In Chapter 10 of Grapes of Wrath, what foreshadowing emerges from the conversation between Tom and Ma about California?John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 10 of The Grapes of Wrath after Tom has hitchhiked and walked many miles, he arrives home.  After a truck leaves, Tom sits on the doorstep and Ma talks with him.  She expresses her misgivings about California, saying "Tom, I hope things is all right in California."  Turning towards his mother, Tom looks at her doubtfully, asking her what has made her think that things are not all right.  Ma replies that the way that California is depicted is too nice, and this worries her because she has no faith:  "I ain't got faith.  I'm scared somepin ain't so nice about it."  To this remark, Tom replies that if she does not expect too much, she will not be disappointed.  Ma chuckles as she washes clothes.  However, Tom himself is concerned as he tells Ma that he has talked with a man from California who has told him the there are

"too many folks lookin' for work right there now.  And he says the folks that pick the fruit ive in dirty ol' camps an' don't hardly get enough to eat.  He says wages is low an' hard to get any."

With these words, "a shadow crossed her face."  However, she now tries to encourage Tom, saying that such a fancy handbill as was passed around would cost too much to be worth the printing if people were not needed.  Shaking his head,Tom hopefully says, "Maybe it's nice,like you says."

That Tom and Ma both vacillate in their expectations presages their disappointment when they arrive.

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The Grapes of Wrath

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