"Tom," [Ma Joad] said. "What you aimin to do?"
He was quiet for a while. "I been thinkin how it was in that govment camp, how our folks took care a theirseves, an if they was a fight they fixed it theirself; an they wasnt no cops wagglin their guns, but they was better order than them cops ever give. I been a-wonderin why we cant do that all over. Throw out the cops that aint our people. All work together for our own thing - all farm our own lan."
"Tom," Ma repeated, "what you gonna do?"
"What Casy done," he said.
"But they killed him."
"Yeah," said Tom. "He didnt duck quick enough. He wasnt doing nothin against the law, Ma. I been thinkin a hell of a lot, thinkin about our people livin like pigs, an the good rich lan layin fallow, or maybe one fella with a million acres, while a hunderd thousan good farmers is starvin. An I been wonderin if all our folks got together an yelled, like them fellas yelled, only a few of em at the Hooper ranch --"
"They gonna drive me anyways. They drivin all our people."
"You dont aim to kill nobody, Tom?"
"No. I been thinkin, long as Im a outlaw anyways, maybe I could - Hell, I aint thought it out clear, Ma. Don worry me now. Don worry me."
They sat silent in the coal-black cave of vines. Ma said, "Howm I gonna know bout you? They might kill ya an I wouldnt know. They might hurt ya. Howm I gonna know?"
Tom laughed uneasily, Well, maybe like Casy says, a fella aint got a soul of his own, but ony a piece of a big one - and then --"
"Then what, Tom?"
"Then it dont matter. Then Ill be aroun in the dark. Ill be everwhere - wherever you look. Wherever theys a fight so hungry people can eat, Ill be there. Wherever theys a cop beatin up a guy, Ill be there. If Casy knowed, why, Ill be in the way guys yell when theyre mad an - Ill be in the way kids laugh when theyre hungry an they know suppers ready. An when our folks eat the stuff they raise an live in the houses they build - why, Ill be there. See? God, Im talkin like Casy. Comes of thinking about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes."
"I don unerstan," Ma said. "I don really know."
"Me neither," said Tom. "Its jus stuff I been thinkin about. Get thinkin a lot when you aint movin aroun. . . ."
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
"Pretty Boy Floyd" - a well-known folk balad about an Okie who turned into an outlaw (there are distinct parallels to Steinbecks protagonist). The song was recorded, among others, by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez.