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.
The Stillborn Baby Quotes in The Grapes of Wrath
The The Grapes of Wrath quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Stillborn Baby. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Grapes of Wrath published in 2002.).
Chapter 30 Quotes
“Go down an' tell 'em. Go down in the street an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way you can talk. Don' even know if you was a boy or a girl. Ain't gonna find out. Go on down now, an' lay in the street. Maybe they'll know then.”