Sunday, February 28, 2016

Another Reading From John Steinbeck

...from The Grapes of Wrath.
... with a little passage from Scripture embedded in it:

Tom went on, "He spouted some Scripture once, an' it didn' soun' like no hell-fire Scripture.  He tol' it twicet, an' I remember it.  Says it's from the Preacher."
"How's it go, Tom?"
"Goes, 'Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.'  That's part of her."
"Go on," Ma said, "Go on, Tom."
"Jus' a little bit more.  'Again, if two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him, and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.'" [Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12]
"An' that's Scripture?"
"Casy said it was.  Called it the Preacher."
"Hush -- listen."
"On'y the wind, Ma.  I know the wind.  An' I got to thinkin', Ma -- most of the preachin' is about the poor we shall have always with us, an' if you got nuthin', why, jus' fol' your hands an' to hell with it, you gonna git ice cream on gol' plates when you're dead.  An' then this here Preacher say two get a better reward for their work."
"Tom," she said.  "What you aimin' to do?"
He was quiet for a long time.  "I been thinkin' how it was in that gov'ment camp, how our folks took care a theirselves, an' if they was a fight they fixed it theirself; an' they wasn't no cops wagglin' their guns, but they was better order than them cops ever give.  I been a-wonderin' why we can't do that all over.  Throw out the cops that ain't our people.  All work together for our own thing -- all farm our own lan'."
"Tom," Ma repeated, "what you gonna do?"
"What Casy done," he said.
"But they killed him."
"Yeah," said Tom.  "He didn' duck quick enough.  He wasn' doing nothin' against the law, Ma.  I been thinkin' a hell of a lot, thinkin' about our people livin' like pigs an' the good rich lan' layin' fallow, or maybe one fella with a million acres, while a hunderd thousan' good farmers is starvin'.  An' I been wonderin' if all our folks got together an' yelled, like them fellas yelled, only a few of 'em at the Hooper ranch --"
Ma said, "Tom, they'll drive you, an' cut you down like they done to young Floyd."
"They gonna drive me anyways.  They drivin' all our people."
"You don't aim to kill nobody, Tom?"
"No.  I been thinkin', long as I'm a outlaw anyways, maybe I could -- Hell, I ain't thought it out clear, Ma.  Don' worry me now.  Don' worry me."

Arthur Rothstein, Younger Members of the Drake Family, Farm Security Administration camp, Weslaco, Texas, 1942

No comments: