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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Summary - Part I

In the beginning, there is this man, Tom Joad, who, after having spent the last four years of his life locked up in an Oklahoma state prison for a manslaughter conviction, is making his way back to his family's farm in Oklahoma. Along the way, he meets Jim Casy, an ex-preacher who has given up his true calling in search of spreading his own new beliefs. Jim joins Tom's travel back home, but when they arrive at the old farm, they find it, like the farms in the close vicinity, vacant and deserted. Muley Graves, an old resident of the town, happens upon the pair and explains to them all about how the family packed up and was "tractored" off the land. He tells them that most families, including his own, are moving to California in hopes of finding new and better work. The next morning, Tom and Jim go to Tom's uncle John's where Muley says the Joad family should be. Tom finds Ma and Pa Joad packing the family and getting ready to head out for California because they say some fliers for fruit-packing jobs out west. The journey to find work in California in the back of a rickety old truck is long and boring. Grampa Joad, after complaining bitterly that he does not want to leave his land, dies shortly after the family moves out. Hundreds of old, overused cars and trucks clog the lanes of Highway 66, and it seems everyone east of California is heading there in the same hopes of the Joads. On the road, the Joads meet Ivy and Sairy Wilson, a couple who have been plagued with car trouble their entire trip, and, being such an inviting family, the Joads offer the Wilsons to come along with them to continue their journey. The Wilsons accept the offering and abandon their useless car to join new friends in a great endeavor. However, near the border into California, Sairy Wilson falls ill and is unable to continue the journey, causing the devoted Ivy to stay behind as well.

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