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The Grapes of Wrath Ma Joad Quotes

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 are reading ''The Grapes of Wrath,'' you may have noticed that Ma has some pretty interesting comments about life. If you didn't catch them all, don't worry. In this lesson, we will take a look at three of her most memorable quotations.

No-Nonsense Gal

If you know someone who is a no-nonsense type of person, or if you yourself are like this, you will recognize Ma's personality. By looking at what Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath says during important moments, we can get a good feel for her personality.

Living Too Many Lives

In the beginning of the story, most of the farmers who live in Oklahoma are leaving because there is a drought. This means that they cannot grow crops or pay for their land. The land owners and banks have decided to take the farms back and kick the farmers out. Tom Joad's family heads out on a long road trip to California. On the way there, Al asks Ma if she is afraid that when they get to California that it is not going to be as nice as they hope. Ma admits that she is a little afraid but that she doesn't obsess over it because ''you can't do that. I can't do that. It's too much--livin' too many lives.'' In other words, worrying about the future would rob Ma of today, so she does not think about it too much.

Ma Tells Rose of Sharon to Stop Overreacting

As the road trip progresses, Ma continues to dole out useful and straightforward advice. When the family stops to get gas, their dog gets out to drink water and ends up being hit by a truck. When Rose of Sharon (Yes, that is really a character's name) sees the dog get hit and then die, she starts to worry about whether or not it harmed the baby she is pregnant with. Rose of Sharon asks Ma what she thinks, and Ma says '' 'F you go to greasin' yourself an' feelin' sorry, an' tuckin' yourself in a swalla's nest, it might. Rise up now, an' he'p me get Granma comf'table. Forget that baby for a minute. He'll take care a hisself.'' In other words, stop overreacting, Rose of Sharon. Your baby is going to be okay. This comment from Ma shows that she is kind (she wants Granma to be comfortable) but also does not feel the need to feed into other people's excessive worries. She is kind of like a yoga mom. Super Zen.

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