Sunday, May 11, 2008

but the river it goes right on

Every time Mother's Day rolls around, I think of this one particular quote from The Grapes of Wrath. It's well suited and is not some questionable word association that wouldn't make a lick of sense to anyone else. I have a lot of those. Words and images and ideas that randomly bumped into each other once in my brain and then, dubiously, remain attached. And it doesn't matter how long it's been, how weak the connection might be, the relationship endures. Like the way I'll always think of Clowns anytime someone says Clear when specifically speaking of traffic. It's all clear. And in my head, I see Clowns. Don't expect further explanation. I have no idea.

But this one makes sense. I think the first time I discovered The Grapes of Wrath it must have been in the spring and around Mother's Day and I must have read that little passage and thought, yes. Not the first time I read the book, that was much earlier, before I had any perspective. It wasn't all that long ago, really, that I brought the audiobook home from the library and was completely astonished by it. I was astonished that something so ubiquitous and referenced could actually be so good. And then immediately after listening to it (and if you haven't listened to it, I sure recommend it, says someone who loves to read and generally disdains audiobooks. The version read by Dylan Baker is fantastic), I borrowed an old harback copy and read through all my favorite parts.

So in my head, I can hear this certain passage being read and I can see it in the borrowed library book, but since I've never read through the thrifted paperback copy on my shelf, I can't find it.

You'd think if I hit the right google keywords, I'd be able to dig up the excerpt somewhere online, but the only quotes I pull up are from the movie.

I've seen the 1940 production and I enjoyed it, but it's no substitute or even near comparison to the book. But Ma Joad has a line that's just about the same as the book, so I'm sharing that one with you. I can't remember how it's different in the book. I'll keep looking and report back.

A woman can change better'n a man. A man lives, sorta, well, in jerks. Baby's born and somebody dies, and that's a jerk. He gets a farm or loses it, and that's a jerk. With a woman, it's all in one flow like a stream. Little eddies and waterfalls, but the river it goes right on. A woman looks at it that way.


1 comment:

Angelina said...

That's a wonderful passage and almost makes me want to plunge into that dusty thirsty poor depressing world that Steinbeck inevitably draws me into.

I kind of prefer hearing the best bits from you though.

That really is a great little piece.