Uncertainty in The Grapes of Wrath
English 11 Paper for The Grapes of Wrath. Scored quite poorly if I remember for being off-topic.
As the Joads set out West they face many uncertainties. Farming is all that they have ever known; as farmers they never traveled far form the dusty fields of Oklahoma. However, when they are thrown off of their land they have no clue where to go or how they will make a living. The Joads and many of the other displaced farmers choose to try and find work in California. Grandpa states in Chapter 10 that he will fill his mouth with grapes when the family arrives in California. Others plan to live in a white house in the middle of orchard fields. However, they hear contradicting stories from other travelers that the authorities in California were turning people away. In addition, they meet other families who have the same handbill asking for 800 workers. They express uncertainty that California may not be as nice as the handbill promises. However they choose to jump head first into uncertainty.
As they drive along Route 66, the Joads also face uncertainty. They do not how long their money will last them. They also do not know if their car will break, so they listen closely to the noises it makes. Families are uncertain about where and when to buy replacement car parts; many of the service stations are charging extortionate prices for broken parts. The gas station attendant shares his own uncertainties with the future of his store as well as the future of the country. The death of the dog shows that any member of the party may be stuck dead at anytime. Death also strikes again later in the chapter, when Grandpa dies.
Ma deals with the uncertainty, when asked on page 158, by replying that she lives moment by moment. She does not try to plan ahead; instead she reacts to problems when they come up. This is both admirable and problematic. She does not state that she is worrying about her family or their future in California. However, not planning could be problematic if they run into trouble down the road. Ma is also scared for Tom’s future. Under the terms of Tom’s parole, Tom is not allowed to leave the state. However, be following his family to California, Tom is breaking the law. Tom and his family do not what trouble lies ahead for them as they travel into an uncertain world.