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The birth of Rose of Sharon's child carries significant symbolic meanings. For Rose of Sharon, the child has represented the possibilities for the future, yet the baby is stillborn. The event has clear parallels to the Joad's journey to California: they faced incredible hardship and pain striving for a better future, yet their sacrifices lead to nothing. The fate of the baby is even a perverse reversal of religious imagery. Uncle John places the dead child in a box and sends it down the river, an obvious allusion to Moses.