In The Grapes of Wrath, what does the slot machine symbolize?
The slot machine symbolizes both the luck of the draw in society in who comes up lucky and who loses out, and those who take risks versus those who never take the chance. The Joads can be seen in both of these categories. Clearly, they have fallen on hard times. They are travelling in the hopes of work and survival. Yet, they also take a risk-literally gambling on the chance that leaving all they know will turn out all right in the end.