Chapter 28

The Joad family moved into a boxcar: “they made good houses, water-tight and draftless.” Two families can live in a car,  and the Joads share one with the Wainwrights.

Box Car 

 There is some work in the cotton fields, and Ma is able to buy the family some clothes and cook some of the food they like; pork chops, boiling beef, milk, and syrup. Ma even buys a box of Cracker Jack for the children: “Winfield and Ruthie worked so good in the fields!”.

 As children try to steal their treat, Ruthie threatens that her brother will kill their big brothers, that he “already kil’t two fellas”.

Ma thinks that her son is in danger again. As she brings food to Tom, hidden in bushes along the river, she gives him some money and asks him to go. She explains that people will talk, and it is becoming dangerous for him to stay. Tom knows already that his time has come.

 Tom has the time to think, all by himself, and like Casy told him, he tells Ma: “Well, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big on, an’ then,  it don’ matter. Then I’ll be around 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 the’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there”. Tom is following in Casy’s foot steps.

They simply say good-by and walk away.

 On her way back to the camp, Ma meets a cotton grower. He has twenty acres of cotton to pick. Ma says: “ We’ll be there in the mornin”.

 Life goes on at the camp, as Al announces the family that he wants to marry the Wainwrigh’s daughter, Aggie.

 Rose of Sharon insists on doing some cotton picking with them the next day. At the crack of dawn, they drive to the ranch, only to find the barnyard full of cars and people ready to start picking already. There will not be work for everyone, and work will not even last the entire day.

 “They raced at the picking, raced against time and cotton weight, raced against the rain and against each other, only so much cotton to pick, only so much money to be made”.

 After all the cotton is picked, they come back to the boxcar. Rain is pouring down and Rose of Sharon is shivering from the cold. The men gather wood for the fire and the famile huddles together around its warmth, listening to the rain.

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Published in: on March 7, 2010 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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