Study Guide

The Grapes of Wrath Chapter 15

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 15

  • All along Route 66 there are little rest stop diners.
  • These rest stop diners are usually run by people named Al, Susie, Will, Joe, Mae, or Minnie. (Not to generalize, or anything.)
  • This particular rest stop diner features a waitress named Mae, and a short order cook named Al.
  • Mae doesn't like it when the migrant worker families come in to eat, because they usually can't afford the food, and they usually beg for things. She also doesn't like the the snobby tourists who come by, and she refers to them as "s***heels." Mae prefers the truck drivers who are flirtatious and who have dough to spend.
  • As luck would have it, here come two such flirtatious, dough-spending truck drivers.
  • As Mae gets her flirt on, a father and two sons come into the diner. They look very ragged and poor.
  • The father asks Mae if he can buy a loaf of bread from her, but she says she doesn't sell loaves of bread, only sandwiches.
  • Al, the short order cook, tells Mae to be nice to the family and to sell them the loaf of bread.
  • Mae sells them the loaf for 10 cents, and then she also sells the man two pieces of candy for a penny. The two little boys look ravenously at the candy.
  • We learn that the candy actual costs a nickel a piece, but that Mae was being generous.
  • The truck drivers leave her a big tip, and good karma abounds.