Paul Fisher
Paul Fisher asked:

How did you feel about the ending?

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Elizabeth Hook They shared when they had nothing, shared the last thing they possibly could, but they gave. That last piece summed up the most powerful message I felt in the book. The one of sharing, when the I becomes the we.A persons dignity can never be robbed from them as long as they have something to give. I loved it, it took my breath away.
Greg I liked the ending very much. I thought it ridiculous when Tom Joad delivers his "heroic" speech while hiding in a bush. Tom Joad is no hero. Ma is the hero of this story, certainly! And at the end, when a woman is the only one who offers to try to save a starving man, Steinbeck redeems his theme: while men are trying to destroy the world, women are trying to save it. This was a revelatory ending for me!
Paul Fisher I certainly had to do a double take on the last page, i thought "did i just read what i thought i read?"!
Jean Cole The ending was strange, no doubt. But for all its strangeness it sent the message that there is hope. As long as there is life, there is hope.
Adam Moore She was, after all, the Rose of Sharing.
Ron Tears flowed freely down my cheeks as I finished reading the last line. I read the book 50 years ago but the feelings it stirred in my psyche still haunt me. It envisioned in me a strong feeling of hope and hopeless all rolled into one if that's possible.
Benjamin Marcher It definitely surprised me, and shocked me a little, and confused me, and disturbed me, and grossed me out a tiny bit, but the ending was powerful, nonetheless!
Matt Just finished my first read. Given the circumstances, I thought the ending was sweet and tender. Normally it would be appalling, but these people have been through so much.
David Brutal, yet beautiful. Rose of Sharon had lost everything but found her dignity at last, and she helped a fellow human being in need in the only way she could, and indeed as only she could do in that time and place. It gave me goosebumps the first time I read it in high school, and it still does.
Denise Stevens
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Michele I'll remember it as one of the most powerful and moving endings a book can have. Sentimental? No sir: this is life at its rawest, tragedy and glory as one, love and mercy winning even in the most brutal circumstances. It started as a novel, it ended as a poem.
Shawn I turned the page and thought "Where's the rest of it?" It was a bit of a shock and I had to read it a few times to believe it. That being said, it's Steinbeck - he's not exactly known for happy endings, but REAL endings. I'll take the masterful prose and the REAL ending any day over sickeningly sweet garble with a sugar-coated ending.
anmaya The ending was powerful... I started crying. From the best endings I have ever read.
Tom At first it seemed abrupt and I was left wondering whether the flood waters would sweep all of them away. Then I realized a neatly finished plot was less important than a dramatic portrayal of generosity even in the face of death. Shortly after finishing the novel, I hunted up the John Ford movie version. It has some great scenes by a young Henry Fonda, but a ridiculous don't-worry closing speech by Ma bouncing happily along in the jalopy. Steinbeck must have retched.
kio It sure gave me a wild fancy to think about! I sometimes lay in a barn waiting for someone to offer their nipple.














Charles Bill McKenny In the 50s and 60s schools would sometimes tear off the last page of this book in the library or in classroom copies. Imagine how confusing that must have been.
Lindsey I don't get a sentimental thing from it at all. I think it could have meant two things - First one: symbolically unnatural act representing defiance, protest at the unfairness of our existence here on earth. 'We tried to play it your way Nature but ...' The second one: These people did nothing wrong but have a battle against nature - all along. Industry came along - but even before that - farmers are closest to nature and taming it and they were battling then - but at the point where this book starts and ends, they were being 'punished' all along. Despite this the human 'spirit' kept them going. So it could also have been a powerful symbol of the innate goodness of human spirit winning no matter what.
Bruce Foster I found it entirely in keeping with the book.
Memizuki I just read everyone answers. So hope is found in the last little bit of the book, perhaps the ability to finally save a life. So is that it, is that all the Steinbeck was getting at is hope. I really expected a little more, I wanted to see that their struggle for survival ended in a path of potential, a place where they would get work and settle down. That is what disappointed me the most.
Marshall Borrus yeah, turned me off
Emirhan i love that ending. It ends with cut to black with rain and nature sounds in my mind.
MIKE
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Dengyi Wang The ending is very good. It shows the struggle continues and this is real life. In the meantime, they carry on the fight with their dignity. Just it is a little bitter for me. I am not asking for a happy ending, which would destroy the realistic of the story. I just hope there would be a slight hint for a brighter life in the future.
Josie Gross af. Like, Rosasharn, wut r u doing??
G.K. It was a powerfull ending but I really wanted to know what happend to Tom
Julia Shore Perfect ending. Hit home that only people who have nothing will help others. It made me hate the US more than Michael Moore.
Rae I believe the ending of a book should tie up the contents and underline the whole message the author wants to convey. I really don’t feel as if this book did it for me. The event that ended this novel could have happened at any time but did not deserve to be the final concluding moment. It had symbolism but did not strengthen the book whatsoever and frankly made such an epic novel fall flat ultimately
Christina The rest of the book was brilliant and humanizing and all that goodness. The last bit I thought, "Steinbeck knows nothing about breastfeeding!" First off, your milk doesn't come in for some time yet and the first bits are just a teaspoon's worth and a grown man, likely with some teeth, is not going to be good at suckling. Plus, if she hasn't been eating well her milk may not even come in!

I know I should be more flexible and allow for some artistic interpretation, but it all feels so incongruent with the rest of the story's realism. If we were given vague symbolism throughout, maybe I could accept it more. It's like Steinbeck decided to use it as an excuse to have his "creepy old man at the teat of a young woman" fantasy spelled out; it almost felt like a different author. I'm sorry but I can't hold back, this book is amazing save for that last bit.
Michael Chapman Astonishing. Goodreads is telling me that's too short an answer, so again: Astonishing.
Trevor Kadiata It questioned the idea of American religiosity for me. The baby's death is exactly as predicted by an overzealous christian. is the author commenting on American christianity, a confluence of christianity and earthly amusement, through his treatment of Rosasharn's baby? there is a prolongation of lived life through her breastfeeding a strange man however, not a rejuvenation through new births. No hope.
Michal I was particularly stunned by the ending, especially that it focused on the act of doing good, at the same time letting the reader forget about the tragedy of Joad family and uncertainty concerning their future. The last smile of Rose of Sharon, though, may foreshadow upcomming (yet hardly believable) happiness and relief...
FRANK MARKER I became so absorbed with the narrative, particularly with the abrupt conclusion, and indeed so much so, that I even penned a sequel to the ending ...
John Christian I found the ending strange when I was reading it. Afterwards thinking about it, i guess the point the author was trying to make is that often poor people will look out for each other, and share whatever they have. In contrast, the wealthy farm owners in this story are only interested in financial gain and will force people into starvation in order to get it.
Elaheh Farmad I ended the book and it was raining outside. Pouring water was hitting against roofs and I felt weird. It was like the Jades were just there, outside...
Leslie I don't like, I would have preferred an ending where there is a hope to their plight.
Stanisław Ryguła What seems to be an ending of the story, to me, is only a beginning of... hope.
Jennifer
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Felicia I liked it. The Joan's will continue to persevere and likely encounter more tragedy along the way. However,in do wish there was an epilogue. I want to know what becomes of the Joan's. Do they make it?
Candice It took years and a re-read before I truly understood the ending.
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