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The Grapes of Wrath Chapter 6 Summary

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.

In Chapter 6 of ''The Grapes of Wrath,'' Tom and Casy finally make it to Tom's house, but get a shock when they arrive. We also meet a new character, and Casy makes an important decision.

A Quick Recap

Chapter 6 takes us into Casy (the ex-preacher) and Tom's (the ex-prisoner) storyline. As a quick refresher, in Chapter 4 Tom and Casy meet and decide to head to Tom's house. Chapter 5 tells how the bank evicts the farmers because the tenant system isn't profitable enough anymore. Tom and Casy do not know that everyone has been evicted, so they are in for a surprise.

The Farm

When they get to the house, they find that it looks deserted and empty, and everything of value is gone. Casy comments, ''If I was still a preacher I'd say the arm of the Lord had struck.'' Unsure of what is going on, the two head inside the house to see if there is a letter, or any clues about where Tom's family is.

There is no furniture, the walls are sagging and there are very few signs of the family aside from a broken fork, an old photo and a shoe. When Tom sees that the gate for the pig sty is open, he says that either his parents moved away, or his mom is dead since she always made sure the pig gate was closed. When they get outside again, a cat walks over and sits near them. Tom tries to pet the cat, but it jumps up and moves out of reach.

A Cat and a Revelation

The cat's behavior makes Tom realize that everyone is gone. If there were neighbors, one of them would have taken the cat in, and it would be more friendly towards people. The fact that the cat is unfriendly suggests that there are no people around. Another clue in the mystery is that the nice, solid wood of the house, barn and window frames is still in tact. If there were neighbors around, they would have stripped it. As the men sit and ponder what's going on, they see someone in the distance.

Muley Comes By

The man is Tom's neighbor, Muley Graves. Tom asks him where his family is, and Muley responds by telling a long story, and talking about how Tom's dad should have written a letter. Finally, Muley tells them that Tom's family went to Tom's uncle's house to earn money picking cotton so that they can move to California to start over. Tom thinks his uncle's house is too far away to walk to so late in the day, so the three men decide to make camp. Muley happens to have a few rabbits he caught, so the men build a fire and have a rabbit roast. More importantly, the cat gets to eat the entrails of the rabbit.

As they eat together, Muley explains that since he lost his land, he has been wandering around the town visiting places that mean something to him. He visited the bush where he made love to a girl for the very first time. He also stopped in a barn where his father was gored to death by a bull. Muley also talks about how he felt when he was ordered off his land. He talks about the landowners who ''jus' cut 'em in two. Place where folks live is them folks. They ain't whole, out lonely on the road in a piled-up car. They ain't alive no more.'' As Muley explains, this event really changed his attitude and behavior.

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