Ruthie is of the two smallest children in the Joad’s family. She is twelve years old. She is in that period when a girl wants to be a little one, and at the same time, she starts becoming a lady. In her character we see both – something wild, grim-faced, and serious girl in her very young ladies.
She is shown to us as a girl who can even start a fight if she doesn’t get what she wants. She behaves like a girl who is so much starved for attention, and the only thing she is interested in is how to get what she wants by kicking, screaming and coercing other people. In one of the episodes, she is exactly that person who reveals in a fight that Tom is responsible for the murder at Hooper Ranch which makes him leave the family, run away and hide to escape the police.
Also, she always gets her younger brother Winfield into troubles. By the way, Winfield is the youngest of all children in Joad family. Ma worried very much about his well-being, destiny, having a fear that without the right home he will grow up a wild person. He and Ruthie seem to be the only two characters on who the process of leaving the house didn’t have any effect. Okay, not any, let’s say the least effect.
Ruthie Joad in the Essays