Ethnography of Rose Of Sharon

By: Jake DeAngelis


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Rose of Sharon spent her time resting and sitting around during the day while the other members of the family worked. She was also commanded by Ma to clean things and to gather water when there was none at the camp. At the end of the book when her baby was born dead, she let a sick old weak man suck on her breast to get the milk. She was still a mother even though she had no child.

"Rose of Sharon loosened one side of the blanket and bared her breast. 'you got to,' she said. She squired closer and pulled his head close. 'There!' she said. 'There.'...she looked up and a cross the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously" (Steinbeck 455).


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Rose of Sharon was wearing a dress mostly the entire book. Ma bought the family clothes in the beginning of the trip west and again when they were living in the box car. Their clothes were ratty and dirty because of the work they are doing.

"Rose of Sharon, unkempt and sleepy eyed, cralwed out of the tent. Ma...looked at the girl's wrinkled dirty dress" (Steinbeck 302)


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Rose of Sharon and the Joads lived in a tent in the hooverville and at the Government Camp. When they were picking peaches they lived in a small house at the farm. After they finished picking peaches they picked cotton on a farm and lived in a nearby box car where they were considered aristocrats.

"when the baby comes, maybe he’ll be all done studyin’ an’ we’ll have a place, little bit of a place. We don’t want nothin’ fancy, but we want it nice for the baby-“An’ I thougt-well, I thought maybe we could all go in town, an’ when Connie gets his store – maybe Al could work for him." (Steinbeck 165)


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The Joad family ate all together and had whatever the family can afford. This was usually mush and potatoes but on special days they had meat, and even they people complained of hunger. Rose was told by a nurse to drink milk to help her baby and she only got milk a few times, but it was always on her mind and she was always asking for it

"'I ain't had no milk,' Rose of Sharon said sullenly. 'I oughta have some.' 'I know, but you're still on your feet. This here little fella's down. Is that mush good and thick?'" (Steinbeck 398)


"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.