The Grapes of Wrath Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What would you say is Ma Joad's favorite saying or quote in The Grapes of Wrath?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The fact that we're all struggling to find an exact line Ma used over and over is indicative of what the posters above have already said--Ma is a "doer" not a talker.  Grandma, now she was a talker and had all kinds of quotable sayings.  In the meantime, Ma just put one foot in front of the other, sat next to her dead mother without saying a word, fed her son who was hiding in a drainage ditch...and did the next thing.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think Ma Joad's favorite saying, one by which she lives her life, is "We'll do what we got to do".

Ma is the basis of family strength, constantly looking for what needs to...

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mrerick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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abbybbyxoxo | Student

I think Ma Joad's favorite saying, one by which she lives her life, is "We'll do what we got to do".

Ma is the basis of family strength, constantly looking for what needs to be done for members of her family and others.  Whether it be cooking, cleaning, laying out a body for burial, delivering a baby, or filling the void when the men in the family falter, Ma consistently evaluates what needs to be done and does it. 

Ma actively expresses her outlook on life to Rose of Sharon in particular, attempting to instill in her the same values.  From the time the family begins their trek to California, Ma keeps Rose of Sharon from succumbing to self-pity and despair in times of extreme difficulty by directing her to focus on what needs to be done around her.  When Grampa dies she makes her skittish daughter keep busy peeling potatoes and watching the pots, and when Connie leaves she exhorts Rose of Sharon to endure, saying "You got to work...they's a lot of us here".  At the end of the story, it is evident that Ma has been successful in bestowing her philosophy of doing what needs to be done in Rose of Sharon, who, in agreeing to feed the starving man from her own breasts, tells him, "You got to".

what chapter is " We'll do what we got to do" in?

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abbybbyxoxo | Student

What chapter is " We'll do what we got to do" in?

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