Cain and Abel Timshel: Free Will Essay

Cain and Abel Timshel: Free Will Essay

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In East Of Eden, a main theme that is displayed is the freedom to overcome evil in the world. The hebrew word that Lee uses to convince Cal to overcome sin is timshel, which is the freedom of choice. The word timshel translates to “thou mayest” and is used by God in the Cain and Abel story telling Cain that he has the opportunity to overcome sin. Free will does not just come easily, but it will come if you have the will to fight for it.

The protagonist, Adam, is depicted as good in comparison to the other characters in both the book and movie. In the story, Adam makes moral decisions when situations come to hand and he is offered dishonest money from his son, Cal. Adam tells Cal that it is “evil money” and to return it. He did not want anything to do with it. This brings in the idea of timshel, Adam has free will in this case. Adam is able to overcome the sin and reject the money that he knows was received unfair in the eyes that had worked for the money and it was taken from them. At the end of the story Adam is paralyzed and is dependent on nurses to take care of him. Being paralyzed can symbolize the evil in the world and the idea that he is unable to do things on his own. This is another representation of how Adam is able to break free from the evil and overcome sin.

Cathy, who is the ex-wife of Adam and mother of Aron and Cal is displayed as evil in the role she plays in the story. In the book, it introduces her in the story by explaining why she is seen as evil.
I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies. . . . And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be ...

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... and decides to favor him. In the movie when Cal gives his father money for his birthday and he declines it, Adam is more pleased with hearing the news that Aron is engaged. He tells him that there is no other gift he would rather receive than hearing that news. Aron is only able to see the good in the world and when he sees his mother Cathy, it demonstrates that he is unable to handle the evil in the world. Aron is unable to understand the idea of free will due to the fact that is not even willing to face evil.

In East Of Eden, everyone technically has free will, but it is who is striving for it and refuses to surrender. All of the characters seem to know where they are standing with this idea, excep Cal. He struggles with the idea whether to be classified as good or evil. In the end, Cal recognizes the idea of free will and utilizes his moral decisions for good.

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