She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt or fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall.
— The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck