The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

17. září 2011 | 22.05 |

They jus' cut 'em in two. Place where folks live is them folks. They ain't whole, out lonely on the road in a piled-up car. They ain't alive no more. Them sons-a-bitches killed 'em."
They got to live before they can afford to die.
Casy said. "Sometimes a sad man can talk the sadness right out through his mouth. Sometimes a killin' man can talk the murder right out of his mouth an' not do no murder. You done right.

An' I got thinkin', on'y it wasn't thinkin, it was deeper down than thinkin'. I got thinkin' how we was holy when we was one thing, an' mankin' was holy when it was one thing. An' it on'y got unholy when one mis'able little fella got the bit in his teeth an' run off his own way, kickin' an' draggin' an' fightin'. Fella like that bust the holiness. But when they're all workin' together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang—that's right, that's holy. An' then I got thinkin' I don't even know what I mean by holy." He paused, but the bowed heads stayed down, for they had been trained like dogs to rise at the "amen" signal. "I can't say no grace like I use' ta say. I'm glad of the holiness of breakfast. I'm glad there's love here. That's all." The heads stayed down. The preacher looked around. "I've got your breakfast cold," he said; and then he remembered. "Amen," he said, and all the heads rose up.

the sound of soldiers marching, and the hot sun shining south,
Maybe we can start again, in the new rich land—in California, where the fruit grows. We'll start over.
But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me—why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man—he got it all right, but we have it still. And when the owner men told us to go, that's us; and when the tractor hit the house, that's us until we're dead. To California or any place—every one a drum major leading a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day—the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it.
This book. My father had it. He liked a book. Pilgrim's Progress. Used to read it. Got his name in it. And his pipe—still smells rank. And this picture—an angel. I looked at that before the fust three come—didn't seem to do much good.
How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it.
They sat and looked at it and burned it into their memories. How'll it be not to know what land's outside the door? How if you wake up in the night and know—and know the willow tree's not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can't. The willow tree is you. The pain on that mattress there—that dreadful pain—that's you.
The family met at the most important place, near the truck. The house was dead, and the fields were dead; but this truck was the active thing, the living principle. The ancient Hudson, with bent and scarred radiator screen, with grease in dusty globules at the worn edge of every moving part, with hub caps gone and caps of red dust in their places—this was the new hearth, the living center of the family; half passenger car and half truck, high-sided and clumsy.

Grampa waved his hand back and forth. "Once a fella's a preacher, he's always a preacher. That's somepin you can't get shut of. They was some folks figgered it was a good respectable thing to have a preacher along. Ef somebody died, preacher buried 'em. Weddin' come due, or overdue, an' there's your preacher. Baby come, an' you got a christener right under the roof. Me, I always said they was preachers an' preachers. Got to pick 'em. I kinda like this fella. He ain't stiff."
THE HOUSES WERE LEFT vacant on the land, and the land was vacant because of this. Only the tractor sheds of corrugated iron, silver and gleaming, were alive; and they were alive with metal and gasoline and oil, the disks of the plows shining. The tractors had lights shining, for there is no day and night for a tractor and the disks turn the earth in the darkness and they glitter in the daylight. And when a horse stops work and goes into the barn there is a life and a vitality left, there is a breathing and a warmth, and the feet shift on the straw, and the jaws clamp on the hay, and the ears and the eyes are alive. There is a warmth of life in the barn, and the heat and smell of life. But when the motor of a tractor stops, it is as dead as the ore it came from. The heat goes out of it like the living heat that leaves a corpse. Then the corrugated iron doors are closed and the tractor man drives home to town, perhaps twenty miles away, and he need not come back for weeks or months, for the tractor is dead. And this is easy and efficient. So easy that the wonder goes out of work, so efficient that the wonder goes out of land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation. And in the tractor man there grows the contempt that comes only to a stranger who has little understanding and no relation.
But the machine man, driving a dead tractor on land he does not know and love, understands only chemistry; and he is contemptuous of the land and of himself. When the corrugated iron doors are shut, he goes home, and his home is not the land.
From all of these the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.
And heres a story you can hardly believe, but it's true, and it's funny and it's beautiful. There was a family of twelve and they were forced off the land. They had no car. They built a trailer out of junk and loaded it with their possessions. They pulled it to the side of 66 and waited. And pretty soon a sedan picked them up. Five of them rode in the sedan and seven on the trailer, and a dog on the trailer. They got to California in two jumps. The man who pulled them fed them. And that's true. But how can such courage be, and such faith in their own species? Very few things would teach such faith.
The people in flight from the terror behind—strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refired forever.

