The Grapes of Wrath Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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Where was Grampa buried in The Grapes of Wrath?

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Helen West eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Grampa dies as the Joad family travels to California in John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath'. On one of the family's stops, they meet the Wilson family. As Grampa exits the truck, Sairy Wilson invites Grampa to rest in the Wilsons' tent because is clear that he is very ill. He does not live long. Casy, the former preacher, and Siary Wilson believe he is having a stroke. When he dies, Casy tells Pa Joad that Grampa has died of "a good quick stroke."

The family has one hundred and fifty dollars, and they know the authorities will charge forty dollars for the undertaker if the death is reported. If they don't pay the fee, the county will bury Grampa as a pauper. "We never did have no paupers," Uncle John says.

After discussion, the family decides to bury Grampa themselves. He is buried at the place where he has died on Route 66, never making it all the way to California with the family. The group buries bottle that contains a note with Grampa's name so that no one will think he has been murdered if the body is eventually discovered.

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Derick Forte eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Grampa has a stroke when the family stops and joins with the Wilsons in Chapter 13. Sairy Wilson helps care for Grampa and Granma while they are suffering, thus the Joads and Wilson become like a family. While the Joads know that they should go into town and have Grampa buried properly, they also know that it will cost $40 just to have him buried, which is a lot of money for them. Instead, they decide to bury Grampa right near where they are camped on the side of the road along Route 66. They decide to leave a note with the body, in case someone happens to dig up his bones and think he may have been murdered. The family asks Preacher Casy to say a few words so the process feels more like a funeral than just a sad end to Grampa's life.

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