East Of Eden



East of Eden

Some of the most aspiring and influential authors show to be American novelists. American novelists brought about a new style of writing, which became very popular. John Steinbeck shows this style of writing in his novel, East of Eden. This makes Steinbeck one of the most significant American novelists in the twentieth century. East of Eden contains many parts, which add detail and interest to the novel. Many of Steinbeck’s novels and other works remain and continue to be nationally acclaimed. Many elements exist in East of Eden that bring about the meaning and concept of the novel. The study of John Steinbeck and his book, East of Eden, will help the reader better understand the element of fiction and interpret the meaning of the work.
John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. Between 1919 and 1925 Steinbeck was acknowledged as a special student at Stanford University. According to Peter Lisac, “Variously employed as a had-carrier, fruit-picker, apprentice printer, laboratory assistant, caretaker, surveyor, reporter, writer, and foreign correspondent let him acquire knowledge in many areas.” (1) Even in his youth, Steinbeck developed a love of the natural world and diverse cultures. Steinbeck produced two children from his second wife, Elaine Scott. The early 1930’s became a struggle for Steinbeck, both in his
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attempts to improve his writing and his day-to-day existence. Yet, in the 1940’s he turned his main interest from sociology and biology to individual ethics. Steinbeck was honored in 1962 with the Nobel Prize in Literature. He regarded East of Eden as the accumulation of his career. Steinbeck died of heart disease in New York on November 20, 1968.
In addition to East of Eden, Steinbeck produced many other novels and several volumes of short fiction in his early career. Most of Steinbeck’s novels and stories are set in the Salinas Valley in California where he spent most of his life. Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Grapes of Wrath which makes him best known. According to John Timmerman, ”Grapes of Wrath studies the problems migrant workers encountered while traveling from Oklahoma to California.” (1) Steinbeck wrote eighteen books through his life span. Some of his novels included Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, The Red Pony, and many others. Of Mice and Men gained Steinbeck national recognition. Saint Katy the Virgin, Nothing So Monstrous, The Long Valley, How Edith McGillcuddy, and The Crapshooter are Steinbeck’s volumes of short stories.
The book’s main theme of good versus evil gets tangled up with Steinbeck’s account of his material family, the Hamiltons. Some of the writings about the Hamilton’s do not seem to contribute to the story. According to Peter Lisca, “The author switches back and forth from the Hamilton’s to the fictional Trask family with no apparent purpose.” (2) Steinbeck interjects himself into the
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novel using “I” randomly, which confuses the readers. Although the author relied on the good versus evil theme, he seems to struggle with the question of free will. Steinbeck does succeed with this theme in the character of Cal, who fights a moral inner battle.
East of Eden contains a very basic and well-known theme of good and evil. Steinbeck’s story is based on the Cain and Abel and the word Timshel.
“Adam looked up with sick weariness. His lips parted and failed and tried
again. Then his lungs filled. He expelled the air and his lips combed the
rushing sigh. His whispered word seemed to hang in the air: Timshel!.”
(602; ch. 55)
Cain and Abel being Cal and Aron bring about the theme with their own actions. In the novel, Cathy Ames is shown with having no good only evil. But she shows some goodness at the end of the novel when she goes to the church to see her abandoned son. People are responsible for their own actions. A person chooses to be good or evil. The theme discuses Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, and truth and lie.
The protagonist of the novel is Cal Trask. Cal Trask is the son of Adam Trask and the brother of Aron. Cal holds a manipulative nature to him. He feels very guilty when he hurts people intentionally or unintentionally. Cal represents Cain in