Grapes of Wrath Assignment
When people were forced to move during the depression, they could not carry all their possessions with them. They were forced to sell almost everything they and before they even attempted to move out west towards California.
Cars were packed tight with the things the family needed, and there was no room for anything else. On top of selling regular possessions like furniture, families had to get rid of almost all sentimental possessions before hitting the road.
"This book. My father had it. He liked a book. Pilgrim's Progress. Used to read it. Got his name in it. And his pipe-still smells rank. And this picture-an angel ..... No. Leave it. Burn it."
During and after selling possessions or getting rid of sentimental ones, people often didn't know what to do with themselves. Their possessions had, over the years, become a part of them. Those things were a part of who they were, and it never felt right (and certainly no good) to throw away a part of yourself that you'd cherished for so long.
"They sat and looked at ti and burned it into their memories. How'll it be not to know what land's outside the door? How if you wak dup in the and know-and know the willow tree's not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can't. The willow tree is you."
After living on the same land for generations, leaving there was leaving your identity. Your family and everything you stood for was symbolized by the land you lived on. Sure, the possessions were important and helped define you-but the land is what you truly were. Leaving it meant changing your surroundings and yourself forever.