When first released in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath, written by novelist John Steinbeck, created quite a stir among Americans still coping with the depression. It tells the story of the Joad family from the time of their eviction on their farm in Oklahoma, to their first winter in California. The novel is basically divided into three sections: their time in Oklahoma, their journey to a "better" life in California, and their time while in California. It also contains "inter-chapters" that don't focus mostly on the Joads, and rather the situation at hand for all "Okies" on their way to California.
The opening chapter describes the lives of farm owners dealing with the drought in Oklahoma along with a dust storm. "Men stood by their fences and looked at the ruined corn, drying fast now, only a little green showing through the film of dust. The men were silent and they did not move often (3)." In the following chapter, Tom Joad is hitchhiking in a truck, after just being released from McAlester, a state prison, for killing a man while in a drunken brawl. In chapter three, some symbolism is noticed in a turtle that has great difficulty crossing the highway, foreshadowing the journey in the next chapter. After meeting Jim Casy in chapter four, they finally reach the Joad farm that has been deserted and damaged. Next, they learn from Muley Graves, a neighbor, that Tom's family was evicted, so both Tom and Casy travel onwards to family relative, Uncle John's home, in hopes of catching up with Tom's family before their big move to California. Finally, Tom is reunited with his family for the first time in four years. The first person Tom sees is his Pa, who insists on surprising Ma with his arrival. Jim Casy hesitantly says grace during breakfast at the request of Tom's 'Granma'. After the meal with his 'Granpa', Noah (his brother) and his parents, Tom learns that his brother Al is out chasing girls, while his little sister, Rosasharn, is pregnant and ready to settle down with Connie, a neighboring boy).