And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men – to feel whether this time the men would break. The women studied the men’s faces secretly, for the corn could go, as long as something else remained.
– John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 1. As the men watch their ruined corn, the women watch the men. This passage reveals the hope of the women and how they support their men, following the dust storm’s devastation of the crops. Interestingly the possibility of the men’s spirits breaking is mentioned, but not the women. This suggests that the ones carrying the torch of inner strength and hope in the family are the women. As long as their men refuse to give up and hold onto the hope of a better crop next time, then all is not lost, they believe.