negligent of neatness especially in dress and person
A Model T Ford sedan and a two-wheel trailer were parked beside the shack, and about the camp there hung a
substantially made or constructed
The camp was neat and
sturdy. A Model A roadster and a little home-made bed trailer stood beside the tent.
housing that someone is living in
There were forty tents and shacks, and beside each
habitation some kind of automobile.
a wanderer with no established residence or means of support
“They’ll pick you right off. You got no name, no property. They’ll find you in a ditch, with the blood dried on your mouth an’ your nose. Be one little line in the paper—know what it’ll say? ‘
Vagrant foun’ dead.’ An’ that’s all. You’ll see a lot of them little lines, ‘
Vagrant foun’ dead.’ ”
behave in a certain manner
Ruthie and Winfield stood inside the circle,
comporting themselves with proper frigidity and dignity.
having a quality that thrusts itself into attention
Between his guards Casy sat proudly, his head up and the stringy muscles of his neck
"Prominent" also means "conspicuous in position or importance"--compare this definition and example sentence to "eminent" (both come from the Latin word "minari" which means "to project"). Here, "prominent" refers to Casy's neck muscles; between two guards, he's more eminent here than when he sat between Pa and Uncle John, because he'd stuck out his neck to save Tom and the family.
a low or downcast state
In front of the screen door he took off his hat, dropped it into the dust, and ground it with his heel in self-
submissive or fawning in attitude or behavior
Tom said, “Well—” and then his voice took on a
move about aimlessly or without any destination
Those families which had lived on a little piece of land, who had lived and died on forty acres, had eaten or starved on the produce of forty acres, had now the whole West to
a state of deep-seated ill-will
hostility changed them, welded them, united them—
hostility that made the little towns group and arm as though to repel an invader, squads with pick handles, clerks and storekeepers with shotguns, guarding the world against their own people.
And the roads were crowded with men
ravenous for work, murderous for work.
poor enough to need help from others
skillful in physical movements; especially of the hands
And the girl moved about, poking the fire, shifting the rusty stove lids to make a better draft, opening the oven door; and all the time the baby sucked, and the mother shifted it deftly from arm to arm.
disturbance usually in protest
Last night a band of citizens, infuriated at the
agitation going on in a local squatters’ camp, burned the tents to the ground and warned agitators to get out of the county.
"Agitation" also means "a mental state of extreme emotional disturbance" (which could describe how the migrants feel about the lack of work and food) and "a state of turbulent change or development" (which is what the agitators want to happen), but in the eyes of the citizens, the agitation going on in the camp is so disturbing that they feel justified in burning down the tents.
bright with a steady but subdued shining
The porcelain was
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
He looked up at Ruthie and his eyes filled with tears. His chin quivered. And Ruthie was instantly
in a disloyal and faithless manner
“Me an’ Winfiel’,” she said; and then,
treacherously, “Winfiel’, he bust a toilet.”
This treacherous tattling emphasizes the conflicted relationship between the youngest Joad siblings. It also foreshadows a later scene: here, Ruthie is intentionally acting like a traitor, yet the consequence is Ma's laughter; later, she unintentionally betrays the family's trust in her, and the consequence is that Ma has to let Tom go (which actually helps Tom and the union movement).
giving offense to moral sensibilities
scandalous things goes on in this here camp,” she said darkly.
act violently, recklessly, or destructively
I says, ‘I knowed the devil was rampagin’ in this here camp. Now I know who the devil is. Git back, Satan,’ I says.
having rugged physical strength
There could be no doubt that it was the committee; three ladies, washed, dressed in their best clothes: a lean woman with stringy hair and steel-rimmed glasses, a small
stout lady with curly gray hair and a small sweet mouth, and a mammoth lady, big of hock and buttock, big of breast, muscled like a dray-horse, powerful and sure.
"Stout" also means "fat" (although this adjective is paired with "small" the same woman is later described as "plump"). Another definition of "stout" is "dependable"--this doesn't fit the physical descriptions, but it describes an expectation for the women serving on the Ladies' Committee at the government camp.
cause to be nervous or upset
flustered, “We ain’t in very good shape yet. I’d be proud to have you ladies come an’ set while I make up some coffee.”
in complete agreement
Jessie smiled with pride. “ ’Lected
unanimous,” she said. “Well, Mis’ Joad, I guess it’s time we tol’ you ’bout how the camp runs.”
feeling or manifesting veneration
Jessie’s voice became almost
reverential. “You ever used this here kind?” she asked, and pointed to the toilets.
"Veneration" means "a feeling of profound respect for someone or something"--especially compared to Al's veneration of Tom for killing a man, Jesse's almost reverential tone for a flushing toilet is comical. Both characters' attitudes reveal their lack of experience and wealth.
look with amazement
They strolled down the line of tents, peering into each one,
in a rebellious manner
Winfield had joined the watching children, and he too looked at her with expressionless eyes.
Defiantly she hit the ball again.
demand and take for use or service
Every bit of electric wire had been
expressing extreme scorn
In front of their tents the Jesus-lovers sat and watched, their faces hard and
in a composed and unconcerned manner
And he said
nonchalantly, “I can waltz.”
state of violent mental agitation
The caller, in a
frenzy, tapped his feet, strutted back and forth, went through the figures as he called them.
a stiff hair
Black Hat raised his head, and his
bristled chin showed in the light, and his stringy neck where the whiskers lay flat like fur. “Yeah!” he said bitterly. “You’ll do that. An’ I’m a two-bit man. You’ll take my job for twenty cents. An’ then I’ll git hungry an’ I’ll take my job back for fifteen. Yeah! You go right on an’ do her.”
"Bristle" also means "react in an offended or angry manner" and "rise up as in fear"--the example sentence uses the word as an adjective to physically describe Black Hat's chin, but the verb definitions could describe how Black Hat is reacting to Pa's declaration that he can't feed his family with no money, so he plans to take the job for 20 cents an hour.