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The one-eyed man serves as yet another picture of the American experience. He is garish and grotesque and his introduction is a break from the realistic depiction of the novel. The one-eyed man reveals his life story almost immediately, a device that is far from dramatically realistic but serves to give him some layering. He is one of the many workers the Joads encounter, but he is not insignificant. Steinbeck gives him some personality and history to emphasize the importance of all working people, whether or not they are the focus of this particular story. His appearance also demonstrates once again that Tom is forthright and direct. He will not shy away from standing up to a person, a quality that gives him an air of authority but may prove dangerous.