Study Guide

In Dubious Battle Chapter 15

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 15

  • Mac and Jim make their way from the camp to the Anderson house. Mac expects to be ambushed at any moment.
  • Jim tells him it would be nice to take some time off when the whole thing is over. They've been in the orchard all this time, and Jim still doesn't know how apples grow. He wants to take it all in.
  • Mac doesn't understand this kind of talk and tells Jim that he'd hate peace and quiet—he'd be climbing the walls in no time for lack of action.
  • Mac and Jim reach Anderson's house and find Al still in bad shape. Al confirms that his father has lodged a complaint against the workers and will have them evicted from his land soon.
  • Mac tells Al that he should pretend to side with his dad when he returns home. It's enough for Mac to know that Al is sympathetic to the cause, but Al and his dad have to move on.
  • Anderson returns before Mac and Jim can escape. Mac tries to apologize to Anderson for the trouble they've caused him, but Anderson won't have any of it.
  • Anderson makes the point that Mac and Jim have never owned anything, so they don't know how it feels when it gets taken away.
  • Mac points out that they've never had the chance to own anything. Mac asks after the dogs—Anderson's pride and joy—and finds out that the kennel was near the barn. The dogs are dead.
  • Al plays along with Mac's plan and tells them to get out. As they make their way back to camp, Mac tells Jim that such suffering makes it hard to keep his eyes on the prize.
  • But Jim isn't bothered at all by this. He's willing to give up his life for the cause and thinks that Anderson should at least be willing to give up his barn. Yipes.
  • Mac and Jim meet London and tell him that the sheriff will be coming to evict them. Pretty soon, the sheriff does appear, riding the back of a dump truck and carrying a machine gun.
  • The sheriff delivers the eviction notice and tells the workers that they'll have the evening to get off the land before the troops move in, armed like him.
  • Mac thinks the sheriff's bluffing about the weapons. He wants the men to fight. He tells London that if they leave at night like they were told, the cops will "pick them off."
  • London is worried that men will die without reason if they fight, but Mac reminds him that this is war. But he's not sure if the men will take a stand. They need to be riled up again.
  • Mac tells Jim that he should leave when it gets dark. He feels that Jim is valuable to the cause and should be saved. But Jim is not on board with this idea.
  • Jim feels that he should be used until there is nothing left. He thinks that Mac is trying to protect him because he likes him personally, not because he's valuable. And that doesn't cut it for Jim.
  • Mac is annoyed and tells Jim to do whatever he wants. He walks out of the tent in a huff.
  • Lisa comes in with the baby and says that she's heard about the impending violence. But she isn't scared of it. She likes Jim and wants to sit and talk to him. He tells her a memory from his childhood, and she tries to chat with him.
  • London and Mac return and kick Lisa out. The men are getting dispirited and having meetings throughout the camp—without inviting London. They need a strategy to make the men fight.
  • Soon, an emissary from the workers comes to the tent to say that the men want a meeting with London. They want to hold another vote about the strike, since they don't want to fight.
  • London agrees. Mac thinks this is a great development, because the men have learned the process and aren't just going to sneak away.
  • Mac decides that London has to try to make the men fight if he can, and he taps Jim to help convince them.
  • Jim is super excited to finally have his chance and is willing to show his wound if it will help rouse the men.
  • A young boy interrupts their meeting to tell them that there's an injured doctor in the orchard. The men eagerly follow the boy, thinking that they've found Doc.
  • But the boy outstrips the men and runs into the trees. He's led them into a trap, and soon guns are firing at Mac and Jim. Mac grabs for Jim to get him down to the ground.
  • When his eyes recover from the flash of gunfire, Mac sees Jim face-planted on the ground near him. When he lifts Jim's head, he can see that his face has been blown off.
  • London arrives on the scene with a lantern and sees the state that Jim is in. Mac carries Jim's body over his shoulder, back to the camp. The men gather to see what has happened.
  • The men are horrified by Jim's corpse. Mac mounts the platform and positions Jim's body in full view of the crowd. And then he begins his usual speech to rouse the troops to battle.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...