Casy said, "I been walkin' aroun' in the country. Ever'body's askin' that. What we comin' to? Seems to me we don't never come to nothin'. Always on the way. Always goin' and goin'. Why don't folks think about that? They's movement now. People moving. We know why, an' we know how. Movin' 'cause they got to. That's why folks always move. Movin' 'cause they want somepin better'n what they got. An' that's the on'y way they'll ever git it. Wantin' it an' needin' it, they'll go out an' git it. It's bein' hurt that makes folks mad to fightin'. I been walkin' aroun' the country, an' hearin' folks talk like you."
Sometimes a fella got to sift the law. I'm sayin' now I got the right to bury my own pa. Anybody got somepin to say?"
Grampa didn' die tonight. He died the minute you took 'im off the place."
Pa borrowed money from the bank, and now the bank wants the land. The land company—that's the bank when it has land—wants tractors, not families on the land. Is a tractor bad? Is the power that turns the long furrows wrong? If this tractor were ours it would be good—not mine, but ours. If our tractor turned the long furrows of our land, it would be good. Not my land, but ours. We could love that tractor then as we have loved this land when it was ours. But this tractor does two things—it turns the land and turns us off the land. There is little difference between this tractor and a tank. The people are driven, intimidated, hurt by both. We must think about this.
JOKE: Little kid comes in late ta school. Teacher says, "Why ya late?" Kid says, "Had a take a heifer down—get 'er bred." Teacher says, "Couldn't your ol' man do it?" Kid says, "Sure he could, but not as good as the bull."
"Bleedin' like a son-of-a-bitch," he said. "Well, I can stop that." He urinated on the ground, picked up a handful of the resulting mud, and plastered it over the wound. Only for a moment did the blood ooze out, and then it stopped. "Best damn thing in the worl' to stop bleedin'," he said.

  The more fellas he can get, an' the hungrier, less he's gonna pay. An' he'll get a fella with kids if he can

