October 16, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath Part II: "That's 'cause you know better. They don't know any better."

Another week has flown by and we should all be half-way through The Grapes of Wrath now. Which means, since my last update, we've read chapters 11 through 18. This also means that spoilers are inevitable. And that my thoughts are all over the place. So proceed with caution.

I like to think of this part of the book as the "travelling caravan adventures", or "'em people's, they's a dyin'" chapters. Is this where Steinbeck starts picking people off? First, Granpa dies of a stroke. Then the dog dies a horrible death! Why, Steinbeck, WHY?

Photobucket

Then Noah goes all weird on us and decides to stay behind and live by the river. And Tom doesn't really try that hard to stop him.  Then Mr and Mrs Wilson stay behind when they reckon they can't continue on. And then, and THEN, Granma dies. Poor ol' Granpa and Granma. Never got to see what California had in store for them. But Tom reassures the family that "They was too old", and "They wouldn't of saw nothin' that's here."

But let's talk about Granma's death for a second. Granma dies sometime before the Joad's get to the Agricultural inspection which is shortly before they're at the California border. But Ma doesn't tell anyone that Granma is actually dead until after the Joad's get to California. Which means, she laid up on the mattress on top of the truck next to Granma's dead body for hours.

"The family looked at Ma with a little terror at her strength." 

Ma, she's a tough one all right - but we already knew that. Unfortunately, the nurse in me can't just read about something like this without thinking "but what about the mess and stench that would have been emitted from the last of the bodily fluids that would flush out of Granma's dead body?" And then I feel even worse for poor Ma.

And then we learn that Connie (I keep forgetting that Connie's a dude!) and Rose of Sharon "do it" in the back of the truck while poor Ma is laying up there with dead Granma. OH THE WRONGNESS. 

Photobucket

Ok, so this part of the book is full of death. The Joad's are down 3 people and a dog. And a rattlesnake was run over and I think a rabbit.

The in between chapters are growing on me. Dare I say I'm appreciating their existence? Even if I still have WTF moments while reading them. In the second paragraph of Chapter 15, there's a list of all the different signs hanging in the diner. The last one is IITYWYBAD. I think I stopped reading and spent like 20 minutes trying to come up with something that made sense: I intend to yell while you be all dining? If I take you way yonder, be a dear? I was too lazy to get out of bed to google it, but a quick google search now, informs me said acronym stands for 'If I tell you, will you buy another drink?'  Well, huh. Did anyone else know what this meant without googling it?

Moving on.

I feel like there's so much uncertainty and impending doom building up. The Joad's are naive and so hopeful that as soon as they get to California they will find jobs and have money all will be right. But there cannot be good things waiting for the Joad's in the second half of the book. The families they meet coming back from California already aren't a good sign. And the fact that thousands upon thousands of families are also hoping to fulfill their dreams in California can only mean that there will definitely not be plenty of jobs for everyone. But ignorance is bliss and maybe it's better that they just don't know any better.

"It don't take no nerve to do somepin when there ain't nothin' else you can do."





11 comments:

  1. I totally don't remember Connie and Rose of Sharon doing it. WHAT! She's 16! And pregnant! Ew!

    I'm glad you're liking the in between chapters now.

    Ma and Rose of Sharon make me so... angry and sad. They take on SO MUCH. I know it's no picnic for the men either, but while they're "figuring" and what not, it's the women who do the WORK, the dirty and backbreaking and thankless work... arg. I love that Steinbeck "gets" it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, EW! I'm just grateful that Steinbeck didn't describe in detail just how they "did it"!

      You're right - the women take on so much - physically AND emotionally! God, I hope nothing happens to Ma!

      Delete
  2. I think if the Joads KNEW what was going to happen to them, they just... wouldn't have been able to even start. So there's that. And I can't even DEAL with the Rosasharn-Connie sex thing. Because EW, you're on a truck with your entire family! Just control yourselves!

    Re: The Noah thing, I *thought* there was a little bit from inside his head that kind of explained why he stayed behind so it was less random, but it seems like I've kind of just made that up! Unless it comes later, in which case... Ignore that. But yeah, otherwise it is prettty random!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know...if they knew, then there'd be no story really...and it's not like they had TV and internet to tell them otherwise. They had to go with their guts and believe in their dreams!

      Delete
  3. I had no idea about IITYWYBAD, but there was a footnote in my edition.

    DUDE THE PANDA GIF. I am a fan.

    I kind of wish this book were about the Gold Rush instead of the Dust Bowl. Then it'd be more Old Westy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhh footnotes. My copy is oooold.

      There are SO MANY awesome panda gifs. It was hard to choose.

      Delete
  4. I had NO idea about that acronym. And I didn't bother to Google it so thank you for that.

    I wish the Joads would listen to all the families coming back from Cali going "Nope! Don't go there." I know, I know, that would make the story really lame but it sounds like nothing good can come of them completing their journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But what else would they do? I don't think they really have a choice. I though the same thing too... but I sort of see why they delude themselves... because what's the alternative?

      Delete
    2. Exactly, There's no alternative...or if there was, then there's no book. This is why I'm scared for what's to come...I don't think Cali is going to be the answer to their hopes and dreams, so THEN WHAT!? Where do they go from there?

      Delete
    3. I see why they're deluding themselves (and obviously if they don't go to Cali, no book) but a bunch of people are telling them that it's so awful out there they'd rather go back to their homes they don't have anymore, I wish there had at least been a moment where the family thought maybe we should try something different. Perhaps realizing then they don't have anywhere else to try and even if they did, it's probably too far for them to go. But still, something where they would consider what's being told to them instead of just continuing on, not paying any attention to the warnings.

      Delete