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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Mar 2017
    1. esus!" he said at last. "Hell musta popped here. There ain't nobody livin' there."

      Steinbeck once again painting a picture of how bad the dust bowl has affected these Oklahomans.

    2. "If I was still a preacher I'd say the arm of the Lord had struck. But now I don't know what happened. I been away. I didn't hear nothin'."

      Whereas earlier in life Casy would've attributed the current condition of the Joad estate on supernatural forces, nowadays Casy admits that he doesn't have the answer. Perhaps the best way to adapt a non-teleoloical mode of thinking is admitting ignorance, because there are simply things that people cannot know.

    1. Casy took the bottle and regarded it broodingly. "I ain't preachin' no more much. The sperit ain't in the people much no more

      That is most likely true. They probably believe God has abandoned them. Steinbeck wants the reader to know these people are just absolutely distraught.

    2. "I was a preacher," said the man seriously. "Reverend Jim Casy—was a Burning Busher. Used to howl out the name of Jesus to glory. And used to get an irrigation ditch so squirmin' full of repented sinners half of 'em like to drowned. But not no more," he sighed. "Jus Jim Casy now. Ain't got the call no more. Got a lot of sinful idears—but they seem kinda sensible."

      A preacher with sinful ideas? It wouldn't be the first time I've heard about it. So many times we paint church workers as saints, but they also have their issues.

    3. Joad had moved into the imperfect shade of the molting leaves before the man heard him coming, stopped his song, and turned his head. It was a long head, bony; tight of skin, and set on a neck as stringy and muscular as a celery stalk. His eyeballs were heavy and protruding; the lids stretched to cover them, and the lids were raw and red. His cheeks were brown and shiny and hairless and his mouth full—humorous or sensual. The nose, beaked and hard, stretched the skin so tightly that the bridge showed white. There was no perspiration on the face, not even on the tall pale forehead. It was an abnormally high forehead, lined with delicate blue veins at the temples. Fully half of the face was above the eyes. His stiff gray hair was mussed back from his brow as though he had combed it back with his fingers. For clothes he wore overalls and a blue shirt. A denim coat with brass buttons and a spotted brown hat creased like a pork pie lay on the ground beside him. Canvas sneakers, gray with dust, lay near by where they had fallen when they were kicked off.

      You wouldn't expect a preacher to be described like this, but the times were hard. Steinbeck really hits home with this, because typically preachers are always described saint-like and well groomed, but Casy is the opposite.

    4. "I says, 'Maybe it ain't a sin. Maybe it's just the way folks is. Maybe we been whippin' the hell out of ourselves for nothin'.

      The very essence of non-teleological thinking.

    5. An' some I'd baptize to bring 'em to. An' then—you know what I'd do? I'd take one of them girls out in the grass, an' I'd lay with her. Done it ever' time. Then I'd feel bad, an' I'd pray an' pray, but it didn't do no good. Come the next time, them an' me was full of the sperit, I'd do it again. I figgered there just wasn't no hope for me, an' I was a damned ol' hypocrite. But I didn't mean to be.

      Despite his piety Casy was human, all too human. In a non-teleological sense, Casy was doing the thing many people in his position would do. Thus, perhaps no man is able to resist temptation.

    6. I ain't so sure of a lot of things

      As Casy soon tells us, his decision to leave the church is based on his experiences.

    1. "Well, I get off there. Sure, I know you're wettin' your pants to know what I done. I ain't a guy to let you down." The high hum of the motor dulled and the song of the tires dropped in pitch. Joad got out his pint and took another short drink. The truck drifted to a stop where a dirt road opened at right angles to the highway. Joad got out and stood beside the cab window. The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke. Joad leaned toward the driver. "Homicide," he said quickly. "That's a big word—means I killed a guy. Seven years. I'm sprung in four for keepin' my nose clean."

      Tom knows that the truck driver is dying to know more about his past, and suspects he has been in prison. So Tom tells him straight up what he did. He had no intentions to keep the truth a secret. He did what he did, accepted it, and has somewhat come to peace with his own soul about it.

