The beginning of the chapter starts with a few chairmen of different committees, Ezra Houston of the central committee, and Willie Eaton of the entertainment committee, and other members of the camp talking about how some intruders are planning on causing a riot at the dance that evening and what they are trying to do to prevent it. The guys planning on starting the riot are a threat to the camp because if a riot breaks out, the cops can intervene and say that the camp is not in control, which gives them a right to shut it down. The chairmen have designated groups to check the people coming in and to be on the dance floor to prevent riots from happening. Meanwhile, the Joad family has just finished eating dinner and is getting ready for the dance. Ma checks over Ruthie and Winfield and sends them to the sanitary unit one more time to clean up, then they both procede to go watch the band with the rest of the children. Al adjusts his suit and finishes getting ready, then walks to where the dance is being held. On his way there he see's a pretty blonde girl and tries to get her to go with him by telling her that he can waltz. The girl's fat mother tells him to keep moving along because the girl is about to get married, and someone is coming to take her to the dance. Back at the tent, Tom tells Rose of Sharon how pretty she is looking lately, and how soon enough she will need a wheel barrow to get around because her belly is getting so big. Rose of Sharon worries about the dance and does not want to dance so Ma tells her that she will say she is sickly and not able to dance. At the dance the Jesus lovers are staying back and watching for sinning instead of having a good time like everyone else. Tom is on one of the committees to look out for the trouble makers. He is guarding the gate, looking over the people coming in with Jule Vitela. Jule sees three guys who look suspicious and tells Tom to follow them. Tom follows them to the dance and tells Willie about them. Willie discovers that the three guys were not invited and says to keep an eye on them. Not shortly after, the three guys start causing problems. The guys appointed by the committees to keep the dance safe usher them out of the camp. A cop car pulls out and the cop says that there's a riot and the police need to come in. The gate keepers won't let them in because there is not a riot, and the music can be clearly heard so nothing bad is happening. Back at the office, Pa and others talk about how change is coming and how they must protect themselves.
Chapter twenty-five is about how beautiful the California fruit looks at first, but then how it rots. It talks about how farmers spent so much time trying to make a good harvest, but then because poor conditions they do not have that good of a harvest. Prices drop on everything so you can't making a living selling your produce for such a low cost. Farms are shutting down and the crops are left to rot. To prevent people from stealing the crops they put kerosene on it, in a way of saying "if I can't have it, no one will." The farmers are greedy and because they won't allow anyone to have the crops that they aren't going to use, children are dying of starvation and malnutrition. The wine that comes from the grapes doesn't even taste like wine, it tastes like chemicals and alchohol because so many chemicals had to be used on the plants.
Three main themes:
the importance of entertainment during tough times
competition for work
Who do you think sent the trouble makers to the camp to start a riot?
Why do you think the cops did not enter the camp anyways when the gate keepers told them weren't allowed in without a warrant?
Two important passages:
"They'll git hungry men. You can't feed your fam'ly on twenty cents an hour, but you'll take anything. They fot you goin' an' comin'. They jes' auction a job off. Jesus Christ, pretty soon they're gonna make us pay to work."
"The decay spreads over the Statek, and the sweet smell is a great sorrow on the land. MEn who can graft the trees and make the seed fertile and big can find no way to let the hungry people eat their produce. Men who have created new fruits in the world have created a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the state like a great sorrow."
Compare and Contrast:
One theme that can be compared to the world today is the competition for work. Our unemployment numbers are high today, not as high as they were during the novel, but still very high. It is very hard to find a job and people are competing for even minimum wage jobs. Because of minimum wage, the workers are protected because they have to get paid a minimum amount for their work, so there won't be a competition among workers for who can work for the lowest amount because the lowest amount is set.
Chapter twenty-four is different from others in the book because it is one of the only times when you see the family actually having fun. It was tough times, and the Joad family was so poor that they did not have enough money to go out and have fun. The government camp provided a dance, kind of as a way to forget about all the hardships and enjoy everyone's company.