Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chapters 24 & 25

In chapter 24, we are introduced to Ezra Huston, the chairman, and Wille Eaton who is chairman of entertainment.  The two begin to discuss the rumors of a fight breaking out at the dance, and Ezra drills Willie on what he has done to prevent the fight. That would be adding twent more members to the committee and, "They're a-gonna be dancin' an' a-keepin' their eyes open an their ears open. First sign-any talk of argament, they close in tight."

We are also allowed into the dance itself. The reader is shown the camp division between the strict Christians who do not allow dancing and those who are just out to have a good time in spite of the uncertainty and chaos that is their world. It's the night of the fight that we are introduced to Jule Vitela who is half Cherokee. When Tom says, "They says you're half Injun. You look all Injun to me." we learn that Jule wish that was the case because he would have place to live.

In Chapter 24, the biggest themes would have to be keeping peace, taking time to enjoy yourself, and as we have seen in the past, that people will do anything to put a little food on the table. (The tractor driver from Chapter 5 and the three men starting the fight in this chapter.) An important passage for this chapter would have to be, "O.K. Don't tell. But looka here. Don't knife your own folks. We're tryin' to get along, havin' fun an' keepin' order. Don't tear all that down. Jes' think about it. You're jes' harmin' yourself."

Another important goes back first to Tom and Casy talking about sensing things. Right before Casy was arrested, Tom mentioned how he sensed something was about to go down. Now, at the very end of 24, we have Pa saying, " They's change a-comin'. I don't know what. Maybe we won't live to see her. But she's a-comin'. They's a res'lss feelin'. Fella can't figer nothin' out, he's so nervous." That has to be foreshadowing of what we will read in Chapter 26.

So, two questions for 24 would have to be 1) How bad off does one have to be to turn their backs on their own people? We've seen families in pretty bad shape in The Grapes of Wrath, but are they better off then the guys hired to start a fight at the dance. 2) What do you think the real reason is for the police wanting to run the migrants out of the government camp? Is it to protect what "belongs" to them, or because of the fear of communism and unions?

Chapter 25 is a short but strong chapter, and we're not introduced to named characters. We are, however, meeting the men behind the growth of fruit, and the creation of new fruits like nectarines and forty different types of plums. The reader is placed into a beautiful orchard, with the scents of budding blossoms float in the air, and the colors are vivid. And just as the reader is enjoying the image, and can almost smell cherry blossoms, we are ripped away into a world of rot. Because the fruit does not have a high price on them, the men refuse to work to pick the fruit. Since no one is there to pick them, the fruit all ripen, and then fall to the ground to rot and be food for insects.

The main theme, no doubt, has to be waste. Outside the orchards are people starving, and here you have people just letting these veggies and  fruits rot away because they do not want people to have something for free. A great example is in this passage: "The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by..." Skips down a few lines and we come to, "..and in the eyes of the hungry there is growing wrath." Two other themes would be failure since nothing was earned by the crops dying. It's kind of like the 1920s really. It did well, it looked good, and there was fun. And at the end of the decade, everything, literally, crashed. It failed.

Now questions for this chapter. 1) Why do you think the people running the orchards would rather see the crops fail then feed the starving? 2) Why won't the business men just raise the price so people will come and work?

1 comment:

  1. I would have to say that it remains uncertain that the guys hired to start that fight at the dance were worse off than the camp residents because although the residents on the camp had 'shelter,' they still had the same struggles as they did before; no money, no job to get money, funds and gas were also extremely low. I think that the 'hired men' can be compared to today's drug dealer; they really were not much worse of than anyone else, but they just wanted a way to make some fast money by benefiting from the residents' (would be) misfortune. I think the real reason that the police want the migrants gone so much is simply because of their positions of power, they can mess with them as much as they want, to any extremity they desire - even death...