The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, is a story about a familys epic Struggles of survival during the time of the depression. Tom, the eldest son of the Joad Family, finds himself in a unique when he must leave his home and head out to California with his family. As Tom and his family headed West on their journey, he found himself as the leader of the family after his grandpa had died and his father was not thinking straight. Throughout the journey, Tom and his mother took care of the family and did the best they could to maintain order in the family. Tom was a good, reasonable person.
Sure he had been locked in Prison for four years, but that was only because he got in a drunken fight and killed a man with a shovel. But Tom was only defending himself, he didnt mean to kill the man, but he did. In prison, Tom kept to himself and didnt talk much. He probably figured that was the only way he was going to get out of prison sooner. And his patience paid off, because he was released in four years, instead of seven. When Tom got home, he realized that nothing was left. All of the houses were torn down and everyone was gone. If Tom hadnt seen his old neighbor Muley, he might have never seen his family again.
After Muley had told Tom that his family was with his Uncle John, he set out to his Uncles house with his old friend, Casy. As soon as Toms mother saw him standing in the doorway, she was so happy that “Her head sank slowly to her side” and the fork she was holding in her hand hit the floor (Steinbeck 80). After Tom had re-acquainted himself with everyone in his family, they all sat down and had breakfast. After breakfast, they all discussed and planned their journey to California. After Tom and his family decided when they were leaving, Tom had to give it some serious thinking before he decided to leave.
Since he was out on parole, he could not leave the state, or else he would get sent back to jail for the remaining three years of his sentence. But, Tom realized that his family needed him with them, so he decided to go with them. Besides, Tom figured that if he just did not get into any trouble in California, he would be fine. Tom and his family left the next morning at daylight. “They took Highway 66, the main migrant road” across the country (Steinbeck 127). The trip was a long one, But Tom and his family managed to get there. Unfortunately, Toms family suffered many losses.
Toms grandpa died on the way to California, and Toms grandma died in California, but she wasnt able to see the mountains and great valleys of California. Noah, Toms brother, got left behind somewhere in the Mojave Desert because he just walked away down a river. Casy, made it to California, but he was taken into jail for hitting a cop at one of the Hoovervilles. Once Tom and his family found work, times were not that bad. But when they could not find any work, things got bad. So Tom and his family had to leave the first couple of places they stayed at because they needed food nd money.
Tom realized that his family needed someplace they could go to where they would be treated good and where they could be clean. He decided to take his family to one of the government camps that people had been talking about. So Tom took his family to a government camp and they lived pretty good, but only for a short while. At the government camp, life was good. There were bathrooms, showers, and places to wash clothes. Tom and his family lived for only a month. They would have stayed longer, but the family could not find work. So Tom and his family set off.
They had eard of some possible work not too far away. When they got to Hooper Ranch, the cops lined them up on the road and sent them in to the ranch. The work there wasnt so good. They were paid five cents for every box of peaches that they picked. Things would not have gotten so bad if Tom had not attacked a cop. But Tom only did it in self defense. Besides, the cop that he hurt had killed his old friend Casy, right in front of his face. Tom had met up with Casy the night that he hurt the cop. It turns out that Casy had gotten to Hooper Ranch before Tom and his family.
Casy said that when he arrived, hey were offering only two and a half cents per box of peaches. So, Casy and his new friends protested. Thats why the wage went up to five cents, because were needed to pick the peaches. But as soon as the cops stopped the protest, the wage was going back down to two and a half cents. Well after Tom had been beaten for what he did, he went back to his shelter and told his family what had happened. They all decided that they should leave immediately. But Tom hesitated. He knew that if they left, the cops would be looking for him. But Toms mother would not let him leave.
She pleaded him to stay and inally Tom agreed. He probably realized that he would be better off with his family for the time being. So the Joad family left Hooper Ranch and set off to someplace else. On the road, the Joad family found a place where there were many abandoned boxcars where they could live. They settled down there and began looking for a job. They found a job picking cotton, but that job soon was gone because of all the people that were picking. Tom on the other hand, was hiding. He had agreed with his mother to stay hidden at least until his wounds healed up.
Tom didnt like the idea, he still preferred going off omewhere in his own, but he agreed to stay. Toms secrecy was soon broken when his sister Ruthie had threatened a girl that her big brother would beat up the other girls brother. But also Ruthie also mentioned that he had already killed two men and was out hiding waiting to kill another. As soon as Mrs. Joad heard about this, she knew she had to tell her son to flee. Tom was not too happy about her offering him money to leave, but he knew it was for the best, so he took the money. After Mrs. Joad returned to the boxcars, it began to rain heavily and the cars became flooded.
The Joad family knew they ad to leave, so they did. The family found “A rain-blackened barn” that was just across the highway (Steinbeck 498). The family went there and received shelter from the heavy rain. In conclusion, Tom was a person who took responsibility for his actions. He took care of his family when they needed him the most, but in the end, he did what was best for the family, he left them. He knew that if he had stayed, he would have only been a burden to them because the cops would have been looking for him. Besides, he knew that he would have put his family in danger if he had stayed.