And now Ma’s mouth set hard. She said softly, "On’y way you gonna get me to go is whup me." She moved the jack handle gently again. "An’ I’ll shame you, Pa. I won’t take no whuppin’, cryin’ an’ a-beggin’. I’ll light into you. An’ you ain’t so sure you can whup me anyways. An’ if ya do get me, I swear to God I’ll wait till you got your back turned, or you’re settin’ down, an’ I’ll knock you belly-up with a bucket. I swear to Holy Jesus’ sake I will."

– John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 16. Ma Joad demonstrates her mettle when she revolts against the idea of Tom and Casy and Al remaining behind to repair the car, while the rest continue the journey in the truck. She threatens to fight her husband with a jack handle for agreeing to the proposal to split up the group. This passage illustrates how vitally important the family staying together is to Ma Joad. It also shows who is the real power in the family, as Ma makes this strong challenge to Pa’s authority.