Foreshadowing (The Grapes of Wrath Ch 17)

The ragged man shut his mouth and looked sullenly at the porch boards. “you folks all goin’ to California, I bet.”…

The ragged man said slowly, “Me—I’m coming back. I been there.”

The faces turned quickly towards him…. “I’m goin’ back to stare. I ruther starve all over at oncet.”

Pa said, “What the hell you talkin’ about? I got a han’bill says they got good wages, an’ little while ago I seen a thing in the paper says they need folks to pick fruit” (189)

This is the beginning of a conversation between Pa Joad and a man he met at a campsite about the wonderful California. 

A little after this quotation, the man goes on to explain to Pa Joad the situation in California. According to the stranger, the men who want to hire will grossly overestimate the number of people they want to hire on their advertisements, so that an extremely large amount of people will come. They then can say the wage is low and still have many desperate people who will “work for nothin, but biscuts” (190). 

This isn’t the the first time that tye truth about California was foreshadowed. In an earlier chapter, when Tom first comes home and hears about the plan to move to California, he says that someone he met in prison who was from California told him that life in California for migrants was miserable at best. Ma Joad shook it off, just like Pa Joad decided to shake off this strangers warning. After all, they didn’t have anywhere to go back to in Oklahoma. 
-Paulie 🙂


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