This chapter recounts the saga of the growth of farming as an industry. What allowed the Americans to seize California from the Mexicans was their hunger for the land, which overpowered any desire that the comfortable Mexicans felt. Over time, the descendants of these American squatters grow into landowners. Gradually, farms expand, and laborers are imported from overseas to aid the harvest. By this point, the owners are abusive and alienated from the harmonious, natural act of farming.
Once people become alienated from their work and the land, they become weak and complacent. This allows their land to be taken. Conversely, it is the hunger of deprivation that allows people to improve their lot. But the cycle continues, and those who were once hungry themselves become wealthier, crueler, and complacent.
The dispossessed Okies are forced to travel west for work. They are despised by the landowners because the owners fear their resilience, and the other Californians hate Okies because their wretchedness brings down wages.
The Okies are met with hostility because their desperate hunger threatens the comfort of the people they encounter.
The Okies live together in makeshift villages called Hoovervilles. They dream of having a small amount of land to cultivate, and some try to farm fallow land on the sly. These men are arrested for trespassing, even though they do no harm.
The trespassing incident is a clear demonstration of the way the laws of the rich serve no real purpose, except to harm those most in need. The migrants were farming unused land.
In one of the camps, a child dies of pellagra, a disease caused by malnutrition. The child’s family receives donations from the other residents of the Hooverville.
While the rich do nothing, those with the least still pitch in to assist the less fortunate.