The Gathering So far in The Grapes of Wrath, we have followed the journey of farmers and families who are migrating from the Midwest to the west. Here, they find a young boy kneeling over his father, who is slowly starving to death. Drunk at a dance, Tom got stabbed during a fight with another drunk man. Once the old man is asleep, the family loads him onto the truck and begins the long journey west. Tom sleeps in the open air outside the cave, but Casy says that he cannot sleep: his mind is too burdened with what the men have learned. The men will not tell Ezra Huston, chairman of the Central Committee, who paid them to cause trouble. It is the Saturday of the dance and the Central Committee is ready for the troublemakers.
Woman looks at it thata way. In the struggle, Tom takes a blow to the head, ending up with a broken nose. Here, wine symbolizes the blood that will come from his wrath. Livid, the displaced farmers yearn to fight back, but the banks are so faceless, impersonal, and inhuman that they cannot be fought against. Al Joad A sixteen year old boy.
The men find a river and go bathing. But not all classic Hollywood films fall into this abyss of clichés. Tom describes his constant acts of generosity, handing out candy to children or delivering a sack of meal to a neighbor, as if trying to make up for his one fatal instance of stinginess. Tom gives the old preacher a drink from his flask of liquor, and Casy tells Tom how he decided to stop preaching. The Joads are caught in a dangerous situation: they cannot escape the flooding because Rose of Sharon suddenly goes into labor.
Suddenly, torrential rains come, and the Joads are forced to stay in the boxcar as opposed to go to a hospital or find a midwife while Rose of Sharon gives birth. Tom urges him to pull himself together. The car starts to break down as the Joads leave, since Al has let the battery run down, but he fixes the problem and the Joads continue on their way. On the road, the car gets a flat tire. After feeding her family, she hands over the meager leftovers, which the children devour ravenously. The next morning, as the family gets ready to pick cotton, Rose of Sharon insists that she wants to work, too.
In chapter sixteen the Wilsons' car breaks down again, and Al and Tom repair it after buying the spare part cheaply from a one-eyed wrecking yard assistant who hates his boss. . Although he wishes to go alone, Ma Joad once again binds the Joad family together. But the musicians are playing and the square dance is proceeding as usual. Steinbeck, a naturalist, believed that people were the helpless victims of an indifferent environment. Ma Joad makes the significant observation at the grocery store that only the poor will help other impoverished people; the clerk at the grocery store will assist her, but the owners of the grocery store will exploit the workers by setting inflated prices. They are, instead, essays dealing with the larger significance of the situation in which the Joads find themselves.
Steinbeck follows this exchange with an interlude describing a turtle crossing the road, which serves as a metaphor for the struggles of the working class. On the road, they come across a cotton plantation in need of workers; there are abandoned boxcars nearby where the cotton pickers live. The other sixteen chapters, called interchapters, are not part of the narrative about the Joads. When the men reach the fields where they are to work, , the contractor, tells them that he is reducing wages from thirty to twenty-five cents per hour. Tom finds out that the leader of the labor force that is organizing the strike is Jim Casy.
The march served as a powerful demonstration. Preachers give fire-and-brimstone sermons about evil and sin, haranguing the people until they grovel on the ground, and conduct mass baptisms. From behind the counter, Al growls at Mae to give the man some bread, and she finally softens. The Joads reach the ranch at Pixley where they are to pick peaches for five cents a box; even the women and children can do the job. He tells her that he was spotted, and warns his family that they are breaking the strike: they are getting five cents a box only because of this and may get only half that amount once the strike is over. Tom investigates the mob from earlier in the day, sneaking past the guards around the perimeter.
The owners suggest they go to California, where there is work to be done. Pa Joad reveals that the family saw fruit-picking jobs advertised on handbills, and they are heading west to take advantage of these opportunities. The cast included , , , , , , and. Guards turn him away at the orchard gate, but Tom sneaks under the gate and starts down the road. Tom senses the man looking him over, noticing his clothes, and admits that he has just been released from prison. Tom flees and Casy willingly takes the blame for the fight; the preacher is arrested and taken into custody. Once the family arrives in the state, these rumors prove to be true, and their hardships continue.