The story starts out by Tom Joad hitchhiking home after being released from the state prison. He’s finally on parole. He served four years of his seven year sentence. While walking, he catches a ride with a truck driver who takes him to his old house, on his family’s farm. While he walks the rest of the way from where the truck driver dropped him off, he meets Jim Casy, who is a preacher.
Jim explains to Tom, that’s he’s been away from home trying to figure out some important things in his mind, and now that he’s figured out all things are holy, he doesn’t need to be a preacher anymore, but just to live with the people because they are holy. As they walk down the driveway to Tom’s old house, they notice that there is no one there. Someone starts to approach them, and it’s Muley Graves, who let’s Tom know that his family are at his Uncle Jim’s. So Jim and Tom sleep in the fields that night and start the walk the next day to his Uncle’s house. Once they arrive, they find Tom’s family packing up and getting ready to go on a trip.
Tom’s father explains to him that the banks and large companies closed out all the small farmers, and now most of them are heading out to California where there is supposed to be work. When everyone was ready to leave Grampa Joad didn’t want to go, so they had to drug him to get him into the car to go on their way. When they stop to rest on the first night of the journey, Grampa Joad has a stroke and dies immediately. They bury Grampa along the way to California in a blanket some migrants gave them. The migrants were the Wilson’s, who car had broken down. The Joad family offered to help fix their car, and one it was fixed the two families began their trip together.
Once they reached California, Mrs. Wilson got really sick, so the Joad family gave the Wilson’s some money and food and continued on their way. During the whole trip out west, Granma Joad had been getting sicker and sicker, Ma Joad finally realizes that she’s dying. They had to start a long drive through the desert one night, and while they were driving Granma dies early into the night. A guard stops them during their trip and Ma Joad explains to the guard that they need to get to a doctor because Granma is very sick. The guard let’s them go, and Ma tells the family to drive on.
Once they make it safely across the desert, Ma tells the family that Granma is dead, so they must bury her as a poor person because they don’t have enough money for the funeral. They finally arrive at a place, even though dirty and disorderly, where plenty of migrants were living. But the men are unable to find work. The Joad’s pack up and leave when a contractor comes and asks if anyone wants work. The first person to ask what the pay was got arrested and was accused “red”. A fight started and the sheriff told the whole camp it’ll be burned.
The Joad’s are still unable to find work and soon they ran out of money and food, so they must look quickly. They soon hear of work in a peach orchard. Once they arrived they were escorted by a policeman and they immediately started picking peaches, so they could have something to eat that night. Tom wants to know what’s going on with all the yelling and screaming outside in the orchard late that night. So he sticks his head out to find his friend Jim, who was arrested awhile ago, Jim tells Tom about how they are striking because the owner of the peach orchard had cut their wages in half.
While they are talking some men come around looking for Jim, and once they found him they immediately killed him. Tom becomes extremely upset and kills one of the men. One of the Joad children goes about bragging on how Tom killed someone, and his mother finds him and tells him that he must leave. Tom is going to carry on with the work that Jim was doing, so he takes some money from Ma Joad and goes on his way. Rose of Sharon, the daughter of Ma and Pa Joad, goes into labor as soon as the rain sets in.
The baby is born, but it’s born dead. The place begins to floodand all the Joad’s must leave because the box car they are living in is beginning to fill with water. Carrying the children on their backs they wade through the water until they come to the highway, along the way they discover a man dying from starvation. The man’s son tells the Joad’s that the man hasn’t eaten in six days, but soon that problem is taken care of. I enjoyed reading The Grapes of Wrath.
It showed how determination can really get a family through times, no matter how tough they may be. Certain circumstances really help a family to bond and become more in sync with each other, and learn how to deal with hard times as well as good. Although it seemed the Joad’s may have had a tough time, what family doesn’t. In order to get the necessities of life, you must work, or find some way to get the money. It’s all very important.