John Steinbeck's East of Eden - Catherine as Monster

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Catherine as Monster in East of Eden In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Catherine Ames is one of the main characters. She is introduced to the reader as a monster and as time goes on, she possesses both monster like and animal qualities. As Catherine she gets older and wiser, she gets more evil and displays her monster and animal like characteristics. She knows she is powerful and indestructible. She has manipulated and tricked many people her life causing them to go to the extreme... death. Catherine "Cathy" shows her evilness and her monster like behavior in many scenes throughout the book. Steinbeck illustrates Cathy as being a monster: "I believe there are monsters born in the world... It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life," (Steinbeck, 95-96). Cathy used this to her advantage by making people uneasy, but not so uneasy that they would not run away from her. Cathy was born with an innocent look that fooled many; she had golden blond hair, hazel eyes, a thin and delicate nose, and a small chin to make her face look heart shaped. According to the town Cathy lived, Cathy had a scent of sweetness, but that is just what Cathy wanted the town to see and think when Cathy planned her kill. "The fire broke out... the Ames house went up like a rocket… Enough remained of Mr. and Mrs. Ames to make sure there were two bodies" (114-115). Cathy had set the house on fire and broke into the safe to steal the family's money. As the investigators scoped the place, they noticed that the bolts stuck out and there were no keys left in the locks. They knew it was not an accident. Cathy's body was never found, but the town assumed that she died. "If it had not been for Cathy's murder, the fire and robbery might have been a coincidence." Steinbeck, again, portrays the reader that Cathy is a monster: "When I said Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so"(242). Steinbeck is reassuring the reader that Cathy is a monster and with the evidence before and after this statement. For example, Cathy later changes her name to Kate and runs a whorehouse.

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