In the "Grapes of Wrath" what does Ma's burning of the old stationary box illustrate?

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In chapter 9, one of the interchapters, the narration asks: "  How can we live without our lives?  How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it."  Then in the next chapter, before the family sets off on the trip to California, Ma goes through things one last time and goes through the old box of stationery that also held some possessions such as clippings, photos, earrings, etc.  She lovingly went through the box, choosing just a few tiny items,...

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