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Making Hard Choices In The Grapes Of Wrath

917 words - 4 pages

Making Hard Choices in The Grapes of Wrath

In literature as in life, people often find that they must make difficult choices in order to survive.  The reasons behind their decisions and the results of their subsequent actions affect our opinion of them.  In the Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, the author portrayed situations where two main characters became involved.  The nature of their choices, the reasons behind their decisions, and the results that followed affected them greatly.  However, the choices that they made were surmounted successfully.  Ma Joad and Tom Joad are two strong characters who overcame laborious predicaments.  Their powerful characteristics helped to encourage those that were struggling. 

            In fact, one principal character who was involved in a difficult situation was Ma Joad.  She was a wife and mother whose only occupation in life was a housewife.  She lived in an unfair time period; women were forced to do almost everything that the man commanded.  However, Ma Joad was different.  Ever since the family traveled to California, she slowly began to take charge.  This was first seen when Tom, Ma’s son, suggested that the family continue driving while he and Casy, the preacher, stayed behind to fix the Wilson’s (a family the Joads met on their way to California) automobile.  Ma Joad was furious with this idea.  She brought out a jack handle and said, “ ‘You done this  ‘thout thinkin’ much.  What we got lef ‘in the world’?  Nothin’ but us.  Nothin’ but the folks…An’ now, right off, you wanna bust up the folks’ “ (Steinbeck 218).  Ma Joad “was the power.  She had taken control” (Steinbeck 218).  She did not want the family to separate at such a crucial time.  They needed to stick together no matter what the consequences were.  Another example of her leadership was when Ma made a decision without consulting the family.  As soon as she heard that there was a job in the north of California, she said, “ ‘We’re a-goin”…I don’ care what the pay is.  We’re a-goin” “ (Steinbeck 451).  Her husband’s reaction was, “ ‘Seems like times is changed.  Time was when a man said what we’d do.  Seems like women is tellin’ now’ “ (Steinbeck 453).  Ma chose to take command.  She wanted to motivate her family in every possible way.  She encouraged joy and survival.  She was patient in her unending labors and was determined to reduce fear in her family.  By doing this, she and her family were successfully able to overcome their hardships.  Consequently, Tom Joad was another main character who was involved in a tough dilemma.  He was sent to jail for four years for killing a man.  Now that he was paroled, Tom...

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