Family Separation In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

1785 Words8 Pages
The Grapes of Wrath: Family Separation
The Dust Bowl migration in the United Stated was a historical period of time when families from the midwest would pack up everything they owned and head west to find work in the 1930’s. Along with taking everything they could, families would try to stick together. In John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck demonstrates the inevitable separation between families while migrating to the west. Some readers may argue that Steinbeck’s theme of The Grapes of Wrath was to unify families as they struggle to migrate west, but he mainly displays separation within families as their journey goes on. Families try to stick together as best as they can. Ma tries continually to keep the family united even under
…show more content…
“All we got is the family unbroke. Like a bunch a cows, when the lobos are ranging, stick all together. I ain’t scared while we’re all here, all that’s alive, but I ain’t gonna see us bust up. The Wilsons here is with us, an’ the preacher is with us. I can’t say nothin’ if they want to go, but I’m a-goin’ cat-wild with this here piece a bar-arn if my own folks busts up” (Steinbeck 231). Ma does not want the family to break no matter what. She is afraid of the people or obstacles that the remaining family members will suffer the consequences if the rest of the family is not present. “I’m a-prayin. You got to keep clear, Tom. The fambly’s breakin’ up. You got to keep clear” (Steinbeck 381). Ma needs Tom to keep his composure for the family’s sake. After the second fight with the deputy, Ma snaps. “‘Tom! They’s a whole lot I don’ un’erstan’. But goin’ away ain’t gonna ease us. It’s gonna bear us down.’ And she went on, ‘They was the time when we was on the lan’. They was a boundary to us then. Ol’ folks died off, an’ little fellas come, an’ we was always one thing- we was fambly-kinda whole and clear. An’ now we ain’t clear no more. I can’t get straight. They ain’t nothin’ keeps us clear’” (Steinbeck 536). Ma realizes that family is no longer a whole anymore. While migrating to California, the Joads face the inevitable reality of splitting up. The Joad family packed up everything they could to re-locate to the West, but they lost just more than their belongings, they lost each other. The Dust Bowl Migration had a negative impact on families who tried to find work in the

More about Family Separation In John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

Open Document