Rose of Sharon’s
stillborn baby is a literal representation of the inhumane conditions that the migrant laborers must endure. The failed pregnancy symbolizes the impossibility of cultivating life in the toxic environment of hostility, prejudice, and extortion that the Okies face day in and day out in California. Uncle John
sends the baby’s remains down the floodwaters, he hopes that all who see the small corpse will recognize it as a symbol of the oppression and abjection that prevent the migrant workers from living happily.