a story about a familys epicStruggles of survival during the time of the depression. Tom, the eldest son of the JoadFamily, finds himself in a unique when he must leave his home and head out toCalifornia with his family. As Tom and his family headed West on their journey, hefound himself as the leader of the family after his grandpa had died and his fatherwas not thinking straight.
Throughout the journey, Tom and his mother took care of thefamily and did the best they could to maintain order in the family.Tom was a good, reasonable person. Sure he had been locked in Prison for fouryears, but that was only because he got in a drunken fight and killed a man with ashovel. But Tom was only defending himself, he didnt mean to kill the man, but he did.In prison, Tom kept to himself and didnt talk much.
He probably figured that was theonly way he was going to get out of prison sooner. And his patience paid off, because hewas released in four years, instead of seven. When Tom got home, he realized thatnothing was left. All of the houses were torn down and everyone was gone. If Tom hadntseen his old neighbor Muley, he might have never seen his family again.
After Muley hadtold Tom that his family was with his Uncle John, he set out to his Uncles house withhis old friend, Casy. As soon as Toms mother saw him standing in the doorway, she wasso happy that “Her head sank slowly to her side” and the fork she was holding in herhand hit the floor (Steinbeck 80). After Tom had re-acquainted himself with everyone inhis family, they all sat down and had breakfast. After breakfast, they all discussed andplanned their journey to California.After Tom and his family decided when they were leaving, Tom had to give itsome serious thinking before he decided to leave.
Since he was out on parole, he couldnot leave the state, or else he would get sent back to jail for the remaining three years ofhis sentence. But, Tom realized that his family needed him with them, so he decided to gowith them. Besides, Tom figured that if he just did not get into any trouble in California,he would be fine. Tom and his family left the next morning at daylight. “They tookHighway 66, the main migrant road” across the country (Steinbeck 127). The trip was along one, But Tom and his family managed to get there.
Unfortunately, Toms familysuffered many losses. Toms grandpa died on the way to California, and Toms grandmadied in California, but she wasnt able to see the mountains and great valleys ofCalifornia. Noah, Toms brother, got left behind somewhere in the Mojave Desert becausehe just walked away down a river. Casy, made it to California, but he was taken into jailfor hitting a cop at one of the Hoovervilles. Once Tom and his family found work, timeswere not that bad. But when they could not find any work, things got bad.
So Tom andhis family had to leave the first couple of places they stayed at because they needed foodand money. Tom realized that his family needed someplace they could go to where theywould be treated good and where they could be clean. He decided to take his family toone of the government camps that people had been talking about.
So Tom took his familyto a government camp and they lived pretty good, but only for a short while.At the government camp, life was good. There were bathrooms, showers, and placesto wash clothes. Tom and his family lived for only a month. They would have stayedlonger, but the family could not find work. So Tom and his family set off. They hadheard of some possible work not too far away.
When they got to Hooper Ranch, the copslined them up on the road and sent them in to the ranch. The work there wasnt sogood. They were paid five cents for every box of peaches that they picked. Things wouldnot have gotten so bad if Tom had not attacked a cop. But Tom only did it in selfdefense.
Besides, the cop that he hurt had killed his old friend Casy, right in front of hisface. Tom had met up with Casy the night that he hurt the cop. It turns out that Casyhad gotten to Hooper Ranch before Tom and his family. Casy said that when he arrived,they were offering only two and a half cents per box of peaches. So, Casy and his newfriends protested. Thats why the wage went up to five cents, because were needed to pickthe peaches.
But as soon as the cops stopped the protest, the wage was going back downto two and a half cents. Well after Tom had been beaten for what he did, he went backto his shelter and told his family what had happened. They all decided that they shouldleave immediately. But Tom hesitated.
He knew that if they left, the cops would belooking for him. But Toms mother would not let him leave. She pleaded him to stay andfinally Tom agreed. He probably realized that he would be better off with his family forthe time being. So the Joad family left Hooper Ranch and set off to someplace else. Onthe road, the Joad family found a place where there were many abandoned boxcars wherethey could live. They settled down there and began looking for a job. They found a jobpicking cotton, but that job soon was gone because of all the people that were picking.
Tom on the other hand, was hiding. He had agreed with his mother to stay hidden atleast until his wounds healed up. Tom didnt like the idea, he still preferred going offsomewhere in his own, but he agreed to stay. Toms secrecy was soon broken when hissister Ruthie had threatened a girl that her big brother would beat up the other girlsbrother. But also Ruthie also mentioned that he had already killed two men and was outhiding waiting to kill another. As soon as Mrs. Joad heard about this, she knew she hadto tell her son to flee. Tom was not too happy about her offering him money to leave,but he knew it was for the best, so he took the money.
After Mrs. Joad returned to theboxcars, it began to rain heavily and the cars became flooded. The Joad family knew theyhad to leave, so they did. The family found “A rain-blackened barn” that was just acrossthe highway (Steinbeck 498).
The family went there and received shelter from the heavyrain.In conclusion, Tom was a person who took responsibility for his actions. He tookcare of his family when they needed him the most, but in the end, he did what was bestfor the family, he left them.
He knew that if he had stayed, he would have only been aburden to them because the cops would have been looking for him. Besides, he knew thathe would have put his family in danger if he had stayed.BibliographyWorks CitedSteinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.
New York: Penguin Books. 1967