Illustration of the back a man in a hat and overalls looking towards the farmland

The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 12-16 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. How does Steinbeck compare what actions are considered to be business and what is considered to be thievery in Chapter 12?

2. Why does the gas station attendant resent the big company stations in town?

3. How do the Joads and Wilsons help each other?

4. For what three reasons do the Joads decide to bury Grampa themselves?

5. How does Chapter 14 herald the formation of a new society, with a new attitude among the migrants?

6. How do the people in this unit represent the “haves” and “have nots” in American society during the depression?

7. Why doesn’t Ma want the truck to go on ahead when the Wilsons’ car breaks down again?

8. What worries Jim Casy about so many people going west?

9. How is the one-eyed man in the auto parts lot like the truck driver who gave Tom a ride earlier in the story?

10. How does the ragged man’s warning coincide with Casy’s worry about the availability of work in California?

1. He says charging people more than a thing is worth is considered business while taking what is needed without paying for it is considered theft.

2. The big companies get customers who spend more, but his customers beg for gas or want to trade items he can’t use.

3. The Wilsons give hospitality and shelter, and help when Grampa dies, and in turn the Joads fix the Wilsons’ car.

4. They don’t have enough money for a funeral, they are too proud to have him given a pauper’s grave, and burying their own kin has been traditional for them.

5. It signals the change from “I” to “we” in dealing with problems and foreshadows a self-governing solidarity among the migrants.

6. The wealthy are pictured as either uncaring or willing to take advantage of the plight of the migrants while those of the working class, who are closer to the migrants economically, extend the help that is needed.

7. Ma’s greatest fear is having the family break apart, and she wants nothing done to separate them.

8. He is afraid there will not be enough jobs for them all and something awful will happen.

9. He is willing to break the rules set by the boss he dislikes and give help to people who need it.

10. He says that there is not enough work for all the people streaming west, employers pay wages that are not enough to live on, and conditions for the migrants are awful.

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