-Tom Joad is a man that genuinely worries for his own family and has a hard exterior, but beneath that lies a kind and often merciful, but quick to anger and fiercely independent person. Furthermore, he also hates it when people swerve on purpose just to hit an animal. "Gives me a little shakes ever' time" page 185. - Tom Joad changed severely throughout the book from the selfish person he was, to a figure committed to bettering the future, as well as an improved leader for the family. Ma Joad.
-Ma Joad is a mother of six children and is one one tough person who is accustomed to hardship and deprivation and has a strong intuition. Also, Ma is a forceful woman who is determined to keep her family together at nearly all costs, yet remains kind toward all, even sparing what little the family has for those even less fortunate. Like on pages 252-258, when Ma made stew for the family at the Hooverville camp and left some leftovers for the starving children that where standing around watching her as she cooked it. Furthermore, Ma Joad is the backbone of the family.
“She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she has practiced denying them in herself. ” Page 74. -In the beginning of this book, Ma Joad was a strong woman. Throughout all the obstacles, she remains nonchalent, even when she's lost her house, her land, and has to burn her earthly possessions. By the end of this book,, she is still a strong woman and it seems her strength only grew throughout the course of the novel.
Pa Joad -Pa Joad is the patriarch of the family, who doesn’t like people talking back to him. He is a father of six children and having lived in Sallisaw, Oklahoma for all of his life, farming the land, Pa Joad has his hands full. Even though he isn't always the best at staying calm or at making decisions, he is a good man who is not afraid of hard work, does the best that he can, and isn’t or predisposed to leisure. -Throughout the book, Pa gets quieter and quieter as the journey unravels.
He started off as the head man of the family, but by the end of the book, he relinquishes his nominal authority over them and looks to Ma for direction in making decisions. For example, when he sadly remarks, "Funny! Woman takin' over the fambly. Woman sayin' we'll do this here, an' we'll go there. An' I don' even care. ” Page 423. Rose of Sharon Rivers -Rose of Sharon is Tom Joad’s younger sister who is newly wedded to Connie Rivers and pregnant with his baby. Her primary concern is the well-being of her child, even at the almost ridiculously early stage of her pregnancy and she is emotionally dependent on others.
Also, Rose of Sharon keeps an optimistic view for the future, dreaming of living comfortably in California with her husband, going to see movies on the weekends, and buying pretty clothes for her baby. -Rose of Sharon has changed because in the beginning of the book she has a self-centered perspective of the world, which gets altered when Connie deserts her suddenly and she can no longer find comfort in shared thoughts of a white-picket fence, and is forced to face reality. However, instead of concentrating on the Joad family crises, she diverts her worries fully to her baby once again.
At the end of the book, Rose of Sharon finally changes when her baby is born dead, but instead of being devastated by this loss, she rallies. She gives her breast milk to a half-starved man, giving him a chance at live, page 455. Rose of Sharon has finally matured and taken on responsibility, realizing that life and family are the only important things. Reverend Casy -Jim Casy is the moral spokesman and a fallen preacher who too often succumbed to temptation and left the ministry when he realized that he did not believe in absolute ideas of sin.
“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. ” Page 23. Casy is drawn to life and to the people who live it and has a philosophy of his own. He believes in one giant, invisible, collective soul that contains the souls of all the creatures of the world. "Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of. " page 24. - In the beginning, he just wanted to be part of the people. He thought any sort of structure is bad like banks and goverments.
However, as he travels with the Joad family, he gets closer to the general population and realizes the potential of them. When he kicks down the cop, it's his way of showing he will do anything for the people and takes the fall for Tom. When in prison, he learns that the people together have more power and can create change. This attitude brings him to being the leader of the strike. He will only take change as a result and anything less would not be accepted. In a way, he knew that he would die for the cause of the people. And he does.