One of the most important morals of the story is to value and hold on to your family. Without family, who would help take care of you and help you hold on when times get rough? This family does all that they can do to stay together, even though sometimes it is not enough.
When Tom gets out of prison, he goes straight back to his family farm (Steinbeck 8). He had no job, and his prospects did not look very good, as he had just gotten out of prison for killing a man. There is not much he really could have done if he had not had his family to go back to. When he finds them, he goes out to California with them to find jobs together.
When the family members start walking off, honestly, I was a little relieved. My thought process went a little like: Now they have one less person to worry about feeding. Then I started thinking about it a little bit more. How would I feel if my little sister walked off in a strange place, all alone? I instantly felt sad and worried, and understood what the Joad family must have felt when shortly after leaving four family members died or walked out on them.
When Tom get in trouble for killing another guy, his family hides him until they can all leave (Steinbeck 330). If it had not been for his family, Tom would have been caught the very next morning. Furthermore, if they had not brought food to him while he was hiding, he may have starved to death (Steinbeck 333). His family does their very best to take care of him, and because of it he keeps his life.
Most of the time, I take my family for granted because they are always there. Reading about this family and the struggles they went through, I started to appreciate how much my family means to me, and how awful my life would be if I did not have them to listen to me and help me when I need it.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.