Chapters 1-6 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What signs were the farm women and children watching the men for?

2. Why is the truck driver who gives Tom a ride nameless?

3. Why does the truck driver break the “No Riders” rule of his company?

4. How does the land turtle foreshadow events in the story?

5. What reason does Jim Casy give for no longer preaching?

6. How did the bankers’ agents explain foreclosing on mortgages and driving the farmers off of their land?

7. What reason does Muley Graves give for sharing his rabbits?

8. What does the presence of the cat and the condition of the Joad house tell Tom?

9. Why does the author have Tom tell about keeping to himself and not causing trouble in prison?

10. What is the motive for farmers such as Joe Davis’ son taking jobs bulldozing other farmers’ homes?

1. The women looked for signs that they had not given up, defeated by the conflict with nature, or that the men still had the spirit to go on. The women could be strong only as long as the men had hope, and the children were aware of this.

2. He is unimportant as an individual character, yet his symbolic representation of the struggle of one class against another is important.

3. He is lonely and wants someone to talk to, and he greatly resents the company policy.

4. The turtle...

(The entire section is 404 words.)

Chapters 7-11 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did the used car salesmen take advantage of the farmers?

2. What is Ma and Pa Joad’s first concern upon seeing Tom?

3. What is Ma’s second concern about Tom?

4. What makes Ma Joad the core and strength of the family?

5. How does Jim Casy’s behavior liken him to Jesus Christ?

6. Why did the farmers have to sell their tools and possessions for so little?

7. How do Ma and Tom feel about going to California just as the family is about to set off?

8. Why does Jim Casy ask to come along?

9. What does Ma do with the last few of her personal things, and why does she do it?

10. Why does Grampa change his mind about going to California?

1. They knew the farmers needed the cars and asked either high cash prices or high interest rates and sold anything they could get to operate through a variety of tricks, knowing they would not get complaints about the condition of the vehicles.

2. They are worried that Tom has broken out of jail, which would cause a problem for the family.

3. She is worried that jail may have made him “mean mad” like Pretty Boy Floyd and he will behave accordingly.

4. When she shows joy the family is happy. If she shows hurt they are sad. She is healer and arbiter and holds herself calm knowing that if she falters the...

(The entire section is 431 words.)

Chapter 12-16 Questions and Answers

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...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

Chapters 17-21 Questions and Answers

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.

Chapters 22-26 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why don’t the police and deputies harass the people in the Weedpatch camp?

2. What makes the farmer named Thomas lower the wages he has paid to the Wallaces?

3. How does the government camp differ from the “Hoover-villes”?

4. What things does the Saturday night dance tell about the character of the migrants?

5. What kind of men are the three who come to the dance to cause trouble?

6. How does the camp committee forestall the deputies who are poised to enter the camp the night of the dance?

7. Why do the Joads leave Weedpatch and move to the peach field?

8. What is Ma’s big disappointment the first day the family picks peaches?

9. Why were all the people shouting outside the fence?

10. Why is Jim Casy killed?

1. It is Federal government property that they can only enter with a warrant for a wanted criminal or to quell a riot.

2. The wages he pays are set, and dictated to him, by the Farmer’s Association and the bank which holds his mortgage.

3. It is clean and well-regulated and has facilities for decent living.

4. It shows they enjoy social life and music and, when organized and well led, they can deal with trouble efficiently.

5. They are themselves migrant workers who have been turned against their own kind of people because they are hungry.

6. They stop trouble before it can begin and remove the reason the deputies can use to enter and destroy the camp.

7. They can’t support themselves in Weedpatch and on their way to possible work they learn of a chance to earn desperately needed money before their gas runs out.

8. All the money the whole family made working hard that day did not buy enough food and they were still hungry.

9. They had gone on strike when the wages were cut in half and were protesting because new people were going in to do the work making their strike a failure.

10. He is trying to organize the migrant workers which is what the landowners fear most.

Chapters 27-30 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is the significance of the arguments over the weight of the cotton the migrants picked?

2. How do the Joads benefit from getting to the cotton field ahead of many others?

3. Do other conditions improve for the Joads when they get work picking cotton?

4. What makes it necessary for Tom to break away from the family?

5. Why is the 20 acres of cotton picked so quickly?

6. Why were the migrant women relieved when they saw the faces of the men after all the troubles?

7. What does Mr. Wainwright’s worry about Al and Aggie reveal about him and his way of life?

8. What do Rose of Sharon’s stillborn baby and Al and Aggie’s engagement symbolize?

9. What is a final crushing blow to the Joads’ dreams?

10. What does Rose of Sharon nursing the dying man symbolize?

1. Each side, bosses and migrants, thought the other was trying to cheat them.

2. They get a sturdier place to live than a tent and good neighbors to share it with.

3. Yes, they finally get enough money to eat more and better food and replace worn clothing.

4. Since he killed the deputy, he is a danger to the family, and Ruthie gives away the fact that he is wanted and nearby.

5. There are so many people seeking work, more migrants come to the small farm than are needed and no one gets enough work.

6. They saw the men were angry rather than defeated and would not break under the weight of the troubles.

7. He is trying to cling to his pride in never having shame brought on his family.

8. The baby symbolizes the stillborn dreams of all the Joads, while the engagement symbolizes the hope that some of them might yet be achieved.

9. The flood robs them of the simple home they have been able to create and the truck they will need to go on.

10. The sharing that people must do to help each other survive in a harsh world.