Summary: Chapter 3

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The Grapes of Wrath

Summary and analysis for chapters 3-6

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Summary: Chapter 3

In the summer heat, a turtle plods across the baking highway. A woman careens her car aside to avoid hitting the turtle, but a young man veers his truck straight at the turtle, trying to run it over. He nicks the edge of the turtle’s shell, flipping it off the highway and onto its back. Legs jerking in the air, the turtle struggles to flip itself back over. Eventually it succeeds and continues trudging on its way.
Analysis: Chapter 3
While Chapter 1 paints an impressionistic picture of the Oklahoma farms as they wither and die, Chapter 3 presents a symbolic depiction of the farmers’ plights in the turtle that struggles to cross the road. Both chapters share a particularly dark vision of the world. As the relentless weather of Chapter 1 and the mean-spirited driver of Chapter 3 represent, the universe is full of obstacles that fill life with hardship and danger. Like the turtle that trudges across the road, the Joad family will be called upon, time and again, to fight the malicious forces—drought, industry, human jealousy and fear—that seek to overturn it.

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