 In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream. And it might be that a sick child threw despair into the hearts of twenty families, of a hundred people; that a birth there in a tent kept a hundred people quiet and awestruck through the night and filled a hundred people with the birth-joy in the morning. A family which the night before had been lost and fearful might search its goods to find a present for a new baby. In the evening, sitting about the fires, the twenty were one.
The families learned what rights must be observed—the right of privacy in the tent; the right to keep the past black hidden in the heart; the right to talk and to listen; the right to refuse help or to accept, to offer help or to decline it; the right of son to court and daughter to be courted; the right of the hungry to be fed; the rights of the pregnant and the sick to transcend all other rights.
And the families learned, although no one told them, what rights are monstrous and must be destroyed: the right to intrude upon privacy, the right to be noisy while the camp slept, the right of seduction or rape, the right of adultery and theft and murder. These rights were crushed, because the little worlds could not exist for even a night with such rights alive.
And as the worlds moved westward, rules became laws, although no one told the families. It is unlawful to foul near the camp; it is unlawful in any way to foul the drinking water; it is unlawful to eat good rich food near one who is hungry, unless he is asked to share.
Thus they changed their social life—changed as in the whole universe only man can change. They were not farm men any more, but migrant men. And the thought, the planning, the long staring silence that had gone out to the fields, went now to the roads, to the distance, to the West. That man whose mind had been bound with acres lived with narrow concrete miles. And his thought and his worry were not any more with rainfall, with wind and dust, with the thrust of the crops. Eyes watched the tires, ears listened to the clattering motors, and minds struggled with oil, with gasoline, with the thinning rubber between air and road. Then a broken gear was tragedy. Then water in the evening was the yearning, and food over the fire. Then health to go on was the need and strength to go on, and spirit to go on. The wills thrust westward ahead of them, and fears that had once apprehended drought or flood now lingered with anything that might stop the westward crawling.
I wanted you to pray. I wanted to feel that clostness, oncet more. It's the same thing, singin' an' prayin', jus' the same thing. I wisht you could a-heerd me sing."
"Well, you and me got sense. Them goddamn Okies got no sense and no feeling. They ain't human. A human being wouldn't live like they do. A human being couldn't stand it to be so dirty and miserable. They ain't a hell of a lot better than gorillas."
Now farming became industry, and the owners followed Rome, although they did not know it. They imported slaves, although they did not call them slaves: Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, Filipinos. They live on rice and beans, the business men said. They don't need much. They wouldn't know what to do with good wages. Why, look how they live. Why, look what they eat. And if they get funny—deport them.
And all the time the farms grew larger and the owners fewer. And there were pitifully few farmers on the land any more. And the imported serfs were beaten and frightened and starved until some went home again, and some grew fierce and were killed or driven from the country. And the farms grew larger and the owners fewer.
Okies—the owners hated them because the owners knew they were soft and the Okies strong, that they were fed and the Okies hungry; and perhaps the owners had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and armed. The owners hated them. And in the towns, the storekeepers hated them because they had no money to spend. There is no shorter path to a storekeeper's contempt, and all his admirations are exactly opposite. The town men, little bankers, hated Okies because there was nothing to gain from them. They had nothing. And the laboring people hated Okies because a hungry man must work, and if he must work, if he has to work, the wage payer automatically gives him less for his work; and then no one can get more.
Well, there's Hooverville on the edge of the river. There's a whole raft of Okies there. The rag town lay close to water; and the houses were tents, and weed-thatched enclosures, paper houses, a great junk pile. The man drove his family in and became a citizen of Hooverville—always they were called Hooverville.
In the camps the word would come whispering, There's work at Shafter. And the cars would be loaded in the night, the highways crowded—a gold rush for work. At Shafter the people would pile up, five times too many to do the work.
Now and then a man tried; crept on the land and cleared a piece, trying like a thief to steal a little richness from the earth. Secret gardens hidden in the weeds. A package of carrot seeds and a few turnips. Planted potato skins, crept out in the evening secretly to hoe in the stolen earth.
They were land-hungry, ill-armed hordes too, and the legions could not stop them. Slaughter and terror did not stop them. How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him—he has known a fear beyond every other.
And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.
The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.
"An' here's another thing. Ever hear a' the blacklist?"
"What's that?"
"Well, you jus' open your trap about us folks gettin' together, an' you'll see. They take your pitcher an' send it all over. Then you can't get work nowhere. An' if you got kids-"
Look, if the folks gets together, they's a leader—got to be—fella that does the talkin'. Well, first time this fella opens his mouth they grab 'im an' stick 'im in jail. An' if they's another leader pops up, why, they stick 'im in jail."
Well, when the cops come in, an' they come in all a time, that's how you want ta be. Dumb—don't know nothin'. Don' understan' nothin'. That's how the cops like us. Don't hit no cops. That's jus' suicide. Be bull-simple."
  "A fella got to do what he got to do. Nobody don' know enough to tell 'im."
In the West there was panic when the migrants multiplied on the highways. Men of property were terrified for their property. Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants. And the men of the towns and of the soft suburban country gathered to defend themselves; and they reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, These goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant. They're degenerate, sexual maniacs. Those goddamned Okies are thieves. They'll steal anything. They've got no sense of property rights.
And now the great owners and the companies invented a new method. A great owner bought a cannery. And when the peaches and the pears were ripe he cut the price of fruit below the cost of raising it. And as cannery owner he paid himself a low price for the fruit and kept the price of canned goods up and took his profit. And the little farmers who owned no canneries lost their farms, and they were taken by the great owners, the banks, and the companies who also owned the canneries. As time went on, there were fewer farms. The little farmers moved into town for a while and exhausted their credit, exhausted their friends, their relatives. And then they too went on the highways. And the roads were crowded with men ravenous for work, murderous for work.
The great companies did not know that the line between hunger and anger is a thin line. And money that might have gone to wages went for gas, for guns, for agents and spies, for blacklists, for drilling. On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment.
"You'll pay if you can. If you can't, that ain't none of our business, an' it ain't your business. One fella went away, an' two months later he sent back the money. You ain't got the right to let your girls git hungry in this here camp."
  The decay spreads over the State, and the sweet smell is a great sorrow on the land. Men who can graft the trees and make the seed fertile and big can find no way to let the hungry people eat their produce. Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow.
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit—and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth.
There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate—died of malnutrition—because the food must rot, must be forced to rot.
And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.


