The Grapes of Wrath


  • Tom Joad: Protagonist of the story; the Joad family's second son, named after his father. Later on, Tom takes leadership of the family even though he is young.
  • Ma Joad: Matriarch. Practical and warm-spirited, she tries to hold the family together. Her given name is never learned; it is suggested that her maiden name was Hazlett.
  • Pa Joad: Patriarch, also named Tom, age 50. Hardworking sharecropper and family man. Pa becomes a broken man upon losing his livelihood and means of supporting his family, forcing Ma to assume leadership.
  • Uncle John Joad: Pa Joad's older brother (Tom describes him as "a fella about 60", but in narrative he is described as 50). He felt guilty about the death of his young wife years before, and has been prone to binges involving alcohol and prostitutes, but is generous with his goods.
  • Jim Casy: A former preacher who lost his faith. He is a Christ-like figure and is based on Ed Ricketts.
  • Al Joad: The third youngest son, a "smart-aleck sixteen-year-older" who cares mainly for cars and girls; he looks up to Tom, but begins to find his own way.
  • Rose of Sharon Joad Rivers: Childish and dreamy teenage daughter (18) who develops into a mature woman. Pregnant in the beginning of the novel, she delivers a stillborn baby, perhaps due to malnutrition.
  • Connie Rivers: Rose of Sharon's husband. Nineteen years old and naïve, he is overwhelmed by marriage and impending fatherhood; he abandons his wife shortly after they arrive in California.
  • Noah Joad: The oldest son, he is the first to leave the family, planning to live off fishing on the Colorado River. Injured at birth and described as "strange", he may have slight learning difficulties.
  • Grampa Joad: Tom's grandfather, who expresses his strong desire to stay in Oklahoma. His full name is given as William James Joad. Grampa is drugged by his family with "soothin' syrup" to force him to leave, but he dies the first evening on the road. Casy attributes his death to a stroke but says that Grampa is "jus' stayin' with the lan'. He couldn' leave it."
  • Granma Joad: Grampa Joad's religious wife; she loses her will to live after his death. She dies while the family is crossing the Mojave Desert.
  • Ruthie Joad: The youngest daughter, age twelve. She is shown to be reckless and childish. Quarreling with another child, she reveals Tom in hiding.
  • Winfield Joad: The youngest male in the family, age ten, "kid-wild and calfish".
  • Jim Rawley: Manages the camp at Weedpatch, he shows the Joads surprising favor.
  • Muley Graves: A neighbor of the Joads'; he is invited to come along to California with them but refuses. The family leave two of their dogs with him; a third they take but it is killed by a car during their travels.
  • Ivy and Sairy Wilson: Migrants from Kansas, they attend the death of Grampa and share the journey as far as the California state line.
  • Mr. Wainwright: The father of Aggie Wainwright and husband of Mrs. Wainwright. Worries over his daughter Aggie.
  • Mrs. Wainwright: Mother to Aggie Wainwright and wife to Mr. Wainwright. She helps Ma deliver Rose of Sharon's baby.
  • Aggie Wainwright: Sixteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wainwright. Intends to marry Al.
  • Floyd Knowles: The man at the Hooverville who urges Tom and Casy to join labor organizations. His agitation results in Casy's being jailed.

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