John Steinbeck was an excellent observer of human character in my opinion and in “The Grapes of Wrath” a scene spoke to the human condition and how it lead them to simply accepting their lot.
The Joads are at a roadside camp where a number of other poor Okies have gathered. The Joads are cooking for the family and the smell of the food draws a number of other children around who are also hungry. The parents of those hungry children do not want to ASK for food , nor do they want their children to do so.
In so doing they would “admit” that they have failed as parents and can not provide for them and that someone else can do it better. They would rather have their own children go hungry due to their own stubborn pride.
I would contrast this with the traditions of our First nations peoples some of which exist to this day. When a successful hunter made a kill he brought he food back to the tribe. His family would get a portion and then the rest would go into the community freezer where any could help themselves to it. There was no “pride” or “shame” involved when some family went to get some food from that community locker because the provider in that family not as successful in their own hunt.
Now add in a system that rewards people who have an excess with even more excess , and which gives persons more POWER when they have that excess , which is what Capitalism does, and we get the Wealth inequality of today with far too many believing it the way it has to be.