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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath


by John Steinbeck

Ma Joad Timeline and Summary

  • When Ma sees Tom for the first time in a long time, fireworks practically shoot out of her ears, she's so happy.
  • Cooking breakfast and salting pigs make for a busy day. Ma feeds the family before the journey westward.
  • The Joad truck is too overloaded, and so Ma Joad has to burn a lot of her possessions.
  • When Grampa won't get in the Joad truck, Ma drugs him by mixing his coffee with sleepytime cough medicine.
  • As Grampa grows more and more sick in the Wilson's tent, Ma takes care of him.
  • Sairy Wilson is nice to Ma Joad, and the two women form a bond.
  • Ma Joad prepares Grampa's dead body.
  • When Tom suggests that the family push on and leave him with the broken touring car, Ma has a hissy fit.
  • As Granma grows more and more sick, Ma Joad nurses her.
  • When a Jehovite woman clad in black comes to pray over Granma, Ma kicks her out of the Joad tent.
  • The rude policeman almost gets a skillet chucked at his head when Ma Joad kicks him out of her tent.
  • Ivy Wilson refuses to accept the Joad's food and money, but Ma Joad leaves it on the ground for him nonetheless.
  • Granma's health continues to decline, and Ma Joad nurses her in the back of the Joad truck.
  • Granma dies in Ma Joad's arms.
  • The border guard stops the Joads so that he can inspect the truck for fruit, but Ma Joad begs him to let them pass quickly.
  • When they can see the valley before them, Ma Joad tells the family that Granma Joad is dead and has been dead for a while.
  • When they reach Bakersfield, Ma Joad, Pa Joad, and Uncle John take Granma to the coroner's office.
  • As soon as they get to the Hooverville, Ma Joad cooks a stew for breakfast.
  • The morning after the Joads reach Weedpatch, Ma scrambles to get herself and her campsite prim and proper for the Ladies Committee.
  • Ma Joad watches the Weedpatch dance with Rose of Sharon.
  • With no jobs to be found, Ma Joad makes the executive decision that the family will leave Weedpatch in search of jobs.
  • After the men have earned a dollar picking peaches, Ma Joad buys groceries at the peach camp's grocery store.
  • With her groceries, Ma cooks hamburgers for the family.
  • The next morning, Ma picks peaches.
  • When Winfield eats too many peaches, Ma nurses him back to health by giving him some milk.
  • Now that they are living large on the salary of cotton pickers, Ma Joad cooks pork chops and potatoes for the family on her boxcar stove.
  • When Ruthie spills the Tom beans, Ma Joad visits Tom in the brush, brings him dinner, and tells him he has to run away.
  • Ma Joad says goodbye to Tom.
  • When Rose of Sharon catches a chill, Ma Joad takes good care of her.
  • With Mrs. Wainwright's help, Ma Joad delivers Rose of Sharon's stillborn baby.
  • The floodwaters continue to rise, and Ma Joad decides that the will go find higher and drier ground.
  • In the barn Ma Joad asks the boy for a blanket.
  • After exchanging a meaningful look with Rose of Sharon, Ma Joad ushers the Joads and the little boy out of the barn, leaving Rose of Sharon and the starving man alone.