Sunday 29 November 2015

Tom Joad's "I'll Be There" Speech

"Whenever there's a fight so hungry people can eat.  I'll be there." (Tom Joad)

Okies piled into their Model T's, overloaded with their worldly possessions, and rumbled down a dusty Route 66 to California during the Great Depression, searching for work in the "Promised Land".  Tom Joad, the main character in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, was fed up with begging for food, begging for a job, begging for dignity.  He parts ways with his family, delivering a tear-jerker speech to his mother.

"Well maybe it's like Casy says.  A fella ain't got a soul of his own -- just a little piece of a big soul.  The one big soul that belongs to everybody.  Then it don' matter.  I'll be around in the dark.  I'll be everywhere -- wherever you can look.  Whenever there's a fight so hungry people can eat.  I'll be there.  Whenever there's a cop beatin' up a guy.  I'll be there.  I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad.  I'll be the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready.  And when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build.  I'll be there, too."

To listen to the speech from the 1939 movie The Grapes of Wrath, visit

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