The Grapes of Wrath Pa 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 picked up on Pa's sensitive but logical nature. If you did not notice, do not worry since we will cover this in this lesson,by looking at three of Pa's most revealing quotes.


You can tell a lot about a person by examining what they say. Characters in a book are no different. Tom Joad's dad, called ''Pa'' in The Grapes of Wrath, seems to always want to do the right thing. He encourages other characters and helps them see the harsh reality of different situations. Overall Pa is a pretty awesome guy.

Pa's Soft Spot

The basic plot of The Grapes of Wrath describes families leaving their homes during the dust bowl of the 1930s in search of work. People left everything behind because they could not take it all with them. They had to choose the things they valued most. When it comes time for the Joad family to decide what to bring, Pa says ''We got to take the dogs 'cause what'll we do else? Can't shoot a good dog, an' there ain't nobody to give 'em to.'' Today, any animal-lover would say ''Duh, of course you have to take the dog!''. But during the dust bowl people were literally starving to death, and this decision was not an easy one. Another mouth to feed was quite a sacrifice. The fact that Pa wants to take the dog shows his compassion and that he has a kind and sensitive heart.

Pa's Logical Side

In addition to Pa's caring nature, he also has a logical side. Just before the family heads off for sunny California, Granpa decides that he wants to stay behind. Everyone tries unsuccessfully to convince Granpa to come along. When Pa steps in, he simply says,'You can't, Granpa. This here lan' is goin' under the tractors. Who'd cook for you? How'd you live? You can't stay here. Why, with nobody to take care of you, you'd starve.'' Instead of getting angry and lashing out, Pa takes the time to convince Granpa that he is thinking irrationally, and convinces him to join the familiy on their travels with a few well-thought questions about why he cannot stay.

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