    2. "Like I was sayin'," he continued, "guy that drives a truck does screwy things. He got to. He'd go nuts just settin' here an' the road sneakin' under the wheels. Fella says once that truck skinners eats all the time—all the time in hamburger joints along the road."

      (Doesn't make me feel good about driving!) Right here the truck driver is being honest about his habits while on the road. He can't just be bored the whole time, so he has to make his own fun. It is what it is.

    3. The hiker looked down at the dusty yellow shoes. "Didn't have no other shoes," he said. "Guy got to wear 'em if he got no others."

      If you don't have a worse pair of shoes, you have to wear what you have. It is what it is. Sometimes I play basketball outdoors and have to wear my indoor shoes. I don't want to, but sometimes it's all you have.

    4. The driver, getting slowly into the truck, considered the parts of this answer. If he refused now, not only was he not a good guy, but he was forced to carry a sticker, was not allowed to have company. If he took in the hitch-hiker he was automatically a good guy and also he was not one whom any rich bastard could kick around. He knew he was being trapped, but he couldn't see a way out. And he wanted to be a good guy. He glanced again at the restaurant. "Scrunch down on the running board till we get around the bend," he said.

      Typically hitchhiking is frowned upon and dangerous. Picking someone up can be detrimental. By calling out the truck driver and making him feel like he is owned by someone. No one wants to feel as if they are property, so he agrees to give the ride.

    5. Why, I'm thinkin' of takin' one of them correspondence school courses. Mechanical engineering. It's easy. Just study a few easy lessons at home. I'm thinkin' of it. Then I won't drive no truck. Then I'll tell other guys to drive trucks."

      Perhaps not the best example, but this passage is non-teleological per say. The truck driver wants to take the courses in mechanical engineering as a way to strive for something greater and more purposeful. In short, the truck driver is pursuing the American Dream and is doing so rather blindly and faithfully.

    1. Then they asked, What'll we do? And the men replied, I don't know. But it was all right. The women knew it was all right, and the watching children knew it was all right. Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole.

      They had to accept their fate (being dying crops, dust storms, and many hardships ahead, but they did so knowing that things happen. They did not let it break them. Life is dynamic. You must roll with the punches.

    2. When June was half gone, the big clouds moved up out of Texas and the Gulf, high heavy clouds, rainheads. The men in the fields looked up at the clouds and sniffed at them and held wet fingers up to sense the wind. And the horses were nervous while the clouds were up. The rainheads dropped a little spattering and hurried on to some other country. Behind them the sky was pale again and the sun flared. In the dust there were drop craters where the rain had fallen, and there were clean splashes on the corn, and that was all.

      Rain clouds came, but no rain.. That's just the way it was.

    1. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so.

      Banks and bankers are driven by the unending pursuit of profits. Therefore, bankers care little about the welfare of the individual. Capital is a corrupting influence and as Steinbeck has already demonstrated, human nature is prone to corruption.

    2. The squatting tenant men nodded and wondered and drew figures in the dust, and yes, they knew, God knows. If the dust only wouldn't fly. If the top would only stay on the soil, it might not be so bad.

      If only things acted differently the world would be wholly alien. However, things are the way that they are and thus produce fixed outcomes and results.

    3. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank—or the Company—needs—wants—insists—must have—as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them.

      Non-teleological in that mankind can be manipulated based on sets of variables and this is simply the way it is. There are generally always two ways said set of variables can be manipulated.

    1. The wild oat head fell out and three of the spearhead seeds stuck in the ground. And as the turtle crawled on down the embankment, its shell dragged dirt over the seeds. The turtle entered a dust road and jerked itself along, drawing a wavy shallow trench in the dust with its shell. The old humorous eyes looked ahead, and the horny beak opened a little. His yellow toe nails slipped a fraction in the dust.

      The survival and perseverance of the turtle suggests that the force of nature is inherently stronger than man. Additionally, attempts by man to dethrone nature are thwarted as evidenced by this passage involving the car hitting the turtle. This is presented as merely the way things are by Steinbeck and ties into the ecological/biological layer present throughout the novel.

