Quotes or quotations are representative sentences and lines that present main ideas or beliefs of the writer. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath also gives various viewpoints expressed by the writer, which are applicable even in modern society. Some of the quotations have been analyzed below.
Quotes in The Grapes of Wrath
“Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole. The women went into the houses to their work, and the children began to play, but cautiously at first.”
The narrator shows how women and children depend upon each other in this natural community system. He emphasizes that the women see their men facing difficulties and get reassurance from them that they can face challenges, too. However, they stay careful and cautious when facing the real world. That is why the children also are cautious.
“But for your three dollars a day fifteen or twenty families can’t eat at all. Nearly a hundred people have to go out and wander on the roads for your three dollars a day. Is that right?”
The tenant farmer speaks these words when protesting against the tractor drivers. He says that for his three dollars, his whole family will have to starve. He means that the driver is saving his family from starvation but allowing others to suffer for doing that work for just three dollars. That is why the tenant asks him the morality of his action.
“Fella gets use’ to a place, it’s hard to go,” said Casy. “Fella gets use’ to a way a thinkin’, it’s hard to leave. I ain’t a preacher no more, but all the time I find I’m prayin’, not even thinkin’ what I’m doin’.”
Jim Casy speaks these words to explain not to get attached to a place. He says that when a farmer forms a strong relationship with his land, it becomes challenging for him to leave that place. He says that though he is not preaching this thinking, he is all the time thinking about how this detachment of a farmer is possible so suddenly. Casy is stressing upon human emotions associated with land on which they work, but it is also applicable to regular jobholders. We can love our jobs, but it is always better not to get too attached to the organization.
The preacher sighed. “I’ll go anyways,” he said. “Somepin’s happening. I went up an’ I looked, an’ the houses is all empty, an’ the lan’ is empty, an’ this whole country is empty. I can’t stay here no more. I got to go where the folks is goin’.I’ll work in the fiel’s, an’ maybe I’ll be happy.”
Casy says that as a mass of people is going to empty the fields and leaving the countryside, he is also going to accompany them. He says that maybe he will be happy with those people as he cannot stay there alone anymore. The quote also suggests that an individual cannot live without his community.
“Damn right,” said Tom. “I’m bolshevisky.”
“They’s too damn many of you kinda guys aroun’.”
Tom is talking to Uncle John as he is showing him that he is a socialist and specifically Bolshevik. However, his uncle reminds him that many people are going around with such ideas. And no one will care about their ideals.
“In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.”
The narrator says that when families live together in a community, they almost form into one big family during a misfortune. This formation of a community of humanity becomes an example as people begin to care for other children as their own and treats someone else’s loss as their loss. In other words, people share their happiness and sorrows, which gives them solace from a disaster.
“Easy,” she said. “You got to have patience. Why, Tom—us people will go onlivin’ when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we’re the people that live. They ain’t gonna wipe us out. Why, we’re the people—we go on.”
Ma Joad encourages Tom Joad to demonstrate courage and unity. She tells him that they have to live as they have been living there for centuries, and they have to show strength and resilience. She is coaxing him to show unity with other ordinary people living around them.
“And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
The narrator tells that the people having been displaced from their homes are imagining different things that they have left behind. They are seeing potatoes, pigs, and oranges, which are making them furious as well as making them realize their failure to protect them. The final sentence refers to the title that as they see grapes, they also become angry over this displacement and the feeling of being a failure.
“Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be ever’where—wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.”
Tom is explaining to Ma Joad that they are connected to the community. It does not matter that they have been devoid of everything, but it matters that they are everywhere. He shows his inclusion in the community. He also says that wherever there will be hungry people, he will be there even if the police are trying to punish them.
Yes,” Ma said, “we would.”
“Or anybody. Use’ ta be the fambly was fust. It ain’t so now. It’s anybody.
Worse off we get, the more we got to do.”
This conversation is between Ruthie and Ma Joad, who sheds some light on the family system. She tells Ruthie that the people used to put the family as their priority in the past. However, now they prefer anybody. In other words, she means that when the situation gets worse, people take care of others outside the family and help them survive the harsh conditions. This conversation is significant as it shows that individuals need help to form a healthy community.