We're Joads

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"We're Joads. We don't look up to nobody. Grampa's grampa, he fit in the Revolution. We was farm people till the debt. And then--them people. They done somepin to us. Ever' time they come seemed like they was a-whippin' me--all of us. An' in Needles, that police. He done somepin to me, made me feel mean. Made me feel ashamed. An' now I ain't ashamed. These folks is our folks--is our folks. An' that manager, he come an' set an' drank coffee, an' he says, 'Mrs. Joad' this, an' 'Mrs. Joad' that--an' 'How you getting' on, Mrs. Joad?'" She stopped and sighed. "Why, I feel like people again."

This quote explains Ma's feelings towards life on the road.  Life on the road has changed her, and the whole family for that matter.  Enduring the hostility the family took from the policemen and the landowners made her mean and cold.  When she says "Why, I feel like people again." This is because in Weedpatch the people are kind.  Since they had left Oklahoma, they ran into rude people, but in Weedpatch, the people were kind and treated them like kindly and how they should be treated.  Ma's words help connect the world and how it is important to have fellowship among the migrants.  No matter how difficult one's problems are, they should never have to endure them alone.

Steinbeck uses the importance of self-respect and dignity as theme throughout the book. When the Joads or migrants are treated unfairly and are disrespected, it does not just hurt their feelings, but it can make them feel unhuman and unimportant.  The people will not lose theri dignity, as long as they can hold themselves back and not take the disrespect to heart. Near the end of the novel this is represented with the festering grapes of wrath.  The women observe their husbands and other male family members working hard and they know that they will always be strong "as long as fear can turn to wrath." Meaning any fears will make them and their families stronger.

The struggling families always need to stay strong and have no fear.  They are not alone in their struggles.  As long as they treat each other with respect and maintain their dignity they can be there for each other.  This can also show us that a family should stick together and succss will be achieved.


Rosalind Blair said:

You brought up a lot of good points in your reflection on this passage. It does always seem that people grow to feel better about themselved when surrounded by others who treat them with dignity and respect. I think that during this time period, people began to become focused only on themselves and their own families because it was such a struggle to survive. I think that Steinbeck is trying to show that even the personalities and interactions with others were affected by all the devestation.

bankruptcy said:

Your article is very touching in a sense that there are many broken families today struggling for there rights to survive.

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