Essay PreviewMore ↓
John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden was inspired by a message he wished to send to his sons. Steinbeck created this epic story to carry his voice and advice to the two young boys whom he loved immensely. He wrote the story of good and evil, including love and hate, demonstrating how they are inseparable. ("East of Eden", Kirjasto) Steinbeck wanted to describe to Thom and John IV, the Salinas Valley, the treasured place in which he grew up. He aspired to detail every element from sights and sounds to colors and smells. He placed East of Eden here, in the Salinas Valley, not because of its significance to the story but the importance intended for his sons. ("East of Eden Summary") This setting includes more than memories from Steinbeck's childhood, it shows the history of the time period. Different waves of immigrants to California, new inventions including Ford automobiles and new windmills, an attempt at shipping lettuce in icebox train cars and organized prostitution across the West are some of the real occurrences that took place during this period of history. As his children grew Steinbeck hoped that East of Eden would show them their roots. The families created in the novel contributed to this significance. The Hamilton's were immigrants from Ireland, Steinbeck's true ancestors. The Trask family was fictional, helping to tell the story Steinbeck felt was important to every man. This universal family living next to a universal neighbor had meaning to his sons as well as to anyone who picked up the work. John Steinbeck calls the novel the story of my country and the story of me. East of Eden tells of a boy becoming a man as he overcomes jealousy and realizes self worth; this being achieved by the realization that everyone possesses good and evil. A quote from Steinbeck himself expresses the desire he had to instill this in the lives of his sons, "this is for my sons" to read when they are grown...And so I will tell one of the greatest-The story of good and evil, of strength and weakness, of love and hate, of beauty and ugliness." John Steinbeck's meaningful novel displays good and evil, while questioning the reader of whether evil is fated or if our lives are ruled by moral choice. (Pearson; "The Novel: East of Eden")
How to Cite this Page
"Evil In East Of Eden." 123HelpMe.com. 30 Mar 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Good vs. Evil in East of Eden "God saw that all he had created was very good. You are part of gods creation, and he is pleased with how he made you. If at times you feel worthless or of little value, remember that god made you for a good reason. You are valuable to him." ( Genesis 1:31) I believe that all things created are at first good. The Bible gives pages upon pages of quotes and stories on the battle of good versus evil, but in the story East of Eden we are given what might be the greatest question of it all, and that is if the main character Cathy a.k.a.... [tags: East Eden Essays]
623 words (1.8 pages)
- East of Eden: Is Evil Nature or Nurtured. John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden was inspired by a message he wished to send to his sons. Steinbeck created this epic story to carry his voice and advice to the two young boys whom he loved immensely. He wrote the story of good and evil, including love and hate, demonstrating how they are inseparable. ("East of Eden", Kirjasto) Steinbeck wanted to describe to Thom and John IV, the Salinas Valley, the treasured place in which he grew up. He aspired to detail every element from sights and sounds to colors and smells.... [tags: John Steinbeck]
1548 words (4.4 pages)
- Confused Notions of Good and Evil in East of Eden East of Eden is an epic novel about individual ethics - whether men and women have the power to choose between good and evil. East of Eden, to be polite, it is not Steinbeck's best novel. Not by a long shot. Steinbeck had wrestled with a moral question and lost. It was as though he had been thinking about life, but not too deeply. "East of Eden" was a third-rate best seller, the story of two American families over three generations, seven decades from the Civil War to World War I, told in a book that confuses us with contradictions, that lacks fictional concentration and that wanders in and around too many themes.... [tags: East Eden Essays]
1080 words (3.1 pages)
