The Grapes of Wrath

How do the descriptions of people sorting out their belongings prior to leaving for California affect the reader?

Chapter 9

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For me, the descriptions of the people deciding what to take and what to leave behind is extremely saddening. In most cases, these weren't young people or families. How do you pack up your life? I guess it reminds me of when my grandmother was moved out of her home and into my Uncle's. She took almost nothing; she was devastated, and that feeling never left her.