In "The Grapes of Wrath," what do the faces of the Joad family reveal about them?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ma's face is first described in chapter 8, and the reader is told that her eyes "...seemed to have experience all possible tragedy..." and proceeded to a "...high calm and a superhuman understanding." This tells tells the reader that Ma is very strong and hints that she will withstand all that is ahead of the Joads. Ma is, in fact, the epitome of strength.  Tom is described in bits and pieces through the story, but his face also shows strength and wisdom, though he is much quicker to anger. Ma, Tom, Pa, Uncle John, Granma and Grandpa all show, in their faces, the effects of hard lives and lots of hard work, especially work done outside in the sun and wind.  The result shows that these are people who are accustomed to hard work and welcome it. Rose of Sharon starts out with a look of innocence and inexperience in her eyes, but by the final page of the story, her eyes have gained a maturity and acceptance of the truth of the world in which she lives as she helps the dying man in the barn.  The children go from children who are tired from working hard to prepare for their upcoming journey from Oklahoma to California to children with both a tiredness from lack of food and a wildness that comes from anger and frustration, especially in Ruthie.

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The Grapes of Wrath

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