The children stood near by, drawing figures in the dust with bare toes, and the children sent exploring senses out to see whether men and women would break.

– John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 1. When the people emerge from their homes after the dust storm, the numbness and subdued feelings of the parents spills over onto the children. They don’t run about shouting and playing as they normally would. Instead they quietly draw figures in the all-pervasive dust, waiting to discover if their fathers and mothers will break or not.