Friday, October 10, 2014

Grapes of Wrath the third.

So, I haven't really gotten much farther in the Grapes of Wrath. But I have gotten farther. Let's talk about that.

So, at just over halfway, a lot has happened in what I've read since Monday. First of all, the grandpa died, which sucks. The Joad family has a makeshift funeral, and that's that. They also meet Ivy and Sairy Wilson, and after Grampa dies, the Wilsons join the Joads on their journey. It then moves into a chapter that I can assume is sort of about the Joads, but it's also talking about the reactions of the people in the west to the large amount of people moving in from across the country. It's rather interesting. From there, the author continues to shift focus away from the Joads and instead moves to a diner where there is a cook named Al and a waitress named Mae. This diner has been visited by families moving west, and Mae isn't a super huge fan of them. She prefers truckers that spend a lot of money. In the chapter, it just so happens that both truckers who spend a lot of money and some people moving west enter the diner. The truckers get there first, and Mae welcomes them. A man and his children arrive, asking if they can buy some bread. Initially, Mae says that they can't buy bread, the diner only sells sandwiches. Al tells her to be nice, and she ends up selling the man some bread and some candy for way under price. The man thanks her and leaves, and the truckers who saw her do this end up giving her an extra large tip.

And that's as far as I've gotten in the past four days. As usual, I can't stress enough how great this book is and how much I bastardize it in my summaries. If you're reading this, you should read it. Or, if you really really don't like reading(shame on you) you could always watch the movie.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Grapes of Wrath Part Deux

Still reading the grapes of wrath. There still haven't been many grapes, or a whole lot of wrath in the book.

I'll pick up right where I left off in my previous post about this book. Tom Joad and Rev. Casy arrived at the Joad family's current residence, the house of their Uncle John. When they arrive, Tom Joad the first is working out in his truck, and he does't recognize his son at first, but when he does he gets very excited. They surprise the rest of the family with Tom's return, and everyone seems relieved to know that Tom got parole and didn't bust out. It is at this point that the Joad family is introduced. It consists of Tom Joad(The father), Tommy Joad(The main character of the book), Ma Joad(Tom's wife), Grandpa(He's mean and senile), Granma(She's super religious and senile), Al Joad(He's a smart-aleck who's good with cars), Noah Joad(He's quiet and kind of weird), ROSE OF SHARON(Is pregnant, talked about in a creepy amount of detail by the author, oldest daughter of Tom and Ma Joad), Winfield Joad(Youngest Joad child), Ruthie Joad(Second youngest Joad child).

The Joads are preparing to leave for California when Tom and Casy arrive. It is interesting to see the structure of the family as they discuss their plans. The men make most of the decisions, and everyone in the family has some role to play. The entire process of how the Joads prepare is laid out in a few chapters. 

My new favorite character from the book is Al Joad. He is sixteen years old at the time the book takes place, and he's described as being a smart ass of the highest degree. While he may be sarcastic, Al still has a position is the family, and plays a role is their journey to California. Al is put in charge of acquiring a vehicle for the family to ride in, and it is then that the earlier chapter where we hear about used car sales methods connects to the Joad story. Al checks out the car for all the things listed in the chapter, such as cracked batteries and sawdust in the transmission. I've noticed that the author has done this a few times. He moves away from the Joad family for a chapter or two, but then connects what he talks about in this chapters to the Joads' story. Personally, I like this type of story telling. It's unique.

The author uses the thing I just talked about and describes the concerns of other families moving towards California, and tells about the problems they face. People usually aren't too happy to see people moving that direction, specifically when they're country bumpkins, which is usually what they are. It talks in detail about a family with just a trailer who get rides from other people, which I found very interesting. In the next chapter, the Joad family's experience moving towards California is talked about. The thing where people don't welcome those moving in that direction is used, and whilst at a rest stop, one of the family's dogs is hit by a car.

