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The man who gives Tom a ride in his truck at the beginning of the novel says that he is not nosy, though he is inquisitive and curious. This man's job as a truck driver puts him in the "neutral middle" of the commercial conflict that drives the novel. He is not part of the farming industry that tractors the farmers off of their land and his is also not one of the farmers, forced to migrate west in search of a life.
The driver has social needs that he recognizes and fulfills and he is willing to help a fellow man within limits.
The one-eyed man is also willing to help, but he is not able to fulfill the social needs that he is so quick to discuss. This man is literally pathetic in the sense that he conveys pathos and seeks sympathy from Tom. The truck driver did not seek sympathy but, rather, wants to impress Tom.
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