The Grapes of Wrath Chapters 7 - 10 Summary

The used car salesmen are doing business at a brisk pace, because of all the people who are trying to move to California. They use every trick they can to get people to spend their last dime on an old broken down car or truck. The sad thing is most of the time they succeed in their efforts to swindle the car buyers. The Joads were one of the families who had to deal with these salesmen.

Tom and Jim Casy started out early the next day for the eight mile walk to Tom's Uncle John's home. Once there, Tom just stood by his father's truck until his father noticed him. The man was happy to see his son and even happier once he found out Tom had been paroled. The Joad family was leaving the next day for California. They bought a car and made it into a truck, sold all their belongings, and worked to make the money for the trip. Tom's mother was worried being in prison had made her son mad at the world. He assured her he was not mad and had accepted what had happened to him. Tom's grandparents were thrilled to have their grandson back. His brothers were, each in their own way, happy to see Tom again. Tom did not tell his parents he could not leave the state, instead he told them he would help drive the truck on the trip to California. Tom also found out his sister, Rosasharn, was married and expecting a baby. His other sister and brother were in town with their uncle selling some more goods to fund the trip.

Jim Casy told the family the story of how he felt lost as a preacher and so he went into the wilderness to try and understand God and the world. He was still trying to figure it all out, but he now knew he wanted to try and do good in the world.

The displaced farmers needed to sell as much of their belongings as they could in order to have money for the trip out west. They would sell their tools, horses, wagons, and anything else they had to junk dealers. They often did not receive the payments they expected to for their items. The families often had to leave behind treasured mementos, because the truck simply could not hold all the items they wanted to take with them. What was not sold or packed up was either buried or burned. The children had to leave behind their toys and treasures. In effect, their lives where wiped out, because they could not even bring with them pictures, to remind them of their past. These families felt bitter and defeated by the circumstances, which were thrust upon them by the land owners and the poor condition of the land.

The Joad family was one of these families which had to sell their belongings to a junk dealer. Even though they knew the horses and tools were worth much more, they only received eighteen dollars for all of it. The men came home disappointed by the outcome and felt they had been beaten by the junk dealer, because they did not know how to negotiate with him.

Ma Joad was skeptical about the move to California, while she wanted to believe the handbills that promised money and sunshine, she felt it was not quite right. She has a fear the life portrayed by the handbills was not real. Tom told her he talked to a guy from California, who told him the jobs were all taken and the camps the fruit pickers lived in were dirty. He also told Tom, the people who worked in the camps did not get enough food to eat and the pay was low. Ma Joad could hardly believe this was true, because the handbills said just the opposite and they wouldn't lie about the conditions in the handbills. Tom tried to reassure her and told her it would all work out for the family.

Grampa had dreams about living in a white house and eating grapes all the time. He wanted to work and feel useful again. He was not sure about taking Jim Casy with the family to California. He thought it could bring bad luck to the family, but he could also see a preacher being handy to have with them in case a funeral, marriage, or baptism needed to be performed. In the end Jim was allowed to come along with the family to California.

Tom at last saw his sisters Ruthie and Rosasharn along with his brother Winfield. Ruthie and Winfield were shy around their big brother, because they were small when he went away to prison. Rosasharn introduced her husband, Connie, to Tom. She also told him her baby was due in the winter, which meant it would be born in California. Rosasharn and Connie were accompanying the family to California, this meant thirteen people and one dog would be on the truck for the trip.

The family gathered and decided to butcher the pigs, pack their things, and load up the truck that night. They wanted to start their journey early the next morning. Tom had not told his parents he would be breaking his parole if he went to California. Alan, Tom's brother, had heard from someone in town this might be the case and he told his father. But, even though Pa said he would talk to Tom about it, he didn't.

At the last minute Grampa decided he was not going. So the family gave him some coffee laced with medicine which caused him to go to sleep and then they loaded him into the truck.

The Joad family is finally on their way to California looking for a better life. They are choosing to believe the handbills which promise a better life and are bitter about having to leave their farm.



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