"You got more sense, Tom. I don' need to make you mad. I got to lean on you. Them others—they're kinda strangers, all but you. You won't give up, Tom."
The job fell on him. "I don' like it," he said. "I wanta go out like Al. An' I wanta get mad like Pa, an' I wanta get drunk like Uncle John."
Ma shook her head. "You can't, Tom. I know. I knowed from the time you was a little fella. You can't. They's some folks that's just theirself an' nothin' more. There's Al—he's jus' a young fella after a girl. You wasn't never like that, Tom."
"Sure I was," said Tom. "Still am."
"No you ain't. Ever'thing you do is more'n you. When they sent you up to prison I knowed it. You're spoke for."
"Now, Ma—cut it out. It ain't true. It's all in your head."
"Lookie, Ma. I been all day an' all night hidin' alone. Guess who I been thinkin' about? Casy! He talked a lot. Used ta bother me. But now I been thinkin' what he said, an' I can remember—all of it. Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an' he foun' he didn' have no soul that was his'n. Says he foun' he jus' got a little piece of a great big soul. Says a wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no good 'less it was with the rest, an' was whole. Funny how I remember. Didn' think I was even listenin'. But I know now a fella ain't no good alone."
"He was a good man," Ma said.
Tom went on, "He spouted out some Scripture once, an' it didn' soun' like no hellfire Scripture. He tol' it twicet, an' I remember it. Says it's from the Preacher."
"How's it go, Tom?"
"Goes, 'Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.' That's part of her."
Huddled under sheds, lying in wet hay, the hunger and the fear bred anger. Then boys went out, not to beg, but to steal; and men went out weakly, to try to steal.
The sheriffs swore in new deputies and ordered new rifles; and the comfortable people in tight houses felt pity at first and then distaste, and finally hatred for the migrant people.


