«The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and then took the migrant way to the West. In the daylight they scuttled like bugs to the west-ward ; and as the dark caught them, they clustered like bugs near to shelter and to water. And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a new mysterious place, they huddled together ; they talked together ; they shared their lives, their food, and the things they hoped for in the new country. Thus it might be that one family camped near a spring, and another camped for the spring and for company, and a third because two families had pioneered the place and found it good. And when the sun went down, perhaps twenty families and twenty cars were there.
In the evening a strange thing happened : the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream. And it might that a sick child threw despair into the hearts of twenty families, of a hundred people ; that a birth there in a tent kept a hundred people quiet and awestruck through the night and filled a hundred people with the birth-joy in the morning. A family which the night before had been lost and fearful might search its goods to find a present for a new baby. In the evening, sitting about the fires, the twenty were one. They grew to be units of the camps, units of the evenings and the nights. A guitar unwrapped from a blanket and tuned – and the songs, which were all the people, were sung in the nights. Men sang the words, and women hummed the tunes.
Every night a world created, complete with furniture – friends made and enemies established ; a world complete with braggarts and with cowards, with quiet men, with humble men, with kindly men. Every night relationships that make a world, established ; and every morning the world torn down like a circus.»
1939,The Grapes of the Wrath, Chapter 17, Viking Press.