The Grapes of Wrath

What "bitterness" is being bought?

Chapter Nine.

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This refers to the Joads selling all their belongings for next to nothing. Anything that can't be sold is burned. Steinbeck is explicit about the meaning of the sales: he states that, "you're not buying only junk, you're buying junked lives." The people buying this stuff are buying the emotions that go along with it, bitterness, sadness and broken dreams.