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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

THE NOVEL THE CHARACTERS
  • CONNIE RIVERS

    Connie is Rose of Sharon's 19-year-old husband. He probably would have been a faithful and affectionate father, but he never got the chance.

    He was proud of Rose of Sharon's pregnancy and a little frightened, too. The changes taking place in his young wife happened so quickly they startled him. Like Rose of Sharon, he was obsessed by the baby. He lets the baby rule his thoughts and dreams. Whatever Rose of Sharon might want for the baby, he'll work to get it. First he'll get a house, then a car. He'll get an education and shape a cozy life for his little family.

    Connie makes all sorts of plans and promises, in fact, all of which grow further from reality the closer he gets to California. Hooverville is a far cry from the little white house of his dreams. "If I'd of knowed it would be like this I wouldn' of came," he laments to Rose of Sharon.

    Disappointments defeat him. Just like that, he walks out on Rose of Sharon and the rest of the Joads.

    Pa's comment about his son-in-law could serve as Connie's epitaph: "Connie wasn' no good." He probably didn't deserve a place in a family known for its ability to endure hardship.


  • NOAH JOAD

    Noah, the first-born son in the Joad family, is a stranger in the world. The night Noah was born, Pa panicked. Terrified by Ma's shrieking, Pa tried to hurry the birth. He pulled at the baby's head, twisting it out of shape.

    Noah grew up out of touch with life. He never says much and his face wears a wondering look, as though life is a puzzle that he can't even begin to solve. Yet he learns to read and write, to work and to play, but he just doesn't seem to care. He goes through the motions of living.

    When the family finally reaches California, Noah asserts himself for the first time. He's shocked by reports of starving people and doesn't intend to join their ranks. He's going to stay by the river and catch fish. As he tells Tom, "Fella can't starve beside a nice river." So he walks down the river and out of the life of the family. No one seems upset about it, for no one ever really knew him.


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