In recent years and during the time in which The Grapes of Wrath take place, family has played a large role in American life. During times of economic uncertainty, families depend on one another to get by, and we see that in The Grapes of Wrath. It's not just the Joads we see it in, but in every major decision that is made in the book, and in every character that we meet.
Through Muley Graves, the reader sees what happens when someone separates from the family. Muley just wonders about, and has no real meaning left. He claims to be watching over everyone's land, but the farmers are not going to head back when they have been pushed off their land. Muley tries to give himself purpose, and it is all in vain. Later on, Casy saves Tom's skin by taking the fault in beating a cop. When asked why he did it, Casy answers with, "Somebody got to take the blame. I got no kids. They'll jus' put me in jail, an' I ain't doin' nothin' but set aroun'." It comes off as a man who, yes is saving a friend more prison time, but also figures that he does not have a hell of a lot to live for. Had Casy had a family to worry about, this part of chapter twenty might have played out differently.
|The Joads (Grapes of Wrath movie) are a close knit-large family.|
As for the Joads, we see how everything they do is for family. Ma is the central figure, and tries to keep everyone together. When Tom suggest that the rest of the family should head into Bakersfield, and himself and Casy would meet up after they fix the truck, Ma pulls out a bar of iron, and threatens to beat anyone who doesn’t agree with her that they should all stick together. Ma hates to see the family fight, and hates the idea of being separated from the others. Her belief is that, in the end, all anyone ever has is family.
|Today's society tries to get back to old family values.|