Roadkill in “The Grapes of Wrath”

Bleakness and death permeate John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, even in the seemingly minor descriptions of going down that barren road. As the truck came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it. His front wheel struck the edge of the edge of the shell, flipped the turtle like a tiddlywink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway. (15)

The rabbit hesitated, faltered and then turned and bolted towards the lesser lights of the Dodge. There was a soft jolt as he went under the wheels “We sure squashed him,” said Casy. (185)

A rattlesnake crawled across the road and Tom hit it and broke it and left it squirming. (230)