Mary Estok 1/24/18 ROUGH DRAFT Throughout the whole novel Ma was the backbone of the family.
She pulled her weight when it came to making sure everyone was okay considering their circumstances. Even though in the time this novel took place, females were not allowed to do “hard work.” Ma made it her job to make decisions that needed to be made, to make sure they have someone supportive during this dark time. She was not only there for her family, but everyone she came in contact with. In the novel Casey once said, “She don’t forget nobody,” meaning if she could help someone, she would without hesitation. Ma pertains to be a strong character in the novel from the beginning till the end. For someone to be so strong skinned and stern she must have went through alot.
Tom even noticed when he returned that she has seen tragedy, “Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and superhuman understanding.” In the readers point of view we see this strong woman, but her family they see someone who has been through so much she has to be strong skinned or she won’t make it. She became someone that her family needed, because she knew she could not rely on Pa Joad.Pa Joad was the leader of the family at the beginning of the novel like he was supposed to be. As you get farther into the story you notice how either Ma or Tom would take over his role depending on what is going on and the situation they are in. The change happened when they got tractored off his farm, he became passive of everything and let his role as leader down.
Given the circumstances they are in he can’t “provide” for his family like he could before making him passive and angry towards anyone. You notice the change especially when Ma refuses to leave Tom behind and back before all this happened he more than likely would’ve beaten her for talking back, but now he is more shocked at the change in his wife then he is mad.Without a farm and unemployed all the Joads have left is family and Ma has no intentions on getting that taken from her as well. Seeing as Pa could care less Ma took the role as head of the family to make sure they survive.
She was just as strong at the end of novel as she was at the beginning, but the strengths differed from each other. At the beginning of the novel she nourishes her family and comforts them, she even pushes her feelings aside to make sure everyone else is okay. Towards the end you notice she’s not as worried about comforting them as much as making sure they survive no matter the situation. Ma makes the decisions based on her family and how it affects all of them, not just her. She is selfless and would do anything for anyone including the strangers that Pa is so “suspicious” about. Ma Joad was the one who kept the family together on the way to California. She doesn’t let her family see fear in her eyes and keeps going without break.
She took the role of a strong woman, which is hard given the time period, without hesitation and without error.