You do, John. You do have the megaphone.
The preacher is around a bit less in these chapters, so there is less OVERT preaching, but let us not kid ourselves. Every plot point is there so that Steinbeck can talk about how Rich People's Is Bad, AMIRITE, and also owning things makes you the devil (unless it's a pig, in which case OWN THAT BAD BOY WITH YOUR MOUTH). And I'm only sort-of kidding about the Atlas Shrugged thing- Steinbeck is using the same tools of emotional manipulation to make a purposeful political point. It's a point I agree with scores more (but not completely) than I do with Rand, but it's the same method.
I like this bit: "But how can such courage be, and such faith in their own species? Very few things would teach such faith. The people in flight from the terror behind- strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refired forever."
QUESTION: why does no one go to Canada? Why does no one flee Oklahoma for, say Virginia or Florida or maybe the nice dairy-places in Wisconsin? I mean HANDBILLS, etc., but once the second person fleeing California was all YOU WILL STARVE, I would have been a bit WE ARE LEAVING AND GOING ELSEWHERE.
Also. I was weary of some sexism that's presented in the first section (I know, I know, the times and all), but Ma pretty much lays that to rest. WITH A GIANT PIECE OF METAL AND THEN AGAIN WITH A SKILLET. I am enjoying Steinbeck's homage to the matriarchal spirit in this character. When she drives all night on top of a car next to a dead relative because she must ensure that her clan makes it across the desert? That's some gangsta, tribal-warfare shiz going on right there. Ma for President.
No one leaves the Joads until Ma says so. Except for Noah. We're sort of fine with that.
So, to summarize: I appreciate what Steinbeck is trying to do, and man does the fella have a way with words, but honestly I think the book could double as a really long socialist pamphlet. I don't like things that can double as any sort of pamphlet. I don't remember East of Eden being like this. I'm finding it tiresome, no matter how much I agree with it. But! The writing, it redeems the book for me so far. ONWARD TO THE SAD YOU KNOW IS COMING!