Chapter 16

 Hudson Super Six Engine

Looking at the picture, I wonder where the rod is.

What is a rod anyway?

As Al, Tom and Casy work together to fix the problem with the truck engine, it is hard to understand their dialog, when you are not mechanically inclined. But what a valuable skill they have, in their journey to California.

I wish my husband had that skill… (sigh).

Steinbeck’s keen sense of observation shows again in this chapter, as he describes characters the Joads meet on the road, like the employee in the junkyard :  “The one-eyed man watched them go, and then he went through the iron shed to his shack behind. It was dark inside. He felt his way to the mattress on the floor, and he stretched out and cried in his bed, and the cars whizzing by on the highway only strengthened the walls of his loneliness”.

The Joad family endures the harsh judgment of other men when they are called vagrants, goddamn bums. I like the way Tom stands his ground with the owner of the camp and Pa’s speech about their condition: “It’s dirt hard for folks to tear up an’ go. Folks like us that had our place. We ain’t shif’less. Till we got tractored off, we was people with a farm”.

I sense pride in people who are dealing with awful circumstances.

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Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. I thought that what Tom said to the one eyed man was inspiring and had hoped that the man might stop feeling sorry for himself and get on with his life. I wonder if he ever made the trip to California. Tom’s time spent in prison taught him many things, including how to work on cars, once again proving that everything happens for a reason.


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