Thomas the Tank Engine

| | Comments (3)

In Chapter 21 of The Grapes of Wrath the Joad family finds a camp to live at where people are nice and Tom goes out to find work.  A boy named Timothy helps him to find work with the man he works for named Thomas.  Now from how the story is going so far you think well this guy is going to be a jerk because everyone else in California has been so far. However, this guy is nice.  He had been paying thirty cents but since he had to go to a meeting the night before everyone has to pay at most twenty-five cents and he doesn't like it because he says "I've got good men.  They're worth thirty" (Steinbeck 402).  They continue to talk about the camp that they live in and about the dances that are about to happen this coming weekend.  Thomas says:

"Well, the Association don't like the government camps.  can't get a deputy in there.  The people make their own laws, I hear, and you can't arrest a man without a warrant.  Now if there was a big fight and maybe shooting - a bunch of deptuties could go in and clean out the camp."..."Don't you ever tell where you heard... There's going to be a fight in the camp Saturday night.  And there's goign to be deptuties ready to go in" (Steinbeck 404).

Thomas has been my favorite person since they got to California because he helped these boys/men.  He isn't a jerk Californian like the rest they have met.  He doesn't want them telling people who he heard the information from because he could lose his job but he seems to care about people and know that what the deputies are doing outside of government camps is not lawful, not right.  He tells them "I like you people" (Steinbeck 404).

If you were put in this situation being a Californian hiring people for work and you heard about a fight going to break out so the deptuties can get everyone out what would you do?  Do you think you would tell the men who were working for you or do you think you would be the usual jerks they have met along the way?

Personally, I think I would tell them the information that Thomas did because if I would hear a story about the Joads and how they lost people on their trip and how they're glad they finally met nice people I would feel bad and want to continue to help them since they seem like they having good luck here.


Steinbeck certainly does a good job of capturing what it must have felt like to make that long drive... we think of nothing of a drive across several states, since the highway system is in very good shape.

What do you think it is about this particular Californian that made him have a different opinion? Surely he's heard stories of hardship before... was it just a fluke, that he happened to like this particular story?

Chelsie Bitner said:

I think maybe he did happen to like this story about how they have never given up. I think them not giving up shows a lot about their character and how they will push for what they want.

Jennifer Prex said:

Part of it may be that he's just been around so many of the people in that particular camp that he knows what they're like--generally speaking. He wasn't blind to what was going on. His actions show that he didn't agree with how everything was being handled. He said that the men working for him were worth the original $30. He also warned the people about what was going to happen.

Chelsea, in answer to your question, I think I would have told them too.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.