Main Characters Analysis

Tom Joad

Pa and Ma Joad’s favorite son and the protagonist in The Grapes of Wrath, Tom is thoughtful and good natured. He also has an uncanny way of making do with the hand life deals him.

Although he committed murder and has been away from his family for four years, he does not dwell in regret. Rather, he lives in the present – which leads him to become a source of great vitality for the family.

A fierce protector and wise guide, Tom Joad exhibits morality throughout The Grapes of Wrath. This moral stance imbues him with resolve and strength. It is these traits that lead to him earning the respect of his family as well as of the workers he eventually organizes into different unions.

Ma Joad

The Grapes of Wrath portrays Ma as gladly and knowingly fulfilling her role as the foundation and strength of her family. She heals, arbitrates in arguments, and grows in her abilities with the development of the plot.

Pa Joad

In the novel, the author shows Pa Joad as a tenant farmer evicted from his Oklahoma farm. Good-hearted and plainspoken, he moves his family to California where his hopes of finding a job fail. To cope, he leans on Ma Joad – his wife – for leadership and length. In The Grapes of Wrath, he sometimes feels embarrassed of the weak position he has taken up in his family.

Jim Casy

Jim Casy gave up his preaching ministry because he believed every human experience is sanctified and holy. Used by the author as a moral voice, he articulates important themes throughout the novel. Among these is the unity of man and the people’s sanctity.

Casy, who is friends with Tom Joad, takes Tom’s place in prison for the fight between the California police and striking laborers. When he comes back into regular society, he determinedly organizes the migrant workers.

Rose of Sharon

The oldest among the Joad Daughters and Connie’s spouse, Rose is depicted as petulant, romantic, and impractical. She and Connie believe that they’ll be able to make a good life for themselves and their family once they move to California.

However, migrant life and its harsh realities soon disenchant Rose and get rid of these notions. As a direct result, she matures and gets something of her strong mother’s grace and indomitable spirit.

Grampa Joad

Tom’s grandfather and the first owner of the Joad farm, he is now infirm and old. Although he used to have a violent and cruel temper, his wickedness has been curtailed and sequestered to his tongue.

Still, he delights in shocking sinful talk and tormenting his wife. Even though he primarily serves to provide comical relief, he is still shown as possessing an actual and poignant connection to the farm – so much so that the family has to drag him away.

Granma Joad

Pious in her Christianity, Granma is bitter about Granpa. However, when she is widowed not long after the family leaves their farm, her health quickly deteriorates. She dies a little while after they all get to California.

Al Joad

Obsessed with girls and cars, Al is cocky and vain. However, his competency in mechanics is never in question. It is his expertise that eventually brings the Joads and the Wilsons over to California.

Secondary Characters

  1. Ivy and Sairy Wilson
  2. Connie
  3. Noah Joad
  4. Uncle John
  5. Ruthie Joad
  6. Winfield Joad
  7. Floyd Knowles
  8. Muley Graves
  9. Agnes Wainwright

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