Tractors Take Over (6.9 RL)page hidden title

The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects. They crawled over the ground, laying the track and rolling on it and picking it up. Diesel tractors, puttering while they stood idle; they thundered when they moved, and then settled down to a droning roar. Snubnosed monsters, raising the dust and sticking their snouts into it, straight down the country, across the country, through fences, through dooryards, in and out of gullies [valleys] in straight lines. They did not run on the ground, but on their own roadbeds. They ignored hills and gulches, water courses, fences, houses.

The man sitting in the iron seat did not look like a man; gloved, goggled, rubber dust mask over nose and mouth, he was a part of the monster, a robot in the seat. The thunder of the cylinder sounded through the country, became one with the air and the earth, so that earth and air muttered in sympathetic [shared] vibration. The driver could not control it– straight across country it went, cutting through a dozen farms and straight back.
Answer the following questions about the paragraph you just read.

What does the paragraph describe?

  1. Monsters
  2. Tractors
  3. Insects
  4. Robots

In the first sentence, what does the phrase “moving like insects” indicate about the machines?

  1. They flew over the ground
  2. They kicked up dust
  3. They crawled across the ground
  4. They moved quickly

The author describes the driver of the tractor as “a part of the monster, a robot in the seat” (lines 12-13). How does the author feel about the driver?

  1. He is cold and uncaring.
  2. He is doing a good job.
  3. He is smart to use the tractor to plant more crops.
  4. He is a robotic machine.

The author writes, “they thundered when they moved” (lines 4-5). Is this literal or non-literal language? Explain your response.

Analyze Text Structure
This passage describes an event that took place during the Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930s. Many farmers lost their jobs because new machines could do their work. In addition, drought was destroying the farmland.

As you read, think about connections that you can make in order to understand the selection.

  • Do the characters remind me of people I know or have read about?
  • What other historical event can I make a connection to?
  • Do I know of something happening in the world today that is similar?

Share your answers with a partner. Discuss the connections you were each able to make.