The Grapes of Wrath: The Role of Ma Joad

1252 Words6 Pages
Through the roughest times in life, we come across crises that reveal the true character in those around us. Those who are strong are divided from the weak and the followers divide from the leaders. In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath, author John Steinbeck presents the character Ma Joad who serves an important role as the rock that keeps the family together. The Joad family, apart from many families in Oklahoma, is forced to leave their homes in search of work and better opportunities; California not only leaves them in poverty but despair. But through it all Ma Joad is the leader of the family that exhibits selflessness in order to protect and secure her family. Ma Joad is the mother of the Joad family and the leader. Her features…show more content…
These many details contribute to her important role in the novel. Tom saw in her eyes a motherly instinct, the one who heals, and an influential person in their lives. “From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter. She had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess” (100). Ma Joad is the backbone of her family. She’s the seams that joins, connects, and holds everyone and everything together. “…seems to be the glue that holds this family together” (Hams 1). Through the journey to California, there are many struggles faced along the way but she retained her composure and remained calm just to appear strong for the family. “She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken” (100). The position Ma is in is not effortless. She puts in a great deal of effort to remain the rock of the family, even though she has lost her many possessions. Without her, there wouldn’t be a Joad family. “Ma Joad, the inner driving force of the Joad family, has always been considered Steinbeck’s foray into the ideals of feminism, of female control, a statement far beyond the standards of the time” (Sharpe 1). The members of the Joad family are very close knit because of Ma Joad’s role she has on all of them. Many family members of the Joad family have a great deal of influence on Ma, and Ma on them. The father of a family is usually sought
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