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Word Count: 663
The most significant character in the novel is Ma Joad Without her emphasis on the family the Joads would not have persisted Ma Joad one of the central female characters in John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath is significant due to her emphasis on the importance of persevering The novel portrays the story of a struggling family the Joads who are forced from their home in Oklahoma and head to California in search for work and prosperity Their long strenuous journey to the land of milk and honey pg is accompanied by challenges that serve only to strengthen the human spirit Ma Joad a spirited woman sustaining a gentle motherly nature is the pillar of strength the entire Joad family is dependent on Through their reliance she transcends the stereotypical female position rising up as a leader Through the course of the pilgrimage Ma exhibits excellent self-control and inner strength She is in fact the backbone of the family having the knowledge within herself that it is essential she remains strong in order for the Joads to survive Ma exercises self-control in many circumstances the family encounters This is particularly evident through her reaction when Ruthie tells some children about Toms secret Quote The family becomes nervous and enraged over the situation but Ma restores order through her handling of the situation in a calm and collected manner Quote It must be kept in mind that Ma is just as frightened as the rest of the family She is acutely aware however that if she is to portray her fear the survival of her family will be placed in jeopardy Ma takes into consideration the fact that Old Tom and the children cannot know hurt or fear unless she acknowledges hurt or fear Pg Enlightened with this understanding Ma maintains a front for their benefit Instead of acknowledging her fears she practices denying them in herself Pg It is Mas self-control and
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