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CHAPTER 25 :During the California spring, the weather is beautiful and the produce is bountiful. However, there is too much produce to pick and distribute without lowering the prices. So the big farms decide to leave mountains of fruit out to spoil. Smaller farmers cannot afford to keep up with the industrial farms’ techniques, and their debt increases.
Migrants drive to pick up discarded fruit, but men are dispatched to spray the fruit with kerosene and burn it. Children die of malnutrition while good food rots, all in order to inflate prices. “In the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
CHAPTER 26: The Joads are in poor shape after a month in the government camp. Winfield is very ill, and Tom has been the only man able to find work. Ma Joad insists that they leave the next morning. Pa is indignant that a woman is telling him what to do. Ma dares him to beat her impudence out of her, and Pa backs down, embarrassed.
Arriving at the peach-picking compound, the Joads drive past a police blockade and protesting groups of migrants. They discover that they’ll receive only five cents per box of peaches. After a day’s work, the family has taken in little more than a dollar.
Men with flashlights approach Casy and Tom. One of them swings a pick handle at Casy, striking him in the head and killing him. Tom seizes the pick and strikes the murderer in the head. Tom runs away, but takes a blow to the head as he escapes.
The family moves into a boxcar near a plantation. Tom sets up camp in a culvert nearby, and Ma plans to secretly bring him food.
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