The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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What happens during Ma's conversation with the storekeeper in chapter 26 in the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck?

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In chapter 26, the Joad family work hard enough collecting peaches to earn $1 credit, which they ask Ma to take to the store to buy some food. Tom says he wants "meat an' bread an' a big pot a coffee with sugar in."

Though the store is a only a "large shed of corrugated iron," the prices are much higher than those in town. The shopkeeper is selling "hamburg" meat for 20 cents a pound when in the high street it costs only 15 cents a pound. Ma mentions how expensive it is to the shopkeeper, but he just laughs in her face. At one point, knowing she has no choice but to spend her money there, he tells her he wouldn't want to eat the food in the store himself.

Ma scolds the man for making fun of her, observing that he only does so...

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