Connie Rivers in The Grapes of Wrath

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you would like to take a closer look at Connie Rivers from 'The Grapes of Wrath', check out this lesson. We will pinpoint some of the important moments involving Connie and examine just who he is.

That friend

Have you ever known someone whose identity was totally wrapped up in his or her girlfriend or boyfriend? Everything this person says and does seems to be connected to his or her significant other. If so, you will find quite a few similarities between that friend and Connie Rivers from The Grapes of Wrath.

Connie's Identity

The first time we are introduced to Connie, the narrator tells us that he is Rose of Sharon's ''nineteen year old husband.'' We don't know what he looks like, what he does for a living, or anything about him aside from his importance in relation to his wife. The narrator explains that Rose of Sharon is pregnant and that ''Connie was proud and fearful of Rose of Sharon.'' The narrator also tells us that Connie would often touch Rose of Sharon as a way to maintain his connection to her. Connie seems to worry that her growing connection to the baby would change their relationship. The narrator puts it clearly when he explains,''The world had drawn close around them, and they were in the center of it, or rather Rose of Sharon was in the center of it with Connie making a small orbit about her'

Connie's Appearance and Behavior

After we learn all about Connie and Rose of Sharon's relationship, the narrator works on expanding our image of him. The narrator explains, '' He was a sharp-faced, lean young man of a Texas strain, and his pale blue eyes were sometimes dangerous and sometimes kindly, and sometimes frightened.'' The narrator also explains that Connie worked hard and would be a good husband. He drank sometimes but not often enough to cause problems. He knew when to fight and did not brag. Overall, he seems like well-rounded fellow, but not one that seems to stand out.

Despite being described as reserved, Connie steps up when he knows he should. One way he does this is when he helps Rose of Sharon in and out of the truck. This is mentioned multiple times as the family makes its journey to California. Each time the family stops, Connie helps Rose of Sharon down and out of the truck. Each time the family leaves again, he helps her back in. He also helps her with other small tasks like filing a cup of water from a hose in order to drink.

The narrator brings our attention to this multiple times throughout the book, saying ''Connie Rivers lifted the high tail-gate out of the truck and got down and helped Rose of Sharon to the ground.' We also read ''Connie helped Rose of Sharon gently down. '' Aside from theses clear and concise examples of helping Rose of Sharon, the narrator also provides us with more subtle insights into Connie's behavior. When Rose of Sharon is upset about the family dog being hit by car the narrator states ''Connie put his arm around her. 'Come set down,' he said. 'It wasn't nothin.'' The fact that Connie puts so much effort into caring for Rose of Sharon shows that Connie is not a a bad guy (even though he makes a very bad decision later in the book). Connie seems to care deeply for Rose of Sharon and for their future child.

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