Chapter 18

The Joads’ flight from Oklahoma was a flight from drought and eviction. As they cross Arizona and California, their flight becomes a flight from the sun, from the dangers of the desert and from those you consider migrants indesirable.

 On the Road

The Joads, after several encounters with desillusioned migrants, come to the realization  that they might not be welcomed in California, as expressed by a Californian policeman “We don’t want goddam Oakies settling down”.

Noah decides to stay behind at Needles. The rest of the Joads decide to see California by themselves.

Grandma, weakened by the trip and the exhausting heat, holds on as long as she can but the desert will take her away. Ma, who want to reach the greener side of California, will keep her body next to her, all night, pass the inspection at the agricultural station, without a word to anyone. I wonder if I could have the same determination. For the family, she rationalizes her action: “We couldn’ stop in the desert. There was the young ones an’ Rosasharn’s baby. I tol’ her”…”She can be buried in a nice green place”…” She got to lay her head down in California”.


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