comers filled the little flat, and those who had the boxcars were old-timers, and in a way aristocrats."(Steinbeck 409-410)


These pictures show some of the many jobs the Joads had to get to have enough money to get supper on the table., and how taxing the work can be. Ma is always working to help the family in any way and she's working her hardest in the fields with the rest of the family.

Weighing Cotton

"Sack's full now. Take her to the scales. Argue. Scale man says you got rocks to make weight. How 'bout him? His scale is fixed. Sometimes he's right, you got rocks in the sack. Sometimes you're right, the scales is crooked. Sometimes both; rocks and crooked scaled. Always argue, always fight. Keep your head up. An' keep his head up. What's a few rocks? Jus' one, maybe. Quarter pound? Always argue."(Steinbeck 407)

Friends and Family

Throughout the journey, these pictures show all of the friends and family that Ma has met, and many of them she's lost. These pictures show how Ma will help others any way she can, wether it's traveling across the country with them or simply sharing a spoonful of soup.


"The children, fifteen of them, stood silently and watched. And when the smell of the cooking stew came to their noses, their noses crinkled slightly... [Ma] smiled up at the children. 'Look,' she said, 'you little fellas go an' get you each a flat stick an' I'll put what's lef' for you.'"(Steinbeck 252-257)