East Of Eden

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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East Of Eden 1.How does your final reaction to the novel differ from your initial impression? My final reaction to the novel changed completely. When I began the story the first chapter was about Steinbeck and how he remembers growing up in Salinas Valley. Once I got deeper into the story it started developing into a battle of good vs. Evil. At the beginning evil was winning the battle , Cyrus Trask don't show no kind of sympathy or goodness to his son Charles instead he shows favoritism toward Adam. Charles gets jealous of what he see. When their dad died, goodness starts to flourish. Charles settles down as a successful farmer and becomes a warm kind hearted person and starts to show love for his brother Adam.

The novel is widespread and complex, including three generations.

It greatly ignores the compacting factors of time, place and character. It is tightly held together by the theme of goodness succeeds over evil throughout the characters of Adam and Cal.

2. How does the main character change throughout the novel? In this book I think there is more than one main character, but the one I will chose will be Charles. Charles shows goodness in the novel, even though evil took over his at times because his father always loved Adam more than him. One example of jealousy and hatred was when they both gave their dad presents and his father developed a great love for the stray dog that Adam gave him, and just threw aside the German knife Charles gave him. Charles got jealous and started beating on his brother. After their brother died Charles felt a sort of relief and stared showing emotion and kindness towards Adam. When Adam seemed disturbed Charles would worry for his brother.

3. Why do you think the author chose this title for the book? I think the author chose this title for the book because the book is clearly referred to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and her two sons Cain and Abel. After their blowout from Eden, Eve gives birth to Cain and Abel. The brothers are born "East of Eden" where Cain commits the first sin, murder. When he gets jealous of Abel he kills him. Caleb and Aaron are like Cain and Abel. Though Caleb doesn't kill his brother, he indirectly causes his death. Cal takes Aaron to see his mom at the house of prostitution and Aaron gets shocked by the truth that he joins the military and gets shot and dies. Cal blames himself for his brothers death, unlike Cain who seems to have no regret. Caleb is so miserable that he goes to Adam (his dad) and tells him what he has done. Adam tells him he has the freedom and mobility to chose between goodness over evil.

4. Identify two major conflicts in the novel and explain how these conflicts are resolved.

· One major conflict was when Adam and Cathey were together, she really didn't want to be with him. Cathey found out she was pregnant and she tried to make herself have a miscarriage, but the doctor caught her and told her not to do it again or he'll snitch. After she had the twins she left her husband and kids. When Adam noticed she had left him he didn't know what to do with himself nor the kids still to this point he hasn't named them. Adam felt useless as a father and husband. Adam then found out she became a prostitute, and when they'd met face to face he felt disgusted by what she had become. Cathey tried to bribe him with sex but he simply denied it. Cathey then got upset and called her bouncer. Her bouncer striked Adam and he fell to the ground, when Adam arose he simply smiled and left. Adam felt he won the battle because he didn't stoop to her level.

5. What does the author say about human nature and the way people behave in general? Steinbeck has shown that life is always in a state, as it goes through the constant cycle of life and death. Also how people continually pick and chose over one or another weather it be a family member or friend.