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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Chapters 17-21 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What good thing happened when the migrants stopped for the night along the highway, and why?

2. What is the first warning of trouble the Joads receive when they arrive in California?

3. What attitude of the California residents does the cop at the river represent?

4. How does the man at the river echo the ragged man at the roadside camp?

5. Why did Ma keep Granma’s death a secret at the inspection station?

6. Why didn’t the migrants organize to obtain better working and living conditions?

7. What promise of better living did the young girl indicate to Ma was available at the government camps?

8. How does Casy explain taking the blame for Floyd and Tom after the fight with the deputy?

9. How did the California landowners react to the Okies?

10. What is Tom Joad’s reaction to his first encounters with the people of California?

1. They formed larger groups of families in temporary communities and established laws to preserve order and their rights because they were basically good, law-abiding people.

2. They are told they will be checked out by the police.

3. He tells them he doesn’t want them “settling down.” This is echoed later when the deputy tells them Okies were not wanted in the town.

4. He is returning to his home having been defeated by the miserable conditions in California.

5. She knew the family had to get across the desert that night, and like Casy, considered the needs of the living important.

6. Anybody who even talked about organizing was arrested as a troublemaker, as was Floyd Knowles for even questioning the motives of the labor contractor.

7. She said they were clean and had running water and toilets.

8. He said someone had to take the blame and he could handle it, but that Tom had broken parole and could be sent back to prison which would be trouble for Ma and Pa.

9. The landowners were frightened by the migrants and hired men to protect their interests and control the Okies.

10. He is aroused and starts to take action to fight back against their treatment of the Okies.

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Chapter 12-16 Questions and Answers


Chapters 22-26 Questions and Answers