Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chapters 23 & 24 (Morgan, Dan, Mark)

Chapters 23 & 24 deal a lot with assimilating into a new community. The migrants have gotten so into the routine of building up a community during the night and leaving in the morning that it's become very easy for them. They very eagerly share their folklore, music, and religious practices with each other.

Now in the Joads' case they have found a more permanent community. It's one that has it's own laws and keeps very good control of themselves and their residents. The cast involves Tom, Pa, Ma, Ruthie, Winfeld, Rose of Sharon, Al, and Floyd Knowles.

Chapter 23

The theme of Chapter 23 would have to be finding comfort in a community. Though if asked to break that theme down we would say they were: Comfort, Folklore, Music, and Religion.


What kind of effect does music have on the migrants, specifically on their mental well-being?

What kind of release does alcohol give the migrants in The Grapes of Wrath?

Passages in Chapter 23:

"And always, if he had a little money, a man could get drunk. The hard edges gone, and the warmth. Then there was no loneliness, for a man could people his brain with friends, and he could find his enemies and destroy them. Sitting in a ditch, the earth grew soft under him. Failures dulled and the future was no threat. And hunger did not skulk about, but the world was soft and easy, and a man could reach the place he started for. The stars came down wonderfully close and the sky was soft. Death was a friend, and sleep was death’s brother. The old times came back — dear and warm…And the stars down so close, and sadness and pleasure so close together, really the same thing. Like to stay drunk all the time. Who says it’s bad? Who dares to say it’s bad?" (Page 447)

"Beside an irrigation ditch a preacher labored and the people cried. And the preacher paced like a tiger, whipping the people with his voice, and they groveled and whined on the ground. He calculated them, gauged them, played on them, and when they were all squirming on the ground he stooped down and of his great strength he picked each one up in his arms and shouted, Take 'em, Christ! and threw each one in the water. And when they were all in, waist deep in the water, and looking with frightened eyes at the master, he knelt down on the bank and he prayed for them; and he prayed that all men and women might grovel and whine on the ground. Men and women, dripping, clothes sticking tight, watched; then gurgling and sloshing in their shoes they walked back to the camp; to the tents, and they talked softly in wonder:

We been saved, they said. We’re washed white as snow. We won't never sin again.

And the children, frightened and wet, whispered together:

We been saved. We won’t sin no more.
Wisht I knowed what all the sins was, so I could do 'em." (Page 451)

Chapter 24

The theme of chapter 24 is the process of assimilating into a new community and building ties with your neighbors. Or we also thought it could be: Protecting your community, subterfuge, corruption in the law, and organization.


How far would you go for the sake of the bonds between you and your community?

How could this chapter raise cries of Communism?

Passages in Chapter 24:

"Huston's head sank down for a moment, and then he said softly, "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. " (Page 470)

"Jule said, "These here dances done funny things. Our people got nohing, but jes' because they can ast their frien's to come here to dance, sets 'em up an' makes 'em proud. An' the folks respects 'em 'count of these here dances." (Page 464)

Comparison: They are still in a tough boat. Work is scarce and the pay is barely existant. They are in another community, albeit this one is organized.

Contrast: This community is effective. They share resources and protect their own. In the previous chapters most of the tent communities were temporary. That is not the case with this one, they are self-governed and are able to sustain themselves.


  1. I really like the question you guys had in chapter 23 on what effect does music have for all the migrants. makes you think cause music can have different effects for different people.

  2. This is a great layout of information for both chapters discussed in your post. A lot of helpful information and notes about these chapters, wonderful.

  3. I like both of your questions. The question about how far you would go to for the sake of the bonds between you and your community makes it personal and able to relate it to your own life.

  4. your question about the music really stuck out to me because music does play a part in EVERYBODYs liffe some how and helps them in different way, and to also help them cope with stress of life

  5. I like the passage about getting drunk. Escapes are good as long as you don't get lost in them.

  6. I liked Jules passage from chapter 24 as well. It spoke volumes to what these dances ment to the community.

  7. Well done you guys, excellent thoughts, themes and analysis. Very impressive. I agree 100% with you all as far as the themes and content of these chapters. These chapters are so key to the story and they give rise to a sense of encouragement for both the Joads and the reader of the book. Both of which are rather exciting. Thank you very much!

  8. Bringing everyone together at dances was a perfect way to unit every body.


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