    1. Rose of Sharon loosened one side of the blanket and bared her breast. "You got to," she said. She squirmed closer and pulled his head close. "There!" she said. "There." Her hand moved behind his head and supported it. Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.

      Even though her baby didn't make it, she still has breast milk which is very nourishing and can aid this ailing man. Bad things happen. Her baby died, but she must learn to accept it and move on.

    2. "I think it's come," Ma said. "It's early."

      Steinbeck is showing the conditions in which these migrant workers give birth. To us it''s natural to give birth in a hospital, but these people were literally giving birth in a box car.

    3. Huddled under sheds, lying in wet hay, the hunger and the fear bred anger. Then boys went out, not to beg, but to steal; and men went out weakly, to try to steal.

      Desperation often leads to crime. We see this over and over again in novels, film, etc.

  3. Feb 2017
    1. The man put up his own tent as near to water as he could get; or if he had no tent, he went to the city dump and brought back cartons and built a house of corrugated paper.

      Conditions in the camps were terrible. Steinbeck does not try to hide that, but expose it.

    2. And while the Californians wanted many things, accumulation, social success, amusement, luxury, and a curious banking security, the new barbarians wanted only two things—land and food; and to them the two were one.

      He shines light on the motivation of migrants. TO LIVE. He keeps their motivation pretty straight forward, when some of the motivations of the land owners is shady.

    3. And then the dispossessed were drawn west—from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Carloads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless—restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do—to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut—anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land.

      Comparing them to ants really shows Steinbeck's non-teleological approach. The way they lived/worked is comparable to ants. This is a great description that helps give some clarity on just how bad their situation was.

    4. Then such a farmer really became a storekeeper, and kept a store. He paid the men, and sold them food, and took the money back. And after a while he did not pay the men at all, and saved bookkeeping. These farms gave food on credit. A man might work and feed himself and when the work was done, might find that he owed money to the company. And the owners not only did not work the farms any more, many of them had never seen the farms they owned.

      Steinbeck looks at the changing roles of the California land owners from farmers to storekeepers (managers). Often times they didn't know or care about the conditions that the workers faced.

    5. Then, with time, the squatters were no longer squatters, but owners; and their children grew up and had children on the land. And the hunger was gone from them, the feral hunger, the gnawing, tearing hunger for land, for water and earth and the good sky over it, for the green thrusting grass, for the swelling roots. They had these things so completely that they did not know about them any more. They had no more the stomach-tearing lust for a rich acre and a shining blade to plow it, for seed and a windmill beating its wings in the air. They arose in the dark no more to hear the sleepy birds' first chittering, and the morning wind around the house while they waited for the first light to go out to the dear acres. These things were lost, and crops were reckoned in dollars, and land was valued by principal plus interest, and crops were bought and sold before they were planted. Then crop failure, drought, and flood were no longer little deaths within life, but simple losses of money. And all their love was thinned with money, and all their fierceness dribbled away in interest until they were no longer farmers at all, but little shopkeepers of crops, little manufacturers who must sell before they can make. Then those farmers who were not good shopkeepers lost their land to good shopkeepers. No matter how clever, how loving a man might be with earth and growing things, he could not survive if he were not also a good shopkeeper. And as time went on, the business men had the farms, and the farms grew larger, but there were fewer of them.

      Steinbeck is taking a non-teleological approach at how these people came to be in their current condition. It is stating all the bad things: lack of motivation, then drought, then wanderers.

    1. And money that might have gone to wages went for gas, for guns, for agents and spies, for blacklists, for drilling

      I think this is telling, because while there is available currency that could be used to help the migrants, it is instead used to combat them. Nice reflection on the nature of the State, of power, and of State sponsored oppression. It simply is what it is--a function of the corrupting influence of power.

    2. And the defending people said, They bring disease, they're filthy. We can't have them in the schools. They're strangers. How'd you like to have your sister go out with one of 'em?

      A rather powerful comment made by Steinbeck which highlights the cruel, savage nature of the situation that many people are in during this time. This hatred and prejudice is a learned behavior, and it simply is what it is. The people who are unwelcoming of the Okies can't be blamed because they are simply following a now normalized mode of thinking.