a process in which an agent causes an organic substance to break down into simpler substances; especially, the anaerobic breakdown of sugar into alcohol
The example sentence describes pears that are left to rot because small farms can't afford to pick, pack, and ship the fruit to canneries; it also emphasizes that this situation will ferment the starving farmers into "a state of agitation or turbulent change or development."
The yellow-jackets dig into the soft meat, and there is a smell of ferment and rot.
"Denounce" comes from the Latin "nuntiare" which means "to announce or report" and "nuntius" which means "messenger" but neither the roots nor the definitions "to accuse or condemn openly as disgraceful" and "to speak out against" is enough to address the crime of burning and wasting food that children could eat to avoid starving to death.
There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation.
And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath.
When Tom asks Ma whether she is deliberately making Pa angry, she reveals, "Take a man, he can get worried an’ worried, an’ it eats out his liver, an’ purty soon he’ll jus’ lay down and die with his heart et out. But if you can take an’ make ’im mad, why, he’ll be awright."
As a verb, "pall" can mean "become less interesting or attractive"--after life in a clean and cooperative government camp, moving to a dusty place palls for Ruthie and Winfield. The use of the noun "pall" could foreshadow misfortune, not only because of its connection to "numbing dread" but also to a "burial garment in which a corpse is wrapped."
The pall had fallen on Ruthie and Winfield. They did not dash away to inspect the place. They stayed close to the truck, close to the family.
‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif’ up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.’
They splashed out through the water, to the towns, to the country stores, to the relief offices, to beg for food, to cringe and beg for food, to beg for relief, to try to steal, to lie. And under the begging, and under the cringing, a hopeless anger began to smolder.
An eddy is "a miniature whirlpool"--this definition and the verb "boiled" make the movement of the stream sound more violent, which is more evident in the following description: "the streams thundered under the churning freshets." While the rain and streams actually create conflicts, they also represent the overall sorrowful and turbulent nature of the characters' current lives (similar to the dust and heat at the beginning of the novel).