Literapedia Book Notes for

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


  • Tom Joad (ch 2)— Protagonist of the story. A well intentioned and pragmatic young man who has been released from prison.
  • Jim Casy (ch 4)— A revival Protestant preacher and long-time friend of the Joads who has turned away from God because of his own lack of self control.
  • Muley Graves (ch 6)— Neighbor of the Joads, who has refused to leave his land despite his eviction.
  • Grandma (ch 8)— A comic and devout Protestant who falls ill and dies shortly after her husband.
  • Grandpa (ch 8)—Another comic character who often shoots invectives at those whom he is close to. He dies shortly after the trip to California begins.
  • Pa (ch 8) –Father of Tom Joad. An Oklahoma tenant farmer who is evicted from his land and forced to travel to California in search of opportunity.
  • Ma (ch 8)- Mother of six, Ma is the wife of a tenant farmer who is the sturdy rock of the family.
  • Noah Joad (ch 8) –The neglected and quite son of the Joads who leaves the family to take his chances fishing.
  • Al Joad (ch 8) – The eldest of the Joad sons after Tom, he is an intelligent albeit typical teenager. He marries Anges Wainwright near the novel’s conclusion.
  • Ruthie Joad (ch 8)- The youngest of the Joad daughters. She is very petulant and selfish and childish.
  • Winfield Joad (ch 8)- The youngest Joad son. He is 10 years old and acts like it. He is very close to Ruthie.
  • Rose of Sharon “Rosasharn”(ch 8)—The pregnant wife of Connie Rivers who travels with the Joads until the end. She is very impression, naïve and frightful. She is the eldest Joad daughter.
  • Connie Rivers(ch 8)—An ambitious and deluded husband of Rose of Sharon. He abandons his wife and the family early on.
  • Sairy Wilson (ch 13)-Wife of Ivy Wilson. A very compassionate couple that helps the Joads until they part ways.
  • Ivy Wilson (ch 13)-Husband of Sairy Wilson. A very compassionate couple that helps the Joads until they part ways.
  • Mae/Susy/Minnie (ch 15)- A middle aged waitress who works at a hamburger stand on the Highway. She grudgingly shows kindness to a poor family that chances by.
  • The Proprietor (ch 16)- A bitter and downtrodden mechanic with one eye that repairs the Joads’ vehicle.
  • Timothy Wallace (ch 22)- An outgoing friend that Tom makes at Weepatch camp.
  • Mr. Thomas (ch 22)- The beef-red boss of the ranch who is forced by the monstrous bank to hire agitators to shut down the camp.
  • Ezra Hurston (ch 24)--- Leader of the Central Committee at Weedpatch camp.
  • The Wainwrights (ch 28)- The family that lives with the Joads at the plantation.

Chapter Summaries

  1. The narrator describes the desolation left by the Dust Bowl in the Midwest focusing on the lives of farmers and their families.
  2. Tom Joad hitches a ride with a trucker after getting out from prison on parole.
  3. A turtle crosses the road…very symbolically.
  4. Tom meets Jim Casy on the way to his house, and they talk about life, religion, and the past. They then travel to the Joad farm to find it empty.
  5. The narrator talks of the inhuman monster and how it is pitting families against each other in the Midwest.
  6. Tom and Casy find Muley Graves around the empty house and he too talks about life and his refusal to leave his land. They share roasted rabbit before heading to Muley’s cave to avoid police.
  7. A salesman hawks cheap cars for the many displaced peoples heading to California.
  8. Tom and Casy meet up with the Joad “fambly” at his uncle’s house. They talk to Tom about prison. Casy says a very deist prayer at breakfast before everyone begins preparations to leave West.
  9. The narrator describes the pawning process which many farmers are subjected to in order to travel West.
  10. The Joads, Casy, and Connie get ready to depart to California. The family is forced to drug Grandpa to prevent nostalgia from getting the best of him.
  11. The narrator speaks of the severance of the hallowed bond between farmer and land.
  12. The narrator talks about life on Highway 66. To those on the exodus it is not a “free country.”
  13. The family stops at a service station. A dog is hit by a car and summarily buried. They meet the Wilsons with whom the begin traveling. Grandpa dies from a stroke and an illegal funeral is undertaken.
  14. The West becomes nervous at these beginnings of change.
  15. A waitress sells a family discounted break and candy. She gets a big two half dollar tip.
  16. The Wilson’s car breaks down. A one-eyed man fixes their car and tells his story.
  17. The narrator tells how this traveling creates communities which subsequently spawn societies
  18. The Joads arrive at California. Unloved Noah decides to fish. Prejudiced policemen force the Joads to move on, leaving the Wilsons behind. Ma tells of Grandma’s death.
  19. The narrator draws parallels between Californian history and Californian present as well as the relationship between foreigner and native.
  20. The group arrives in a Hooverille. Tom meets Floyd Knowles and they talk of social control. A brawl ensues following instigation by a contractor. Tom helps Floyd escape, but Casy voluntarily takes the blame to prevent Tom from getting finger printed. Connie leaves Rose of Sharon. Pa gets a drink.
  21. The narrator describes the groups of people against the dirty, ignorant, thieving, “degenerate sexual maniacs” known as Okies.
  22. The Joads entrench at Weedpatch camp. Timothy and Tom talk to the reddened Mr. Thomas. After a day of activities the Joads reunite at camp.
  23. “The migrant people looked humbly for pleasure on the roads.”
  24. A riot is averted at the camp dance. The offenders are let off in the spirit of fraternity.
  25. The narrator uses vineyards and orchards as a metaphor for the root of problems in society.
  26. Money runs out and the family plans to leave Weedpatch camp. The family gets work picking peaches for a nickel a box. Tom sneaks away from the orchard and reunites with Jim Casy. Police kill Casy. Tom goes into hiding for avenging Casy.
  27. The narrator tells of the plight of the cotton pickers.
  28. The Joads now live with the Wainwrights. Winfield/Ruthie accidentally blows Tom’s cover. Tom leaves, aspiring to the altruism of Casy. Al Joad plans to marry the Wainwright’s daughter, Agnes.
  29. The narrative describes a terrible deluge of antediluvian proportions.
  30. Rose of Sharon gives birth to a dead child. Pa tries unsuccessfully to construct a dam against the rising tide. The Joads leave their boxcar without Al. Rose of Sharon saves the life of a starving man in a barn.

Book Note Creater

Kiran Moghe 08