- A theme is a unifying or dominant idea in a literary work. Steinbeck described the competition of good versus evil as the story of mankind itself. He believes that every generation to come since Adam and Eve will now be immersed with the struggle of good and evil due to Eve’s curiosity that led to sin, eventually banning both her and Adam from the Garden of Eden. In East of Eden, Steinbeck makes the contest of good versus evil apparent through his contrasting description of the setting, the characters’ opposing personalities, and society’s changing morals.... [tags: Literature Review]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- A common theme for the characters in East of Eden is the classic war between passion and responsibility. Most of the characters tend to choose responsibility over passion, only because they lack passion. However, Cal escapes from the inevitable that everyone chooses—responsibility—and takes the path that leads him to his passion: to overcome the fate of evil and sins. Often times, Cal compares himself to Aron, which is in comparison to good versus evil. The story of Cain and Abel is the generation of Cal and Aron, while Cal has the ultimate fate of killing his brother and total damnation to wither with sin, he tries to alter that by “compet[ing] for attention and affection in the only way h... [tags: Good and evil, Evil, Cain and Abel, East of Eden]
1071 words (3.1 pages)
- John Steinbeck used his childhood growing up in the Salinas Valley as the backdrop to his 1952 novel, East of Eden. Similar to the Garden of Eden, the Salinas Valley is lush and fertile in some places like the Trask ranch while other places are dry and barren like the Hamilton’s land. Steinbeck “wrote the story of good and evil, embracing love and hate, demonstrating their inseparability” (Krávlová 51). He creates an allegory for the story of Cain and Abel that follow three generations who, despite the fate given them, choose their own destiny.... [tags: salinas valley, evil]
1680 words (4.8 pages)
- ... To convey his views, Steinbeck structures the sentences accordingly and uses a vast word choice and tone intertwined together. He opens with “Mrs. Trask was a pale, inside-herself woman” (Steinbeck 15), and how “no heat of sun ever reddened her cheeks, and no open laughter raised the corners of her mouth” (Steinbeck 15). The effect of this develops her character, a dark woman with stern thoughts. Beginning with such an eerie sentence also develops the mood, as both diction and tone go hand in hand.... [tags: open, choice, one, evil, dark, side]
521 words (1.5 pages)
- In John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”, the author continuously brings up the theory of man always at war with good and evil, and ultimately having to choose which side they are on. As humans, uncertainty and confusion are two main factors to our indecisiveness. Nor is it easy when we are being engulfed by conflicting pathways and influences of others. In “East of Eden” the complex character of Cal Trask is pulled by two conflicting directions. He battles his evil ancestry, and yet tries to compete with the goodness of his perfect brother, Aaron.... [tags: good, evil, cal dwells]
708 words (2 pages)
- Biblical Symbolism in East of Eden Throughout the novel East of Eden, Steinbeck uses many biblical references to illustrate clearly the conflict between the opposing forces of good and evil. Much of the plot of East of Eden is centered upon the two sets of brothers representing Cain and Abel. Both pairs are similar to Cain and Abel in the way they go about winning their fathers’ favors. All four give gifts to their fathers, and the fathers dismiss the gifts of Charles and Caleb, the Cain representations (Marks, Jay Lester.... [tags: East Eden Essays]
1254 words (3.6 pages)
- Biblical Symbolism in East of Eden John Steinbeck includes more of the tale of Genesis: 4 than is actually told in the bible. The basis of this is a Jewish story involving twin sisters of both Cain and Abel. The two disputed over Abel’s twin whom Abel was to marry. Cain murdered Abel and wed the twin sister of his brother (Fonterose, Joseph. p.3380). The story differs also in that it is Abel who leaves his home instead of Cain. Abel found his Eden, represented by Salinas Valley, but lost it after fathering a second generation very similar to the first, Caleb representing Cain and Aron representing Abel (Fonterose, Joseph.... [tags: East Eden Essays]
692 words (2 pages)
