I'm so embarrassingly behind that I ALMOST didn't even try to write this final post . . . but then a grown man suckled at a teenage girl's bosom. So . . . yeah.
I know some people have been concerned about how women are portrayed in this book, but . . . I'm more inclined to believe that the men get the short end of the gender-role stick in this one. The men are kind of powerless in this economic environment. They aren't even the sole providers anymore, now that women and children are taking to the fields to help bring in the pennies. And, at least in the Joad family, Ma is quite publicly running the show.
"'You get your stick, Pa,' she said. 'Times when they's food an' a place to set, then maybe you can use your stick an' keep your skin whole. But you ain't a-doin' your job, either a-thinkin' or a-workin'.'" (p. 388)I would prefer that use of a stick not be acceptable in ANY situation, but we'll take what we can get here.
What Pa DOES get to do is say all the things I'm thinking.
"Uncle John shook his head over his plate. 'Don't look like we're a-gonna get shet of this here. I bet it's my sin.'
'Oh, shut up!' Pa cried. 'We ain't got time for your sin now.'" (p. 433)
"Ma said softly, 'Pa, I got to talk to you. Ruthie tol' some kids how Tom's a-hidin'.God bless you, Pa.
'She tol'. Got in a fight an' tol'.'
'Why, the little bitch!'" (p. 456)
On a more serious note (because the REST of GoW is such a hoot), I kind of think Tom drowned? Because he was living in a bush . . . and then there was a lot of rain. Someone should probably look into that.
"Tom looked over at the wide-eyed children. They seldom blinked their eyes. It was as though they were afraid something might happen in the split second of darkness." (p. 441)
|AND THEY WERE RIGHT.|
OK . . . so the breast feeding. I GET what Steinbeck is going for here. Desperate times, desperate measures. People have to help each other. And it's kind of nice that Rose of Sharon gets a chance to redeem herself for being generally the most selfish person ever for the vast portion of this book.
But when I read this:
"Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously" (p. 502)all I can pictures is this: