Main Events


The Death of Grampa - After the Joad’s start their journey on the road to California, Grampa began to feel sick after being tricked onto coming along. Though he is full of wickedness and fire for an old man he lost his touch once off his own land. Grampa suffered “a good quick stroke” (138) in the first night the Joad’s were on the road. This event paints a picture to the audience that this journey will not be an easy one. This also shows the connection the farmers had made to their land, Grampa in this case was completely changed after being taken from it.

The Joad’s meet Floyd Knowles - After the Joad’s finally reach California they stay in a Hooverville camp where there are many other “Okies” trying to find work. Al and Tom meet Floyd Knowles who explains to the men that there’s going to be work up north but nothing around the parts they are in. As car pulls into the camp and a man steps out and tells the people he has work for them, Floyd causes a ruckus and speaks out against the contractor. This causes a deputy to get out of the car and attempt to arrest Floyd but Tom and Floyd fought the deputy and it ended with Casy taking the blame and going off to jail. This event could have cost Tom his freedom from jail because if he was found in another state the deputy would have seen he had broken parole. This also shows Casy’s good nature and his importance to the novel. He saved Tom from being taken away from his family and if that would have happened the family might not have survived. This event also shows how men who need help are willing to give it easily. Tom and Floyd barely knew each other but it did not stop them from doing risky things to protect one another.

Casy’s Death - After Tom and the rest of the Joad’s moved to work at a peach picking job, Tom wanders off and finds men protesting outside of the camp. He sees that the leader is his old friend Casy and he walks along with the men until two guards found them. Casy said “You fellas don’ know what you’re doin’. You’re helpin’ to starve kids.” (386) The big man swung a club and crushed Casy’s skull. Tom’s violent and passionate reflexes got to him as he grabbed the club and killed the man and while doing it he got hit in the nose. Tom’s aggression and feelings got the best of him as he snuck back into his tent and realized the consequences he must face. This event was important because it forced the Joad’s to move again from another job and also risk their lives to save Tom’s. This action of Tom also led to him having to eventually leave the family where he was a great leader and, along side his mother, a great person who held everyone together.

The Birth of Rose of Sharon’s child - The entire story Rose of Sharon worked hard to care for her child that was growing inside her. When the time had finally come to give birth the child did not survive. This child that did not survive shows much importance to the ending of the novel. It shows the hard times the family went through and it could symbolize a new start. The whole journey Rose of Sharon carried the baby, so this could possibly show the abandonment of those hard times and a new life ahead. Rose of Sharon also took part in an important moment after she finds safety in a farm house from the flood happening outside. She protects the live of a dying old man by feeding him as if he were her child which could show the promise of new life.

Important Expository Chapters


Chapter 19 - This chapter explains California’s past and how it was taken away by hungry Americans. This chapter shows how during the time of the novel the same thing is happening. The wealthy farmers defend their land and do not let any “Okies” get to it because they know how much they want it. These wealthy farmers are scared of the “Okies” because they know the three lessons of history:

“…The great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” (238)

Chapter 5 - The profits from tenant farming are not doing well enough so the landowners and banks must evict the farmers out of their land. The men who come to deliver the news often are faced with protesting and arguing from the farmers. This chapter explains how you cannot blame one set person for kicking the farmers off the land. What is taking the land is a monster that is inhuman and that shows importance by how the bank or monster has no sympathy for the tenant farmers, like the Joad’s.