Grapes of Wrath Quotes

In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west.

And the women came out of the houses to stand beside the men—to feel whether this time the men would break.

The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.

I figgered, ‘Why do we got to hang it on God? Maybe,’ I figgered, ‘maybe it’s all men an’ all women we love; maybe that’s the Holy Sperit–the human sperit–the whole shebang.

How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him–he has known a fear beyond every other.

Before I knowed it, I was sayin’ out loud, ‘The hell with it! There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.

Once California belonged to Mexico and its land to Mexicans; and a horde of tattered feverish Americans poured in.

How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children?

Every day the tenant people would come, and the sheriff would drive them out.

And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away.

The women studied the men’s faces secretly, for the corn could go, as long as something else remained.

The slow overture began. The crescendo of the frantic prayer.

And the migrants streamed in on highway 66

The people in flight streamed out on 66, sometimes a family with a little gray dog on a leash, sometimes a single man on a bicycle staring down over the tires.

And all the time the crops so Godlike grew and stored energy and promised miracle.

Them people blowed their ol’ shows outa their heads.

But the dispossessed were not allowed to linger, not allowed to settle in the sterile waste.

But the truck men squatted down beside their trucks in the parking places, and the drivers and the wives and the up-country people filed quietly into the small and mournful waiting rooms.

And one day the monument will be gone, too; but the red earth will endure forever.

A broken worn black thread, too meager to use.

Can’t go on. Can’t go no further. Your people ain’t no good and you know it. I’m glad I’m jolted outa there before I got like that.

Seems like the gov’ment ain’t nobody but a lot of thievin’ fellas.

Some weeds grew, rank on rank, in the vacant lots where new houses would be.

Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love.

Farming became gambling for those who had nothing else to gamble.

Men did not leave families willingly, or at least they did not have the courage to tell their women and children what they must do.

But to a woman, a threshold may be the most important thing in the world.

Every moving thing lifted the dust into the air: a walking man lifted a thin layer as high as his waist, and a wagon lifted the dust as high as the fence tops, and an automobile boiled a cloud behind it.

Couldn’ get no work here an’ the gov’ment show know we’re starvin’ an’ move us like folks.

In the open the sun beat down on the plywood roofs till they were warmer than the air inside.

Seems like the good Lord ain’t watching us too closely.

He had removed himself from the possibility of success. Then the dry land would be explained and the water on the land and the deepness of the richness to the stranger.

For food,’ she said simply. ‘For food we hear ourselves made.

Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it.

The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in the bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it.

It ain’t the law. They can’t tell you, but they do it. Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold.

Why, Tom – us people will go on livin’ when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we’re the people that live. They ain’t gonna wipe us out.

It don’t make no difference, Tom continued. That’s what makes it ours – bein’ born on it, workin’ on it, dyin’ on it. That makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.

Here’s your badge. You’re a good citizen now.

It was a secret and profound triumph, so secret that the furious owners would never know it.

He learns through the passion of his mother, learns by his own passion.

Why do you look at me like that, Daddy?

Who can tell what a seed means?

Then suddenly Rose of Sharon’s eyes opened wide. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.

Granma buried her dead there, in number four.

I never had a son, but if I had a son and he wanted to pick cotton, I would say, ‘Son, go together some kind of deal. Do something else, son. Do some kind of work a white boy hasn’t can play now.’

When I’m feelin’ all nice an’ cosy,’ Tom said jeeringly, ‘I think of fellas up the road a piece that ain’t feelin’ all nice an’ cosy.

There’s too much animosity promoted in this world. We just do things which have no sense.

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