A turtle moves slowly across a run-down highway, struggling to climb a steep embankment. As it works its way across the road, a woman in a sedan swerves to avoid running it over, and the turtle continues plodding on. Soon after, a man in a truck comes down the road, and goes out of his way to run the turtle over. The turtle is thrown across the highway and lands on its back. It slowly manages to turn itself over, and continues on its way, down the embankment on the other side of the highway.
Throughout the book, animals often represent the concept of powerlessness. The turtle’s persistence in the face of adversity symbolizes the perseverance of the Oklahoma farmers, who, like the turtle, receive both kind and malicious treatment from the humans they encounter.