He is the novel’s main character. The book follows Tom’s growth from
hardened ex-convict to a humane man who cares for those around him.
He was Tom’s former preacher who had lost his calling, but still believed
that all men were holy. His theory was that there was one big soul, which represented mankind, and every person was a small part of the whole.
He is Steinbeck’s mouthpiece providing a vehicle for the author’s views on life and the inadequacies of the rich landowners. He traveled with the Joad’s to California trying to represent those that were oppressed.
She is the foundation of the Joad family, strong-willed and determined to
make the trek to California as a complete family unit. She has an infinite capacity to love both her family and those that they come in contact with.
He was the head of the family, but is unable to come to terms with the
destruction of his world in Oklahoma. His position slowly declines and Ma is the one that takes over the running of the family making all the major decisions.
Rose of Sharon
The eldest daughter, she is married to Connie Rivers and is pregnant.
She is preoccupied by her pregnancy and often escapes into a dream world in order to block out the harsh surroundings in which she finds herself. On the birth of her stillborn child she suddenly loses her
immaturity and is finally represented as a life-giving force.
One of the Joad’s’ neighbors in Oklahoma he too has been ‘tractored’ off his
land. He has stayed behind after his family left for California and he is an illustration of the loss suffered by those that have been driven away.
They share the boxcar with the Joad’s when they are all involved in cotton-picking. Their
co-operation with each other is an example of the strength that the migrant communities had arising from their common need. This also happened with the Wilson family earlier in the book. Their 16
year-old daughter becomes engaged to Al Joad