John Steinbeck's East of Eden - Good Versus Evil Essay

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - Good Versus Evil Essay

Length: 976 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Good Versus Evil in East of Eden

 
The idea of good versus evil is illustrated in several ways in John Steinbeck's East of Eden. This is seen through the external conflicts in the novel, the internal conflicts of the characters, and a universal understanding of the battle between good and evil.

 

External conflicts between the main characters, Cathy and Adam, reflect the idea of good versus evil in their relationship. Cathy, who is much like Satan, creates a huge fight between Adam and his brother Charles with her manipulations. Later, she ruins Adam's dreams and breaks his heart when she shoots him and leaves, sending Adam into a deep depression. After twelve years, Adam snaps out of his dream world and confronts Cathy. Cathy is now called Kate and works in a whore house called Faye's. Despite her actions, Adam realizes that he doesn't even hate Cathy for the hurt she has caused him. He finds peace with himself, renewing his once abandoned relationship with his sons.

Then there is the relationship between Charles and Adam. Charles physically and mentally abuses Adam to the extent that he tries to kill him when Charles thinks that their father, Cyrus, loves Adam more. Throughout all this Adam still loves Charles, even after he finds out that Charles and Cathy had slept together and his sons may have even been fathered by Charles. Later in the novel, Adam forgives Charles and writes him a letter to try and put their differences aside, only to find out that Charles has died.

Cal and Aron are Cathy's twin sons. In their relationship they too have many conflicts, Aron, the "good" son, studies religion and Cal, the "evil" son, gambles and visits whore houses. Aron tries to convert Cal, but Cal refuses to convert a...


... middle of paper ...


...sin, while the second commands him to do so. The inconsistency results in Lee studying the original Hebrew text with his philosophical Chinese elders and a Rabbi. Together they find that the original Hebrew text uses the word timshel : thou mayest rule over sin. This verb emphasizes that a person has the power of free will, putting into his own hands the ultimate decision of whether he will do of good or evil deeds.

 

The idea that man's relationship with good and evil is not predestined is a central idea in this novel. The conflict between good and evil is a universal battle. Many characters in the novel, East of Eden, struggle both internally and externally with Good versus evil.

 



Works Cited

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath, The Moon is Down, Cannery Row, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men. New York: Heinemann/Octopus, 1979. pp.475 - 896.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck Essay

- Un-naturalistic When discussing John Steinbeck’s “Great American Novel,” East of Eden, many obvious topics come to mind. Steinbeck’s many biblical allegories to Genesis, more specifically “Adam and Eve”, “Cain and Abel”, and even “Pandora’s Box” come to mind. But, if a reader really wants Steinbeck’s story to come alive, it is important to not look past the allegories and Steinbeck’s running themes of good overcoming evil, but to look deeper into how he used them to develop his story in a non conventional way....   [tags: Thematic Analysis, Un-Naturalistic]

Strong Essays
1553 words (4.4 pages)

East of Eden by John Steinbeck Essay

- The religious demographic that John Steinbeck's literary classic, “East of Eden”, conveys is that of an understanding and appreciation of the concepts regarding human nature and its morality, freedom, and timshel – or ability to choose between right and wrong. Pelagius, Augustine, and Luther treat the topic of man's “endless struggle between good and evil” with their own educated opinions, although they are all related in the same essence. Furthermore, provided sources link human nature and morality in regard to the Christian Moral Vision and Creationist Morality in present-day society, and show how individual morality is similar and different in terms of nature, purpose, and happiness....   [tags: Reflection on Morality, Christianity]

Strong Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

John Steinbeck 's East Of Eden Essay

- Throughout history people have struggled with the issue of good versus evil. Many people are classified by others as either completely good or completely evil. The problem about classifying people like that is that no one person is truly completely good or completely evil. Good and evil exist within every person.Steinbeck explores this timeless issue in many of his works but it is most prevalent in his novel East of Eden. The central characters in East of Eden all struggle with the battle of good vs....   [tags: Adam and Eve, Book of Genesis, Garden of Eden]

Strong Essays
1673 words (4.8 pages)

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - A Study in Human Development Essay

- East of Eden: A study in human development         The characteristics of people are formed by multiple factors. In many situations, children are raised under similar conditions, however, their later characteristics and life choices are very different. In the book, East of Eden, author John Steinbeck explores the development of humans, from childhood, to adulthood, and eventually, to death. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, is a genealogical novel about the lives of the Trasks, particularly the main character in the book, Adam Trask....   [tags: East Eden Essays]

Strong Essays
1445 words (4.1 pages)

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - The Gift of Free Will Essay

- East of Eden - The Gift of Free Will An excellent benefit of choosing to major in English is that it has allowed me four years to dig deeply into my love of the written word. This involves looking beyond the surface of literature and studying its effects in the course of my everyday life. Some books are easy to read quickly, enjoy, and forget, but others exert an influence that is not easily discarded or forgotten. In my mental library, the classic American novel East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, falls into this category....   [tags: East Eden Essays]

Free Essays
987 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Biblical Symbols and Symbolism in John Steinbeck's East of Eden

- 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]

Free Essays
692 words (2 pages)

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - A Biblical Allegory Essay

- East of Eden: A Biblical Allegory       In East of Eden (1952) John Steinbeck creates a powerful novel using biblical allegories. By doing this, he can deliver a clear message by describing something unfamiliar to his audience and comparing it to something more familiar. Set in modern times, East of Eden retells the famous story of the downfall of Adam and Eve, and the jealous rivalry between Cain and Able. Steinbeck also creates many other characters throug his novel, that capture a biblical sense and help portray an image of the vast confusion of life....   [tags: East Eden Essays]

Strong Essays
1277 words (3.6 pages)

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - The Character of Adam Trask Essay

- The Character of Adam Trask in East of Eden In Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Love can bring two people together but it can also have a person be rejected by another because of love. In the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck, the main character, Adam Trask, confronts a feeling of love throughout the whole book but he either rejects the love of people who care about him or has his love rejected by the people that he cares about....   [tags: East Eden Essays]

Free Essays
1223 words (3.5 pages)

The American Dream in John Steinbeck's East of Eden Essay

- The American Dream in East of Eden It is what every American strives for in life, but no one ever seems to achieve fully; it is the hopes and aspirations of every American, yet rarely are these goals ever met. It is the American Dream. In East of Eden, John Steinbeck displays different aspects of the American Dream through the desires and wishes of each character. Though each character in East of Eden may have a slightly different idea of what the American Dream is, becoming rich and wanting a better life for one's children seem to be a common thread in the lives of Faye and Cathy, Adam, and Cyrus....   [tags: East of Eden Essays]

Free Essays
764 words (2.2 pages)

John Steinbeck's East of Eden - Good Versus Evil Essay

- Good Versus Evil in East of Eden   The idea of good versus evil is illustrated in several ways in John Steinbeck's East of Eden. This is seen through the external conflicts in the novel, the internal conflicts of the characters, and a universal understanding of the battle between good and evil.   External conflicts between the main characters, Cathy and Adam, reflect the idea of good versus evil in their relationship. Cathy, who is much like Satan, creates a huge fight between Adam and his brother Charles with her manipulations....   [tags: East Eden Essays]

Strong Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)