Chapter 13: Human Condition and Solidarity

Along with Hemingway, Victor Hugo and Zola, Steinbeck is one of the great writers about the human condition, about ordinary folks’ joy, laughs, dreams, hopes, fears, pain, doubts, and silent wrath.  His insight on human condition is seen in the description of Pa’s face, forced to flee with the family, against his will: “The old eyes looked up at Ma in pain and bewilderment for a moment before the awareness receded again”. As I am reading, I too feel the old man’s despair.

His insight is seen in the description of the world where Rose (who is pregnant) and her husband live: “The world had drawn close around them, and they were in the center of it, with Connie making a small orbit about her. Everything they said was a kind of secret”.

After Grampa dies from a stroke, Casy, the ex-preacher, agrees to say few words at Granpa’s graveside. What I find interesting is how Casy wants to pray, not for the dead but for the lives of  all the people on the road:” This ol’ man jus’ lived an’ jus’ died out of it. I don’t know whether he was good or bad, but that don’t matter much…And if I was to pray, it’d be for the folks that don’t know which way to turn. Grampa here, he got the easy straight.” He will add:”An’ Grampa didn’ die tonight, he died the minute you took him off the place…He was that place”.

When the Joads meet the Wilsons, the Wilsons have a broken car and do not know what to do. They will devise a plan to lighten the load of the Hudson Super Six sedan,

by transferring some of it to a touring car like the one below. The Wilson’s car will take extra people and light loads and Al will keep the touring car running, as he does with the Hudson.

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: