Grapes of Wrath Study Guide Questions
Unit 1 (Ch. 1-6)
1. What signs were the farm women and children watching the men for?
2. Why is the truck driver who gives Tom a ride nameless?
3. Why does the truck driver break the “No Riders” rule of his company?
4. How does the land turtle foreshadow events in the story?
5. What reason does Jim Casy give for no longer preaching?
6. How did the bankers’ agents explain foreclosing on the mortgages and driving the farmers off their
7. What reason does Muley Graves give for sharing his rabbits?
8. What does the presence of the cat and the condition of the Joad house tell Tom?
9. Why does the author have Tom tell about keeping to himself and not causing trouble in prison?
10. What is the motive for farmers such as Joe Davis’ son taking jobs bulldozing other farmers’ homes?
Unit 2 (Ch. 7-11)
1. How did the used car salesmen take advantage of the farmers?
2. What is Ma and Pa Joad’s first concern upon seeing Tom?
3. What is Ma’s second concern about Tom?
4. What makes Ma Joad the core and strength of the family?
5. How does Jim Casy’s behavior liken him to Jesus Christ?
6. Why did the farmers have to sell their tools and possessions for so little?
7. How do Ma and Tom feel about going to California just about the family is about to set off?
8. Why does Jim Casy ask to go along?
9. What does Ms do with the last few of her personal things, and why does she do it?
10. Why does Grampa change his mind about going to California?
Unit 3 (Ch. 12-16)
1. How does Steinbeck compare what actions are considered to be business and what is considered to be
thievery in Chapter 12?
2. Why does the gas station attendant resent the big company stations in town?
3. How do the Joads and Wilsons help each other?
4. For what three reasons do the Joads decide to bury Grampa themselves?
5. How does Chapter 14 herald the formation of a new society, with a new attitude among the migrants?
6. How do the people in this unit represent the “haves” and “have nots” in American society during the
7. Why doesn’t Ma want the truck to go on ahead when the Wilson’s car breaks down again?
8. What worries Jim Casy about so many people going west?
9. How is the one-eyed man in the auto parts lot like the truck driver who gave Tom a ride earlier in the
10. How does the ragged man’s warning coincide with Casy’s worry about the availability of work in
Unit 4 (Ch. 17-21)
1. What good thing happened when the migrants stopped for the night along the highway, and why?
2. What is the first warning of trouble the Joads receive when they arrive in California?
3. What attitude of the California residents does the cop at the river represent?
4. How does the man at the river echo the ragged man at the roadside camp?
5. Why did Ma keep Granma’s death a secret at the inspection station?
6. Why didn’t the migrants organize to obtain better working and living conditions?
7. What promise of better living did the young girl indicate to Ma was available at the government
8. How does Casy explain taking the blame for Floyd and Tom after the fight with the deputy?
9. How did the California landowners react to the Okies?
10. What is Tom Joad’s reaction to his first encounters with the people of California?
Unit 5 (Ch. 22-26)
1. Why don’t the police and deputies harass the people in the Weedpatch camp?
2. What makes the farmer named Thomas lower the wages he has paid to the Wallaces?
3. How does the government camp differ from the “Hoovervilles”?
4. What things does the Saturday night dance tell about the character of the migrants?
5. What kind of men are the three who come to the dance to cause trouble?
6. How does the camp committee forestall the deputies who are poised to enter the camp the night of the
7. Why do the Joads leave Weedpatch and move to the peach field?
8. What is Ma’s big disappointment the first day the family picks peaches?
9. Why were all the people shouting outside the fence?
10. Why is Jim Casy killed?
Unit 6 (Ch. 27-30)
1. What is the significance of the arguments over the weight of the cotton the migrants picked?
2. How do the Joads benefit from getting to the cotton field ahead of many others?
3. Do other conditions improve for the Joads when they get work picking cotton?
4. What makes it necessary for Tom to break away from the family?
5. Why is the 20 acres of cotton picked so quickly?
6. Why were the migrant women relieved when they saw the faces of the men after all the troubles?
7. What does Mr. Wainwright’s worry about Al and Aggie reveal about him and his way of life?
8. What do Rose of Sharon’s stillborn baby and Al and Aggie’s engagement symbolize?
9. What is the final crushing blow to the Joad’s dreams?
10. What doe Rose of Sharon nursing the dying man symbolize?