by: Lauren, Frank, Devon
Summarizing the Characters
The characters in chapter 26, are for the most part predicable. However, there are a few surprises though-out this chapter. It starts with The Joad family just trying to make it by. Ma Joad quickly takes the roll of leader, as we have seen many times before. Ma Joad is pretty much the glue that keeps this family together. She is more than happy to be the leader of the family sense no one else
is stepping up to the plate. We are introduced to the owner of the peach farm. That offers them a job picking peaches. They quickly learn that the man wearing a heavy suit and jewelry was just as he seemed a scam and liar. Later in the chapter, Al goes off looking for girls. This is nothing new for the character of Al. Even in such hard times he is able to still act his teenage age and chase girls. We see Tom’s curious side. He starts to explore more into the trouble on the roadside. When tom gets an idea he has to finish it. That’s why it is no surprise that even after the guards turn Tom away he still finds a way in. We are introduced again to Jim Casy. He is now the workers’ leader. The police referred to him as a communist, although he is really more of a revolutionary. Casy in this chapter is killed fighting for a cause he believes in. This fits Casy’s character perfectly. Tom of course gets angry, which is a character attribute that is far too familiar for Tom. When his family sees him hurt, Ma Joad once again displaces her leader personality and forces him to stay out of the view of the public.
Analyzing and Critical Thinking
The three main themes that I have seen in this chapter are the overall themes that I have seen in the book - sacrifice, scams, and family. But these familiar themes have all gained strength and value as the book unfolds. There were some major sacrifices made in this chapter. We see that although the Joads have sought out nice shelter inside the government camp - opposed to how they were living before their arrival - they came to the realization that there was really no work in that area, so they made the decision to leave. We also see that when they do come across work in the north picking peaches, Tom finds himself (potentially) in trouble and on the run for killing a cop, so the family must once again pick up and move onward; hoping to find another job along the way. The scams and cut-throatting themes continued throughout this chapter as well, except we see this going on in a different light; we also see how the people get their repercussions (later on in chapter 27) in the cotton fields. Although we saw this aspect really commence when Tom met Timothy and Wilkie Wallace back in chapter 22, we really saw this theme unfold in chapter 26 when the Joads arrived at the Hooper Ranch (the peach farm). There was a rally in front of the ranch when they got there, but they never knew why - until Tom wandered off to find his friend, Jim Casy. Tom was informed that the ranch was luring people in for one rate of pay, then slashing that rate in half once the people were settled and working. We also see how the same company owned the little general store that Ma Joad shopped in during their short stay at the ranch, and how the store had jacked their prices up from what they should be, simply because they knew that they could charge extra for the convenience of not having to go into town and shop for basic necessities. It seems that no matter what hardships, trials, or tribulations arise that add to the family's turmoil and suffering - even on the verge of personal breakdown - the Joads always have stuck together. For example, Rose of Sharon has let that bible-thumper of a woman completely psych her out, and when she lashes out at the family using things that the woman said to her, no would turn on her. The kids Ruthie and Winfield have been good sports as well; even Al in his selfish tone and cocky swagger would not abandon his family. Although Tom is now in hiding; in trouble with the law - something that he promised Ma would not happen again - everyone is still pulling for him. Even though I strongly feel that if it was not for Ma Joad playing the role of the backbone, that everyone would have fallen apart. I am also toying with the idea that my previous thought is irrelevant due to the fact that - put simply - they are still together; still striving as a whole.
Here in chapter 26, which I have named ”The Move,” we are met with one of the Joads' biggest challenges yet. Through the book we have read the accounts of the Joad family across the country. Here in this chapter we are faced with yet another move – from the government run camp. This move I feel has been the hardest for the Joads, they knew that for the good of the family they had to do so.
Again in the chapter we are reading many of the same problems that has plagued the family, lack of money, lack of food, lack of work, ect. But we are met with a new challenge – not wanting to leave the comforts of the government camp.
We are privileged to a bonding moment in the chapter between Ma and Rose of Sharon, the scene in which Ma pierces her ears. Through the book we witness the kindness and the strength of Ma Joad, but here we see the first act of motherhood toward Rose of Sharon and Ma. Yet again we see the fear of living in a Hooverville. This fear will remain with the families during this time for many years.
We see later in this chapter how many people suffered, and had to, because there was no other work. The Joads are introduced to peach picking and the hardships which come along with the task. I feel that in this chapter, more than any other we see the struggles made by the large farmers and the farming association. How the migrant people were treated in the real world, here we are simply granted a look into the times of one family, the Joads.