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The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
Tom Joad Timeline and Summary
Yeehaw. Tom gets out of jail. A truck driver gives Tom a ride home. Tom meets Reverend Casy under a tree. Camping is fun, especially when you get to chill with Muley Graves and Reverend Casy in a riverbed. The Joads are happy to see Tom. During the first leg of the journey westward, Tom drives the family car. With his father, uncle, and brother's help, Tom digs his grandfather's grave. After giving a one-eyed mechanic some good advice, Tom fixes the Wilson's touring car. The campground owner is snarky, and Tom can't help but pick a wee fight with him. Time for swimming! Tom chills in the Colorado River with his family. Noah tells Tom he's going to leave the family, and Tom tries to convince him otherwise. Truck driving time! Tom takes the wheel again. Floyd Knowles gives Tom some good advice at the Hooverville camp. In back of the Joad tent at Hooverville, Tom and Casy chat about how grim things are. Just as the mean policeman is about to run after Floyd Knowles, Tom trips him. After messing with the law, Tom hides out in the willows. Time for the Joads to pack up and push out; Tom helps. Uncle John is missing, and Tom finds him drunk by a stream. Tom knocks him out, and carries him to the Joad truck. A group of ruffians stop the Joad truck from driving south and tell Tom to get out of town. As he turns the truck around, Tom sobs quietly. Tom drives the family to Weedpatch camp. The smell of delicious breakfast brings Tom, Timothy, and Wilkie Wallace together. After breakfast, Tom and the Wallaces venture out of the camp to find work. Mr. Wallace, a smalltime farmer, gives Tom work and tells him about the Farmer's Association, to boot. The Weedpatch dance committee recruits Tom to be a bouncer. Jule Vitela is Tom's co-bouncer, and the two hit it off. Three rabble-rousers infiltrate the Weedpatch dance like spies, and Tom helps kick them out. The Joads need to leave the camp in order to find work, so Tom says goodbye to Wilkie and Jule. The Joads' tire pops, and Tom and Al fix it like MacGyver. Tom drives the family to a peach farm. That very same day, Tom turns into a machine and picks, like, a million peaches. When they first arrived at the peach camp, Tom noticed people picketing outside of the gates – he wants answers. By scooting under some barbed wire, Tom sneaks out of the peach camp. Holy smokes, is that Reverend Casy? It is! Tom and Casy are reunited. Reverend Casy tells Tom stories of prison life. Something is rustling in the bushes outside of Casy's tent, and the men high tail it out of there. Someone throws a pick axe into Casy's head, knocking him dead. Tom strikes a man with the very same pick axe that has just killed Reverend Casy. Someone hits Tom's face, breaking his nose and tearing his cheek open. After swimming across a ditch, Tom sneaks back into the peach camp. With a throbbing face, Tom can't sleep. The next morning, while the rest of his Joads pick peaches, Tom hides out in the cabin with Rose of Sharon. The Joads sneak Tom out of the peach camp nestled between two mattresses. While the Joads live in an abandoned box car, Tom makes his home nearby in the woods. One night, Tom's mother brings him pork chops and tells him he is in danger of being caught. Tom tells his mother he wants to be like Reverend Casy and help organize people, help fight inequality. Tom says goodbye to his mother for good.