The Grapes of Wrath

What is significant about Ma's refusal to comply about Tom's proposal?

Chapter 16

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Ma Joad once again reveals herself to be the center of the Joad family when she demands that they not leave Tom and Casy behind, even temporarily. She leaves the family no option but to remain together, even threatening violence against anybody who opposes her. In doing so, she reiterates the idea that the strength that these people have is in unity.