Study Guide

The Grapes of Wrath Chapter 28

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 28

  • The Joads settle in one end of a boxcar, and it is super comfy.
  • Money starts rolling in from the cotton picking, and the Joads get to buy things like overalls and pork chops. They are living large.
  • A bully steals Ruthie's Cracker Jack from her, and Ruthie gets into a fight with said bully. She tells her that her brother Tom can kill her brother, because he's already killed two men. In other words, Ruthie spills the Tom beans.
  • When Ma realizes that the Tom beans have been spilt, she goes in search of Tom, bringing him some pork chops and potatoes.
  • Ma and Tom hang out in his palace of bushes. Tom tells her he's been doing a lot of thinking about Reverend Casy. Tom wants to help organize the migrant workers. He wants to try to bring justice to the starving hordes of people in California.
  • Ma and Tom say goodbye.
  • On her way back to camp, Ma encounters a man who tells her that a small cotton farm down the road will need pickers the next morning. Ma tells him she and her family will be there bright and early.
  • Ma returns to the boxcar, and guess what? Al and Aggie Wainwright (the daughter of the family who lives in the other end of the boxcar) are engaged! Time for pancakes.
  • The next morning, the Joads and the Wainwrights drive to the cotton farm down the road.
  • Rose of Sharon insists on picking cotton, too, even though she's kind of sick and weak and very pregnant.
  • Tons of workers show up to pick cotton, and there's not really enough work to go around.
  • On the drive home, it starts to rain, and Rose of Sharon starts to get a chill.
  • Everyone huddles together in the boxcar, building up the fire, and trying to keep dry.