Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
How we cite our quotes:
[T]he boys and I would wear threadbare clothing washed to dishwater color; but always, the taxes and the mortgage would be paid up. (1.18)
The Logans aren't going for eco-conscious street cred here by wearing their clothes until they fall apart. It's actually out of necessity. Like the sharecropping families, the Logans are poor. As we find out, though, they are at least a tiny bit better off than most of the others, since they own their own land.
[A] tall, emaciated-looking boy popped suddenly from a forest trail and swung a thin arm around Stacey. It was T.J. Avery. His younger brother Claude emerged a moment later, smiling weakly as if it pained him to do so. Neither boy had on shoes, and their Sunday clothing, patched and worn, hung loosely upon their frail frames. The Avery family sharecropped on Granger land. (1.20)
The Averys are one of the poorest families in the area, and we find out later they have eight kids (four of them preschoolers). They obviously don't get enough food to eat (look at how skinny they are), and they do not have shoes (which you can imagine must be super difficult in the winter). Are we surprised that T.J. turned out the way he did?
"I got no cash money. Mr. Montier signs for me up at that Wallace store so's I can get my tools, my mule, my seed, my fertilizer, my food, and what few clothes I needs to keep my children from runnin' plumb naked." (4.252)
Mr. Turner exemplifies the poverty of the sharecroppers. Because he's so poor, he has to have his credit at the Wallace store backed by Mr. Montier to buy the things he needs to run his farm and keep his family going. This is pretty much the "company store" model. And if you've read The Grapes of Wrath, this will sound familiar.