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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

THE STORY CHAPTER 7

When the impoverished sharecroppers are thrown off their farms, they have to go somewhere. Muley told us in the last chapter that most are headed west to California. But if they don't own a truck or a car, how will they get there? Furthermore, how will they transport their beds and dressers, their pots and kitchen stove?

In this interchapter we see slick, fast-talking used-car salesmen selling worn-out and withered junk-heaps to naive farmers who know a lot more about mules than about cars.


The farmer has scraped together $50 or $75 and calls on the nearest used-car dealer. He's a welcome sight to the salesman. The farmer is desperate, and the dealer knows it. To clinch a sale, the lot owners lie and cheat. They know that the farmer will be hundreds of miles away before he discovers the leaky radiator or cracked engine block. Although the buyers don't stand a chance in the used-car lot, they have to take it. What other choice do they have?

Shifty used-car salesmen won't be the only people to take advantage of the dispossessed farmers in The Grapes of Wrath, but they are among the first.  

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