The questions of the driver had the tone of a subtle examination. He seemed to spread nets, to set traps, with his questions.
– John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 2. The truck driver asks persistent question of Tom – about his new shoes, if is he going far, and if he has been doing a job. Tom is reluctant to share too much information with the driver. This passage speaks to the theme of the isolation of Tom Joad. Tom is an ex-con who has just been released from prison, having served time for killing a man in a fight, and is trying to adjust to the outside world.