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Louis CK On “The Grapes of Wrath” Ending

I’ve pontificated on the ending of The Grapes of Wrath in the past. I’ve even been criticized for calling it “creepy” because art and all that.

If you haven’t read the novel, well, (SPOILER ALERT) it ends with a grown man breastfeeding from a woman he just met. He’s literally about to starve to death. So, yeah, quite an ending.

It’s good to know that I have company in being perplexed at The Grapes of Wrath‘s ending. In fact, comedian Louis CK had a few things to say about it in one of his standup routines. I watched this on HBO last week and couldn’t help but share with you guys.

Fair warning–this short clip is definitely NSFW. That’s “not safe for work” for the less than hip.

Enjoy.

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. I also found the ending a little…odd. I wouldn’t go so far as creepy, and I did like it, it just always seemed like it didn’t fit, hard to describe.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 16, 2015
  2. Reblogged this on and commented:
    “~.” …

    Like

    December 16, 2015
  3. Love

    Like

    December 16, 2015
  4. It has been a looooong time since I read it (33 years), and although it was obviously a bit of a surprise, it felt like it was sort of the only way it could end. I definitely didn’t find the ending out of place – it was shocking, but by that time I was all shocked out by the privation. It’s not exactly sweetness and light headed there, and if anything it leaves you with a little bit of hope. I wonder if the ‘creepy’ reaction is more male than female? As in maybe men see women’s breasts as primarily sexual, whereas women also see them as sustenance (certainly if they have fed a baby)? Although I hadn’t had a baby at that point, I remember as I read it, I was willing her to do it – maybe I’m just as creepy as Steinbeck :-O I think I felt like at least her milk wasn’t wasted with her baby dying, and that through death another could live – that there was some glimmer of hope in a book of abject misery.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 16, 2015
  5. True

    Like

    December 16, 2015
  6. Kind of like Eric the red and his dad … Bloody Great!

    Like

    December 16, 2015
  7. Or , we could chat here ?

    Like

    December 16, 2015
  8. I recently read East of Eden and really enjoyed it and was hoping to read this one. oops. Should have heeded the spoiler alert.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 17, 2015
  9. I agree wholeheartedly with glitterfluff. It was not creepy at all. It was survival. And, it’s been a long time for me too, but if I recall correctly, it was Ma’s idea, not Rose of Sharon’s. As stunning an profound an ending as I’ve ever read.

    Although the end of “Roots” was also a slam in the chest.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 17, 2015
  10. best ending of all time. It feels creepy because it seems more animal than human

    Liked by 1 person

    December 17, 2015
  11. I do find it to be weird too…but at the same time does seem logical. I think when I read it I was still too sad about the baby to be too creeped out by the end though. I love Steinbeck’s work, East of Eden is my favourite and I’ve read it quite a few times now.
    Although I think if you are looking for anything to..be more creepy…than the ending of Grapes of Wrath, then Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury will do it. (If you haven’t read it, it’s like the sequel to Dandelion Wine- I love Dandelion Wine but I don’t like Farewell Summer as much..I was just too creeped out). SPOILER: as an old man he basically writes about not being able to get…up. If you know what I mean. But instead of a paragraph it’s an entire chapter. Again, I love Bradbury as a writer…except I was totally creeped out by him after reading that. It’s said when our favourite authors let us down (no pun intended…).

    Like

    December 18, 2015
  12. Matt #

    I’m not creeped out at all. In fact, I saw a production of “The Greaps of Wrath” on stage at Trinity Rep in Providence and I found the scene to be very moving. And hopeful.

    Like

    December 18, 2015
  13. It is certainly a disturbing ending. The Grapes of Wrath is the best novel I have read to date.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 18, 2015
  14. I taught a religion and literature course to seniors in high school, so as part of the course, we read The Grapes of Wrath and looked at all the biblical and Christian allusions in the novel. The students were very sincere and mature throughout our study, even when the novel came to a close. Mostly, they were stunned at the depth of Steinbeck’s work and also at the plight of the Oakies during the Dustbowl days. (Google Earth has a great resource for this, by the way.)

    For me, the last scene in TGOW glows with the resonance of the Pieta by Michelangelo. I keep returning to that iconic vision in order to better understand the ending (which was criticized as inappropriate and abrupt at the time of the novel’s publication). The scene resonates with the self-giving mother-love that is pictured in the Pieta statue, and also in the Christian symbol of the pelican who bares her heart’s blood to feed her nestlings.

    Like

    December 19, 2015
  15. I yet have to read this one.

    Like

    December 23, 2015
  16. I was a teenager when I started this, but I don’t think I ever finished it. I think I should!!

    Like

    December 25, 2015
  17. Thought you might enjoy this Stephen Fry short review of Ulysses. In it, he calls attention to The Great Gatsby.

    Like

    December 28, 2015
  18. Among all the top mentioned books One Book for Life Success is the best inspirational book because i had already gone through this book.I got inspired & motivated through many concepts in this book.

    Like

    January 4, 2016
  19. l #

    One of the very best books I have read! I had several doctors apportments in a local hospital, and this was the book,Grapes…, that I carried with me to appointments at the time. People always asked me what I was reading and if it was good. Some had already read it and the comments from them were, best book, never forgot it, great writing, etc. and, they were all right! Lettie Davis

    Like

    July 7, 2017

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