Ruthie Vinson Essay

906 words - 4 pages

The novel The Grapes of Wrath is set in the 1930’s, during the dust bowl. The book is centered on the Joad family traveling to California. Throughout the book the Joad family experiences many trials that take a toll on them. Around this time period women did not have many rights. John Steinbeck uses third person to portray women as powerless and reliant on men. This is shown by actions of the characters and the time period during which the story takes place.
Women in the book are silent observers, made to feel powerless. The book begins with families during the dust bowl and how “the women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole” ...view middle of the document...

Since Ruthie is a girl she is too afraid to say anything or do anything without someone by her side telling her it is okay for her to speak. Ruthie is younger than most and for her to feel like she has power, she finds someone younger to take under her wing. The other women in this novel are silenced just like Ruthie.
The women went about their normal routines keeping quiet. Later in the book “the worried women watched the families and cleaned up the evening dishes” (Steinbeck 452). This quote infers that the women did not get to relax and do what they wanted to, they had to do what the men needed them to do. The women are reliant on the men to instruct them on what do to, so they are silent and watch. Ma Joad, at this point in the story, is silently watching for the men to slip. Ma is worried and fears the worst in this situation. Occasionally the men in the Joad family listen to Ma’s opinion, but that is because she is trying to keep the family together.
The men in the Joad family are very bossy towards Ma and the women in the family. Tom says to his mom “I ain’t. You get to sleep” (Steinbeck 394). Men during this time think they are superior to women including their mothers. Tom was ordering his mother to go to sleep because she did not need to know why he was in so late. Ma then...

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