Summary and Analysis Chapter 23



The migrant people search for pleasures as they search for food and work, a necessity for survival during the hard times. They tell stories to one another, some made-up, some from the movie pictures. Those with a little money get drunk to deaden the pain of their situation. Others play music: Harmonica, guitar and fiddle; bands are formed and dances held. Young people dance to release their energy and older members of the community clap and tap their toes. At the end of the evening, the young dancers pair off and go out into the darkness.


This relatively light-hearted intercalary chapter prefigures the camp dance to take place in the next narrative chapter by describing the various diversions enjoyed by the migratory people despite their daily hardships. The various aspects of folk culture and character are woven together in the music, dance, and group forms of entertainment of these people who have been thrown together by circumstances.


Geronimo (c. 1829-1909), Apache Indian chief.

newsreel a short motion picture of recent news events, shown as part of the program in motion picture theaters.

Cherokee a member of a North American Indian people formerly inhabiting a large area of the south Allegheny Mountains, now in Oklahoma and North Carolina.