The Grapes of Wrath Work 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.

What does the theme of work have to do with the book ''The Grapes of Wrath''? If you are looking for the answer to this question, look no further. In this lesson, we will take a look at some important quotes about work from ''The Grapes of Wrath.''


If you are reading The Grapes of Wrath, you have most likely picked up on how important the concept of work is to nearly all of the characters in the book. In fact, right from the beginning, we learn that the Joad family (along with other farmers) are being kicked off their farms. The reason for this is that they cannot produce enough crops for the owners to make an acceptable profit. While the farmers work hard, it is just not enough.

Grampa's Quotes

As the family prepares for their big trip to find good work, they share their hopes and dreams. Interestingly, the family does not focus on how easy life is going to be. They don't dream of sitting on the beach side drinking Mojitos. Instead, they dream about all the work they can do. Grampa comments, ''I sure will be glad to get out there. Got a feelin' it'll make a new fella outa me. Go right to work in the fruit.'' This comment shows us just how important work is to the Joad family, and especially to Grampa. He feels like getting to California and working is going to help him gain perspective and change how he thinks.

Just as important as Grampa's comment is the conversation that follows. After Grampa mentions how he wants to work, Ma says, ''He means it, too,' she said. 'Worked right up to three months ago, when he throwed his hip out the last time.'' Grampa responds by saying, ''Damn right.'' This exchange makes it clear that working until you can longer do so is something to be proud of. In Grampa's exchange, we learn that work is happiness, growth and pride.

Casy's Quote

Another important work quote from The Grapes of Wrath comes when Casy (the ex-preacher) asks the Joad family if he can come along on their exodus to California. Casy explains that he is going to head out no matter what. He tells them, ''I can't stay here no more. I got to go where the folks is goin'. I'll work in the fiel's, an' maybe I'll be happy.'' Once again, we see how work is shown as something that makes people happy. Casy thinks about working in the fields and how that is going to improve his life and his mood.

Ma Joad's Quote

Another important quote about work comes when Ma Joad is working on salting the pork for her family's road trip. While she is working, Casy comes up and tells her that he would like to help her with the pork. An interesting exchange follows when the narrator tells us that Ma Joad ''stopped her work then and inspected him oddly'' and then says, ''It's women's work.'' This comment reminds us that gender stereotypes existed during this time, but we also learn that Casy doesn't give much credence to this idea when he responds, ''It's all work.''

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account