They find a peach orchard that needs harvesting so they go to
work there. Tom in the night, sneaks out of the orchard and finds Casy who
is with some other people on strike to raise wages. Some people come by to
break up the strike calling the strikers reds (people who want higher pay).
One person hits Casy alongside the head crushing him skull and killing him.
Tom gets furious and kills the person that killed Casy but in the struggle,
he too gets hit and is bruised and bleeding. Eventually he evades his pursuers
and makes it back to the camp. The Joads decide that its too dangerous
for Tom since he killed another person so they decide to leave the orchard
and find another place to work while Tom is in hiding until his face heals.
They reach a cotton field that needs picking so they begin working
while living in a boxcar that they share with the Wainwrights. Al falls
in love with Agnes Wainwright and announces that they are going to get married.
They work there at that cotton field and at another one when it begins to
rain. It rains for several days and floods the valley. Some men try to divert
the water by building a dike but it breaks when a fallen tree crashes through
it. Meanwhile, Rose of Sharon goes into labor but gives birth to a dead baby.
The water keeps rising into the boxcar so the Joads and
the Wainwrights build a platform in the boxcar above the water to keep
from getting wet. After the rain stops, some of the Joads look for higher
ground. They wade through chest deep water as they head toward a barn. There,
they meet a boy and his starving father. The boy explains that the man gave
up his food portion to keep the boy healthy. Now, the man is so sick that
he cant digest even bread. Since the Joads have nothing to offer to
help the man, Rose of Sharon decides to feed him her breast milk as an only
The final phase of the novel shows Tom's moral growth in that he has broadened
his outlook on life and wants to continue the work that Casy began and improve
the lot of the migrant farmer.
The final disintegration of he family occurs when Tom is forced to leave
and Rose of Sharon gives birth to a stillborn child. All hope for a better
future for the family seems to have vanished.
The novel ends with both Tom and Rose of Sharon thinking of others and giving
what little they have.