  • ravenously hungry - strašně hladový
  • be given parole - být propuštěn na podmínku
  • raise hell - udělat pozdvižení, kravál
  • push around - komandovat, sekýrovat
  • weasel - lasice
  • lead off - jít jako první
  • to put sb. out - obtěžovat se
  • He never puts himself out for others. - Nikdy se neobtěžuje dělat něco pro ostatní
  • mutilated - zmrzačený
  • Perennial shortage of money - věčný nedostatek peněz
  • have a snotty/runny nose - mít nudli u nosu
  • They knocked off one hundred. - Zlevnili to o stovku.
  • clean up - vydělat balík (hovor.)
  • so long. - Tak zatím.
  • valve - ventil
  • dog food - psí žrádlo
  • Don't fill up on sweets. - Necpi se sladkostmi.
  • Limp handshake - chabý stisk ruky
  • His pants were spattered with mud. - Kalhoty měl pocákané blátem.
  • sneaky - záludný, úskočný (člověk)
  • They all scurried to help - Všichni přispěchali na pomoc.
  • The kids scampered off the school. - Děti pelášily ze školy.
  • get jumpy - znervóznět (hovor.)
  • Are you jumpy? - Máš nahnáno?
  • screwy - praštěný, ujetý, ilítlý
  • He is trying to wriggle out of it. - Zkouší se z toho vyvlíknout
  • wriggle - kroutit se
  • hind leg - zadní noha
  • shamefaced - stydící se, zahanbený (form.)
  • She looked shamefaced. - Vypadalo to, že je jí trapně.
  • doorsill - práh
  • stacked with - plný, nacpaný
  • The room was stacked with books. - Pokoj byl zavalený knihami.
  • scream your head off - křičet na lesy.
  • He won't bite your head off - On ti hlavu neutrhne.
  • Grin and bear it. - Zatnout suby a vydržet to.
  • thicken gravy with flour. - Zahustit šťávu moukou.
  • fumble for/at - tápat šmátrat
  • fumble with - pohrávat si (v prstech), nešikovně zápasit
  • He fumbled with the lock. - Zápasil se zámkem
  • cantankerous - hašteřivý, svárlivý (form.)
  • She was in a cantankerous mood that day. - Toho dne měla hádavou náladu.
  • lecherous old man - chlípný/oplzlý starý dědek
  • hobble - belhat, kulhat
  • He was hobbling along the street. - Belhal se ulicí.
  • splutter - zadrmolit, zakoktat...
  • spitefully - zlomyslně, škodolibě
  • the whole shebang - (AmE slang) - celá ta záležitost
  • tinker with- šťourat se (opravovat ap.)
  • Don't tinker with the engine - Nevrtej s v tom motoru.
  • intricacies - záludnosti
  • the intricacies of the work - spletitost práce
  • sty / stye - ječné zrno
  • cocky - (hovor.) domýšlivý
  • supercilious - namyšlený
  • wring his hands - lomit rukama
  • sturdy paper - tvrdý papír
  • sonorous voice - zvučný hlas
  • henceforth - napříště, nadále (form.)
  • He is bragging about his new car. - Vytahuje se se svým novým autem.
  • scuffed - odřený
  • Her shoes were scuffed. - Měla odřené boty.
  • scrounge - vysomrovat, vyloudit (hovor.)
  • pucker - svraštit (brow), našpulit (lips)
  • relinquish - (form.) vzdát se (pozice, moci), pustit, uvolnit ...
  • the table wobbles - ten stůl se viklá
  • tendon - šlacha
  • bristle - stětina, chlup, naježit...
  • carcass - mršina, zdechlina
  • restiveness - neklid, netrpělivost
  • flying jump - skok s rozběhem
  • trailer - vlečka, příveš...
  • truculent - agresivní, útočný
  • give sb. a going-over - dát komu co proto
  • help yourself to - nabídnětě si (co)
  • hose - hadice
  • baby buggy - sporťák (kočárek)
  • rinse - opláchnout
  • I rinsed my hands under the tap. - Opláchl jsem si ruce pod vodovodem.
  • rinse out your mouth. - Vypláchněte si ústa
  • tepid water - vlažná voda
  • Lace up your shoes. - Zavaž si boty.
  • take a snooze. - Dát si šlofíka. (hovor.)
  • we are beholden to you. - Jsme vám zavázáni.
  • safety pin - spíncací,zavírací špendlík
  • hood (AmE), bonnet (BrE) - kapota
  • droopy - zvadlý
  • The room was (in) a shambles/mess - V pokoji byl bordel/děsný nepořádek
  • He is off his chump - Ruplo mu v bedně?
  • come off it - Nekecej! Ale houby! Nech toho!...
  • shiftless guy - líný chlap
  • huddled together - tisknout se k sobě
  • snuggle/nestle together - přitulit se k sobě
  • What's come over you. - Co tě to popadlo?
  • I have a huntch that ... - Mám takové tušení, že ... (hovor.)
  • she coveted his money. - Prahla po jeho penězích
  • We scoured the telephone directory. - Důkladně jsme prošli telefonní seznam.
  • flypaper - mucholapka
  • Don't be nosy (hovor.) - nebuď zvědavý
  • The news perked him up. - Ta zpráva mu zvedla náladu.


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