East of Eden: An Interpretation
I. Cathy Ames - Cathy's main motivation was her desperate and
incessant need for money. This held true throughout most of the book;
it was only at the very end of her life that she realized that she had
been missing something her entire life. This is the reason she left
everything that she had amassed to her youngest son, Aron. This act
may have been a desperate attempt at making up for the love she was
never privileged enough to have.
Cathy viewed herself as someone who could outwit most anyone she met
-- especially men. There were a few of those who she feared because
she felt like their eyes could see into every one of her thoughts and
emotions. Samuel Hamilton was one of these people, and so she despised
Whatever happened in Cathy at the end was responsible for her change
in disposition. Her sudden "goodness" (if it can be called that)
impelled her to leave everything she owned to Aron, her "good" son,
and nothing to Cal, whom she felt was most like her in his devious
personality and sinful motivation (from what she gathered of the few
times they met).
Cathy saw nothing good or honest in any part of humanity. Even the men
who she served disgusted her. She surrounded herself with the slime of
civilization, and was blinded to everyone and everything else. I don't
know that Cathy ever truly liked anybody but herself, and in the end
the fact that she didn't even like herself frankly scared her. All of
her past misdeeds finally came back to haunt her. After swallowing her
"Drink Me," she finally ceased to be, and in her mind, never was; and
that was the way she wanted it.
Samuel Hamilton - Samuel Hamilton was a family man. He valued spending
time with his fa...
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...ginning with my dislikes, I disliked the chapters that seemed to
slant away from the rest of the story; the chapters of Olive Hamilton
especially. These chapters seemed to have no effect on the Hamiltons
or the Trasks. I found them pointless, but I also may have missed an
underlying reason for their place in the book.
Regardless, I liked the book very much. I thought it was well-written
and very well thought out. The action parts were the best, but it
moved at an understandably slow pace to reveal every significant thing
that happened, but moved fast enough to keep me, the reader,
entertained. It shocks me how much research Steinbeck must have had to
do simply to develop the concept for East of Eden, but I think his
time was well spent. And it was obviously worth it, for now, almost 50
years later, it is still widely read. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.