Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Pa Joad

Pa Joad is the real brain behind the operation. He is the one who plans the journey west. He takes much time and consideration into mapping out the trip and planning how long it should take and pretty much everything about what they might be doing along the way. However, after so many hours of working on the trip, Pa finds the stress of the situation too much, and he relenquishes his control to his wife, Ma Joad. He works very hard to maintain his status in the family as leader and provider, but he inevitably fails because of "confusion" and because he finds himself in many U-turn thoughts and situations that also fail. However, Pa does not give up on his family. He still tries to provide for his family by keeping them under as much protection as possible and within his own limitations. It is very clear that he loves his family and wishes the best for them all at every moment, but he is simply unable to handle everything at once. In California, pa finds much difficulty in finding a job. When he finally realizes that he may not be able to serve his family in the ways he would like, he turns to despair and turmoil inside his thoughts and confusion. As a result, the poor man becomes less and less able to be the family's leader. Ma, after sitting back and watching for a while as her beloved husband goes down the tubes, tells Pa about her findings, and he reluctantly gives up his position as leader to Ma. Pa's breakdown comes out in full force near the end of the novel when he fails at keeping the family's shelter from flooding. Since Ma is now in charge, Pa goes into a "shell" and lets Ma take over every part of his master plan. His shell also hides him from his own faults, and he begins following Ma like another one of the children.

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