The Grapes of Wrath: Novel Summary: Chapter 7

SummaryIn a masterful display of his command of the language, Steinbeck evokes the way in which used car hustlers seek to take advantage of the displaced “Okies” as they begin their migration to California. The salesmen shamelessly pressure their customers to buy sub-standard vehicles (mostly jalopies) at exorbitant prices. They accomplish sales by manipulating the “Okies” ignorance of negotiation, as well as their trusting nature and their sense of morality: “Dont let em forget theyre takin your time. People are nice, mostly. They hate to put you out. Make em put you out, an then sock it to em.”
This chapter foreshadows what the Joad family will experience when they go to buy a used car for their trip to California. It is obvious that they will be outsmarted by the slick salesmen.