The Grapes of Wrath: Novel Summary: Chapter 24

SummaryAt the Saturday night dance in Weedpatch, Tom and Jule Vitela, a half-Cherokee man, keep watch for the men of whom they have been warned, the men who will attempt to disrupt the festivities. Eventually, they spot three young men who claim they have been invited by one of the camp residents. Their story proves to be false. The three intruders attempt to incite a riot by “cutting in” on other mens dance partners. At the same time, deputy sheriffs who have been alerted by the Farmers Association that there is trouble in the camp, arrive on the scene. The camp guard reports, however, that no riot is taking place, for the three outsiders have been surrounded by Tom and the other men. The deputy sheriffs can only drive away. When Tom demands to know why the three men would turn against their own folk, the answer is an eerie echo of that given by Joe Daviss boy in Chapter 5: “Well, goddamn it, a fella got to eat.” These three young men were hired to make trouble, just as Joe Daviss boy had been hired to tractor the land belonging to his own people. Willie Huston, a leading man in the Weedpatch camp, urges the three would-be troublemakers, “Dont knife your own folks . . . . Youre jes harmin yourself.” Here again Steinbeck stresses the interconnectedness of all people, and the need to preserve that holy relationship.
It is interesting to note that the society within the camp is able to handle any problems and maintain a peaceful environment without requiring the help of law enforcing officers.
Steinbeck again repeats that people need to help each other and not turn against each other for selfish reasons.