Posts Tagged ‘Henry Fonda. mean-mad’

Grapes of wrathIn the movie version of Grapes of Wrath, Ma Joad worries that prison has changed her son, Tommy (Henry Fonda). She asks, “Did they hurt you an’ make you mean-mad?”

Tommy reassures her, “No, Ma. I was at first, but not no more.”

Still she probes more, “Sometimes they do somethin’ to you. 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 nor man any Ma Joadmore–just a ole walkin’ chunk a mean-mad. Did they hurt you that way, son?”

The incident is in the book as well, but in a slighter different format.

I’m afraid that there are a lot of mean-mad-s walking around on our streets, men and women who have survived the prison system, but are angry at life and angry at authority after what they’ve gone through. Some men, however, seem to survive prison with good grace and they could say Henry Fondawith Tommy, “No, Ma, I ain’t no mean-mad.”

In my opinion, prison produces far more mean-mad-s than it does good citizens. What’s your opinion?

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