Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding.

– John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 8. Ma Joad is presented as a formidable mother of great dignity, strength and understanding of life’s pain. Her eyes reflect her experience of suffering in her life, but at the same time she has the strength to hide this behind an outer appearance of calm.