The Hebrew word, timshel, plays a pivotal role in the primary theme of overcoming evil for good. Lee argues, “[i] t might be the most important word in the world” (301). It is the sole thing that gives the characters hope to turn out decent, despite all the terrible things they do. Timshel is the beginning and the end of this story.
“Steinbeck presents characters in pairs -- Adam and Charles, Aron and Caleb, Abra and Cathy -- using first initials to identify clearly which characters are inherently good and which must struggle to overcome the seeds of evil within them” (Strecker).
Charles and Adam Trask are first presented in Part One of the novel. They are the initial pair Steinbeck uses to present the Cain and Abel allegory. Charles (Cain) is a “destructive machine that chops down anything standing in his way” (44). Adam (Abel) is naturally kind and well liked by everyone, especially their father. Adam’s tragic flaw is that he trusts too easily and is not able to see people for who they truly are. Adam is “very real and believable but h...
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...7 in the Light of John Steinbeck.” Journal of European Baptist Studies 12.2 (2012): 5-20. Religion and Philosophy Collection. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.
Heavilin, Barbara A. “Steinbeck’s Exploration of Good and Evil: Structure and Thematic Unity in East of Eden.” Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. Jennifer Smith. Vol. 19. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 40 Vols. 145-150. Print.
Králová, Eva. “Inseparability of Good and Evil as a Challenge in Steinbeck’s East of Eden.” University Review 7.2 (2013): 51-57. EMSCO. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
McDaniel, Barbara. “Alienation in East of Eden: The ‘Chart of the Soul’.” Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. Jennifer Smith. Vol. 19. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 40 Vols. 151-155. Print.
Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. New York: New York, 1952. Print.
Strecker, Geralyn. “East of Eden.” Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-4. Literary Reference Center. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.
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