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Chapter 31 of The Grapes of Wrath
A feeling of despair continued to plague the minds of migrants still looking for work. Three weeks had gone by and fields were still too flooded to be worked over. The rain had stopped about three days ago. Kids' ought to starve if we don't git some money soon. Been living off just three dollars, these days that can barely git ya some bread an potatoes. Heard of some work up north near Irvine pickin' cotton for bout fifty cents a bag except soons we got there wages dropped to ten cents a bag. Worked there for a few days but wasn't makin' enough and had ta leave. Can't barely feed the fambly no more. Kid's got a real bad cold from all the rain. Ought to get some milk for him before it gets to be too bad. Can't barely feed the fambly no more.
By this time the rich landowners were scared. They hated the migrants because they made them scared. They were scared the migrant people would steal from them. Steal things that were wrongfully owned by the rich men. They were scared the migrant people would band together. They were scared the migrant people would revolt. They were scared because they knew money could not buy enough protection if the migrant people came together in arms. The plump little rich men who sat in their big houses every night were full of fear of what the next day might bring.
Been in a camp last week talkin' of a place bout 40 miles from here where they's banding together for a revolt
Now who’s talking about holding a revolt?
Well they's was people down south in a roadside camp I pitched a tent in for the night that was sayin' they was gonna group together and fight for their rights against the landowners
As soon as the word got out it spread like a wildfire in a dry forest. The word spread to other migrants. The word spread to towns and cities. The word spread to the sheriffs and deputies. It spread so far that soon enough even the president got word of the turmoil in California. And most of all, the word spread to the rich little plump men. And now the rich landowners were even more scared of what they now knew was the inevitable. The plump little rich men would tell their wives and kids that everything is going to be all right even though they know everything will most likely not be all right. And now they start to scramble to try and figure out a solution, to prevent themselves from losing their surplus of land and money.
Did ya hear about the revolt them okies is planning?
No. What they planning now?
I heard they been planning to get their guns and numbers together and then they's gonna stomp right to the doorstep of them rich landowners and then they gonna demand land and better wages. I heard they planning on starting sometime next Sat'day. Them landowners is running scared now; trying to bribe deputies and sheriffs to protect them.
The poor farmers soon became furious. They had finally broken and were now filled with rage. The 150 migrants that showed up now marched into the city in search of rich little plump men to protest against. They protested their rights to more affordable land. They protested their
rights to fair wages based on the intensity of the work. They protested against the rich little plump men that sat in their houses making all the money for the crops they didn't plant yet still own. Soon more people than just the landowners became scared. Scared like an elephant is scared of a mouse. Scared of the tiny things that they are worried could turn big. Soon the migrants began to feel empowered from the results of their previous riots. This time, nearly 300 migrants marched to the next landowner's property. The farmers became more and more confident in what they were doing and soon everyone knew of what the migrants had been planning.
You hear about them okies holdin' rallies outside them landowners’ property?
Sure, I even heard of a rumor goin' around that they's gonna kidnap one of them landowners to send a message to the rest.
Frightened landowners scrambled to ensure their own safety. They told their wives and kids that everything was going to be ok. They told themselves that everything was going to be ok, but deep down they knew this time their money could not protect them
The farmers armed with guns and other weapons marched angry as hornets to the victim's property.
You hear about them okies that tried to kidnap that landowner?
Yeah, and then sheriffs and deputies snatched em all right up and took em to jail.
And then all the previous sense of empowerment disappeared. The revolt became nonexistent and all had returned to its normal state once again. Wisht I could git some money to support the fambly. Been livin off potatoes and bread. Sure wisht I could git some money to buy some land and some side meat and all would be well again. Can't barely feed the fambly no more