Chapter 26

One month has gone by since the Joads arrived at the WeedPatch Camp. Except the five days Tom worked, there has been no other work.

 Ma steps in: “We got to do somepin.”  She adds: “I ain’t watchin’ this here fambly starve no more.”  Once again, Ma proves to be the strong one, the decision maker, the one who outrages them to keep them moving forward. Pa complains: “Seems like the man ain’t got no say no more. She’s just a heller. Come time we get settled down, I’m gonna smack her.” She replies: “Come that time, you can…”

 Ma still finds time for love and tenderness as she offers Rose of Sharon her gold earrings.

 Bartering her way out of the camp, ignoring her family’s cries of hunger as she saves money for gas, she pulls and pushes them to keep moving.

 On the road, they find work picking peaches, but fear starts to creep up when they arrive at the camp, with armed guards at the gate and in the compound, and angry strikers outside the gate.

 Wages are lowered from five cents for a full box to two cents and half, as hundreds of new hungry migrants arrive at the camp.

 During a night stroll outside the camp,Tom is briefly reunited with Casy. Casy tells Tom how he has come to understand prisoners: “What made ‘em bad was that they needed stuff. It’s need that makes all the trouble”. The reunion is short lived as Casy get struck and killed by a police officer. Tom strikes back and kills the officer. Back to the camp, wounded himself,  he tells Ma that he dos not want to cause them trouble and that he is leaving them. Ma insists that he stays with them, they need him to keep the family together. Ma hides Tom under a matress as they leave the camp.

 As they drive in the night, they see a sign “Cotton Pickers Wanted”. They stop and settle for the night, and Tom goes in hiding next by, until his wounds heal and he does not look suspicious any more.

Cotton Pickers Wanted