 I really want to place emphasis on how dumb I think the next part is. Rose of Sharon thinks that witnessing the death of the dog will harm her unborn baby. UNBORN BABY. UNBORN. Unborn babies can't see, Rose of Sharon. That's not how unborn babies work. Jeez.

Anyway, that's as far as I am in the book. At this point, I'm really loving it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Grapes of Wrath Part 1

So, I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Whoopdee freakin' doo. That's not sarcasm, it's a really awesome book so far. Before I start actually talking about the book, I have to share a story about my personal experience with it. It's short, don't worry. So, I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and they had no idea what it was about, and when I asked them if they knew what it was about, their response was, "Angry Grapes."

This is not what the book is about. Not in the slightest.

The book takes place after the great depression and during the dust bowl, from what I've gathered, and it centers on Tom Joad Jr. Mostly. Steinbeck(the author) will often take a whole chapter to talk about something else, like a turtle, or a used car salesman, or something like that. But the main character is Tom Joad. Now, Tom Joad isn't someone who most people would want to associate with, because he killed a man and went to prison for it. He got parole for good behavior, and decided to go home to his family, and that's where the story begins. He gets a ride with a truck driver and talks to him about life. Then he gets off the truck, and starts moving on foot. Then a turtle's movements are described in great detail. Then Joad picks up the turtle and puts it in his back, and continues on. In the time that Joad spent in prison, a lot changed in the place he lived. The bank, which is often referred to as "The Monster" in the book, has totally jacked up where Joad used to live, and the surrounding areas. They did this by kicking people out of their houses and fracturing their farmland to make "better" use of it. This part of the book really made me think, because I do believe that the monster is making an overall better use out of the land, but I feel bad for the families that are getting forced to leave their home and lose just about everything they own.

Joad continues on towards home, and meets a man named Reverend Casy, who is actually and ex-reverend, along the way. Casy is probably my favorite character from the book so far. He has some pretty good thoughts and views on things, and I find his old situation funny. He would get people so full of "the sperit" as he calls it, which was in reference to getting people riled up about God and whatnot, and he would end up getting it on with some woman who got over excited. Then he would feel bad about it. Then he would do it again later. Casy ended up questioning his religion, and that put him where he is in the story. Casy joins Joad and they keep heading towards Joad's home.

Before I move on in the story, I would like to talk about Tom Joad Jr. I have mixed feelings about him. The negative feelings I have towards him primarily stem from the fact that he is a country bumpkin, and I really don't like that kind of person. At all. Like, I'll go out of my way to avoid anyone who wears overalls and is missing teeth. But despite that, and despite the fact that he was in prison for murder, Joad is a very likable character. That's it really. He's kind, and seems to think of other people's happiness as much as his own, considering he picked up a turtle with the intent of giving it to his younger siblings as a pet. And he did that almost immediately after getting out of prison. To me, that's the sign of a righteous dude.

Joad and Casy eventually make it to the Joad residence, or what's left of it. It was one of the aforementioned places who had it's owners booted out and it's farmland tractored. So, it's kind of in shambles. Joad and Casy go into the house and see what's left of the inside, remembering some of the events that took place when the house was still in good condition. This included talking about how Joad family pig ate the neighbor's baby, and about Tom's badass grandpa who took a pillow from a guy while he was on vacation and never gave it back. After looking around, the two men see a resident of another nearby house, Muley Graves. The men talk, and Muley tells Joad and Casy what happened. They eat a dinner of freshly caught rabbits, and sleep outside.

The next chapter is one of the chapters that doesn't focus on the adventures of Tom Joad, but instead on a used car salesmen who describes how to swindle people who have lost their homes into buying terrible cars. A method for this was putting sawdust into old crappy transmissions so they wouldn't make noise. I hate to say it, but I feel like I would be a person pulling stuff like this if I were a character in this book.

At the point I'm at in the book right now, the men are moving towards where the Joad family is staying. During this chapter we find out that Joad's uncle John's wife died and he feels responsible, and he is a kind and generous man because of it.