What do the last two lines of Chapter 19 in The Grapes of Wrath suggest?
The last two lines of Chapter 19 are,
"And the associations of owners knew that some day the praying would stop...And there's the end."
The lines suggest that when the poor and dispossessed farmers, who are desperate and praying for better conditions so that they can feed themselves and their children, stop praying for the things they need, it will be because they have reached the limits of their endurance, and instead of just praying, they will now act. Driven to action, they will be forceful, and by the strength of their numbers, strong, signalling the end of the dynastic social structure whereby the land is hoarded only by the wealthy few, the "associations of owners."
In Chapter 19, the author examines the historical basis of land ownership in California. He lists "three cries of history" which have been proven true repeatedly in the past -
- "When property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away.
- When a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need.
- Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed."
The author applies these proven facts from history to the situation in which the Joads are caught up; having been evicted from their land in Oklahoma, they have come to California, along with tens of thousands of others, in hopes of starting anew. Finding that large property owners are in possession of most of the land in California, they doggedly seek to provide for themselves and their families any way they can, but opportunities are slim to nonexistent, and they grow increasingly desperate. When their numbers and desperation get to be too much, the author foreshadows that they will join together, and take from the "associations of owners" that which they have been denied, but need for their very existence.