Not as roundly developed as Ma, Pa represents the theme of the loss of human dignity. Losing the farm seems to "take somepin' out of Old Tom," and now that he can no longer provide for his family, he often seems lost or bewildered. At the beginning of the story, Pa is still the head of the family and, as such, is given due respect. However, as the family meets with increasingly difficult situations, he begins to relinquish his role as leader to Ma or Tom, depending on the situation. Pa is no longer able to provide in the traditional sense, and this renders him alternately angry or passive, but rarely productive. In the stories Tom tells, and in Tom's own character, we catch a glimpse of what Pa was probably like before being tractored off his land: strong, suspicious of strangers, fiercely independent, and capable of a murderous temperament when pushed around.