The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath Chapter 5 Summary
- The landowners and their representatives have to kick tenant farmers off the land. (Tenant farmers are sharecropping families that work the land and give a cut of the profit that comes from the crops to the landowner).
- Because of the drought, the crops have been ruined, and the tenant farmers haven't been able to pay the landowners for the land.
- The landowners are going to grow cotton, a crop that will bleed the soil dry of any remaining moisture and nutrients. Then the landowners plan to sell the land to unsuspecting East-coasters who are hoping to move west.
- The farmers are devastated and can't understand why anyone would kick them off of the land they've been farming for generations.
- The landowners say the bank monster is hungry for money, and that the bank monster can make more money if it replaces an entire farming family with a single tractor. Yikes!
- Tractors invade the land, plowing the soil in preparation for the cotton crops.
- A tractor driver can make $3 a day (good money).
- The farmers recognize the tractor drivers. They are the sons of family friends. They wonder how anyone could betray a community by working for The Man.
- The tractor drivers say that they have to look out for their own best interests; they have to feed their own families.
- The landowners suggest that the tenant farmers move west to California, where there are tons of jobs and where it is always sunny.
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