In East of Eden Lee said to Adam and Sam that the story of Cain and Abel, "is the symbol story of the human soul, the best-known story in the world because it is everybody's story." This significant story mirrors elements in East of Eden. Resembling the biblical story, where Cain represents evil, the characters throughout the novel with names beginning with the letter C represent evil as well. Cyrus, Charles, Cathy and Cal display negative traits throughout the novel. Abel represents good; therefore the characters with names beginning with A appear to be good. Adam, Aaron, Alice, and Abra are examples of Abel characters. The sacrifices offered to God are also mirrored in the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Charles and Adam give birthday presents to their father, Cyrus. Cyrus favors Adams gift of a puppy to Charles' gift of a knife. Later in the story Aarons gift to his father, Adam, is accepted while Cal's is rejected. Cal, Caleb, grows jealous and seeks revenge by destroying his brother's innocence. He takes him to meet their mother at the house of prostitution that she owns and runs. Aaron is shocked after learning the truth about his mother that he later joins the military. As a result of going to war Aaron is shot and killed. Cal doesn't directly murder his brother although he ultimately causes his death. In both cases the Old Testament shows no preferences or justification for the favoritism. (Phillips; Sauder) Charles and Caleb are seen many times throughout the novel fighting for their father's attention just as Cain fought for God's attention. Lee says the story of Cain and Abel is important because it's the story of rejection. He believes that this is the root from which all evil develops because with rejection comes anger, anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection and with crime guilt. Lee explains that this is the story of mankind, an inevitable cycle. (Steinbeck) John Steinbeck offers the reader some choice of redemption o this inevitable evil through his use of timshel.
Cain is banished to the land of Nod, east of Eden, after killing Abel.Here God blesses him with free will, leaving the choice to him. He advises that no matter how deep the sin there is always redemption. He told Cain he may choose to live a righteous life. God said may, leading to this hope of redemption. May in Hebrew is Timshol, although Steinbeck's translation in the novel was timshel. (The Novel: "East of Eden") Timshel indicates that a person can still have evil tendencies and not follow them. It provides choice. The choice lies within you and is your own. It is not a commandment from God or a determined fate. With timshel mankind has the choice to choose goodness and redeem himself. (Sauder) During the discussion of the Cain and Abel Story with Samuel and Adam, Lee explains the significance timshel holds:
Thou mayest' that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if Thou mayest' it is also true that Thou mayest not.' ...Now, there are millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, Do thou,' and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in Thou shalt.' Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win. (301-303)
The choice to choose good over evil provided through timshel like Lee says offers that redemption. A cycle of evil is not inevitable and as long as the choice is made. The characters throughout East of Eden are faced with many chances to choose timshel and overcome evil.
Timshel was accepted by the characters on many different levels. Cathy was able to choose goodness over evil but always choose wrong. She was evil in every turn manipulating and wounding others for her own benefit. (Sauder; Phillips) She insisted there was only evil in the world, therefore never achieving anything else. She killed her parents, attempted to make Mr. Edwards mad, attempted to kill Adam and she killed Fay. Aaron in contrast, only accepted the world's goodness, never choosing evil. Cyrus chooses evil by stealing money during his term as a U.S. Army administrator. After lying about his heroic deeds in the civil war he was promoted to this job. Charles succumbs to jealousy over Adam, thus choosing evil.
Caleb was aware of the evil within himself. He fought tremendously against it, sometimes with success others falling a little less short. He struggled the most, perhaps because of his anxiety of inheriting a legacy of sin from his mother. (Phillips) However success came when he when he accepted himself and saw his life as it was. When he saw this he was able to choose outside of his nature and choose goodness. (Jackson) Caleb had to accept Aaron's death and not blame himself. When Cal accepted his "fall from grace" he was rewarded by receiving his father's forgiveness. Through confessing his sins to his father, Adam blesses him- granting Cal the power of free will. Here he masters timshel. Although he chooses evil in providing the reason Aaron went to the military, he accepted his actions and choose outside his nature. This proves Steinbeck's one point that love can conquer evil. (Sauder) The discussion of Cain and Abel was intended to question the reader more. It instills a desire for the truth through this discussion of heaven and hell, right and wrong, and truth and lie. The characters represent many of traits some as simple as good and evil others such as jealousy and envy.