A Walking Chunk of Mean-Mad

Posted: September 14, 2014 by Ed Griffin in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

There is a scene in the movie version of Grapes of Wrath where Ma Joad worries that prison has changed her son, Tommy (Henry Fonda). She says:

But I gotta fin’ out somepin’ else first, Tommy.

Did they hurt you, son? Did they

hurt you an’ make you mean-mad?

TOM

(puzzled)

Mad, Ma?

MA

Sometimes they do.

TOM

(gently)

No, Ma I was at first–but not no more

MA

(not yet convinced)

Sometimes they do somethin’ to you,

Tommy. They hurt you–and you get

mad–and then you get mean–and they

hurt you again–and you get meaner,

and meaner–till you ain’t no boy or

no man any more, but just a walkin’

chunk a mean-mad. Did they hurt you

like that, Tommy?

TOM

(grinning)

No, Ma. You don’t have to worry about that.

MA

Thank God. I–I don’t want no mean son

(She loves him with  her eyes)

That’s what everyone wants, that nobody leave prison as “a walkin’

chunk a mean-mad.”

I wonder how Ma Joad would feel about prisons today.

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