The Grapes of Wrath Rose of Sharon 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.

In 'The Grapes of Wrath,' the character named Rose of Sharon has the special privilege of being the last person to speak in the book. While that quote is an exception, most of her quotes and comments are about one particular obsession she has. Read on to find out more.

In Her Own World

If you have ever known someone who was completely wrapped up in their own world, you will recognize some of Rose of Sharon's behavior and especially her comments. She is pregnant, and almost everything she does and says is about the pregnancy and the well-being of her unborn child.

Water for the Baby

The Grapes of Wrath follows the story of a family as they travel from Oklahoma to California. As they travel, they have to stop and refill their gas and water supplies. At one point they stop to refill their water and Rose of Sharon goes to the water hose with her husband Connie. She tells him '''I ain't very thirsty...but maybe I ought to drink.''' The narrator tells us that she and her husband both knew that she was talking about. They know that it doesn't really matter what she wants--she should drink because it will be good for the baby.

The Dog

Another quote that reveals Rose of Sharon's concern for her unborn child comes after the family dog is hit and killed by a truck on the highway. Instead of showing any remorse or pity for the dog, Rose of Sharon asks Ma and Connie if they think her witnessing the dog's death will hurt her unborn baby. When they tell her to calm down, she says '''But I felt it hurt. I felt it kinda jar when I yelled.''' Everyone assures her that the baby will be fine, but she remains preoccupied with this; she asks again if it will ''hurt the baby'' after Granpa dies of a stroke, and she wonders multiple times throughout the story if the baby is going to suffer because of the stress and sadness around her.


As the family travels towards California, they end up camping in tents during the night, usually joining a sort of camp community with groups of other people. When they arrive in California, it is a similar setup, with migrants camping together and helping one another as they look for work and try to get settled down. These communities sometimes have celebrations and dancing.

One day a woman shows up to Rose of Sharon's tent and tells her a story about how a pregnant girl went to the dance and engaged in ''clutch-an'-hug dancin.'' Because of this dirty dancing, the woman says, the girl had a miscarriage, which the woman refers to as ''dropping the baby.'' From this point on, Rose of Sharon becomes obsessed with the worry that she too will ''drop'' her baby. When Ma tries to get to the bottom of Rose of Sharon's concerns, she explains that the woman who visited '''says I'll drop the baby.''' She repeats this fear a few more times saying that if she dances she fears she will ''lose the baby.''

The Starving Man

Unfortunately, Rose of Sharon's baby is stillborn. She gives birth while there is a flood, and while the family is trying to take shelter, they discover a starving man in a barn nearby. The man is dying from starvation, and when Rose of Sharon sees the man, she kicks everyone out of the barn and takes her breast out to feed the man. He tries to resist, but she insists saying '''You got to.''' The man accepts her gift and Rose of Sharon smiles and holds the man's head. This simple quote from Rose of Sharon shows that she is capable of thinking about something other than her baby. She could have just as easily left the man and took care of herself, but she decided to feed him with her own body.

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