Character Development In East Of Eden Characters are what make a novel interesting, and more realistic. A novel with well rounded, well-developed characters is often what leads an author to an award winning novel. It would not be possible without the use of fundamental characters. For a novel to be interesting, the characters must appeal to the reader. They must grab the readers attention, and be able to keep the reader interested throughout the entire novel. In John Steinbeck's novel, East of Eden, the characters are unusual, realistic, and intersting, all which contribute to the appeal of the novel. These characters appeal to the reader, and the reader is able to sympathize with most characters, from the most upstanding citizen to the ruthless seductress.
Faye, although the owner of a whorehouse, is depicted a respectable, honorable woman, by the description Steinbeck gives her. Although she owns a whorehouse, she has made it the cleanest, and in many ways, the best whorehouse of all the others around her.
Steinbeck regards her as being a good citizen, and a moral person. All of the girls who work in her whore house respect Faye, and look up to her. As the interaction between Kathy and Faye persist, many of the girls who work at Faye's become fearful of her safety. Kathy slowly poisons Faye, and when Faye dies, the tone at the whorehouse drastically changes, as the girls become more suspicious of Kate.
Faye, being the good person that she was, loved Kate, and left her business to her. When Kate took over, the girls suddenly live in fear of Kate. Kate is probably the most interesting, and gripping character in East of Eden, due to her sedectiveness, and her evil personality.
In Steinbeck's first description of Kathy he depicts her as a victim of genetics. It was just a mere coincidence that such an evil human arose from her two good parents. The reader can sympathize that she is a victim of nature, a common trait of realism. Her actions are merely a result of here natural instincts to be bad. Her character is the most complex in the novel. Her most interesting aspect is her reaction to alcohol, another interesting trait that draws the reader in. Her actions shock the reader, her boldness and independence was a reflection of the women's movement that is still a major appeal to the women of today. The introduction of Kathy in chapter 8 was a turning point in the novel, since her introduction she became an intricate character throughout the novel.
Samuel Hamilton, a poor Irish farmer, is the most respectable character in the novel. His adversities reflect those that humans face everyday.
Although he has a vast amount of land due to the size of his family, his land is baron and practically worthless. His family is poor; yet is able to come together through adversity. Samuel ends up burying his own daughter, Una, who was his favorite daughter. Death is a struggle that Samuel is unable to face, giving vast depth to his character. He is able to see past the race of an individual, and see the individual for who they really are, a trait admirable in today's world. Samuel although an admirable man, is shadowed by another complex citizen, Faye.
Interesting characters are able to make a book into a page turner. If a reader is able to relate to a certain character, then the effect of the book will be more personal and profound. The only way for an author to develop characters is to make a personal connection. Steinbeck did just that, Kathy was modeled after his first wife, who he grew to despise. Connections like these enable the reader to make their own connections, which will tie them to the book forever.