How does ithe final chapter serve to wrap up the theme of the entire story?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lots of things happen in the last chapter of The Grapes of Wrath which are significant to the overall themes of the novel. 

  1. A flood displaces the Joads and others from their homes, just as another natural disaster prompted their initial move from Oklahoma.
  2. The children are exposed to aspects of life they shouldn't have to see at such a young age (and I'm not making the case that childbirth is ugly, of course, just that they would not normally have been observers of the process).
  3. People are willing to help but must, in the end, do what's best for their families.
  4. Working hard (as in building the levee to hold back the flood water) may end in futility.  Sometimes it's just not enough.
  5. The family is breaking up even further as Al and Aggie leave the Joad camp.
  6. There is death and sorrow in the form of Rose of Sharon's stillborn child.  More grieving for this family. 
  7. They leave and have nowhere to go.
  8. Leaving is hard, and they have to leave things behind when they go.
  9. BUT, there is hope.  Rose of Sharon is able to share a life-giving sustenance to one who is in need, and this scene(though a little off-putting to many young readers, for sure) offers us hope that this family will once again survive whatever struggles and obstacles are ahead of them.

You will undoubtedly find more as you begin looking for them, and I hope you will. 



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The Grapes of Wrath

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