East of Eden John Steinbeck

East of Eden

John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck was born in California’s

Salinas Valley in 1902. He grew up there, about 25 miles from the

Pacific coast and this was the setting for many of his books. Steinbeck
went to Stanford University in San Francisco in 1919 to study literature.

He left, however, in 1925 without a degree. After college he moved
to New York where he worked as a journalists. His works include Cup
of Gold (1929), The Pastures of Heaven (1932), To God Unknown (1933),

The Long Valley (1938), The Tortilla Flat (1935), Of Mice and Men
(1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939), and The Forgotten Village (1941).

In East of Eden, Steinbeck revolves
around the theme of good and evil many times calling upon the Biblical
story of Cain and Abel. Another book that dealt with a similar theme
was Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff is much like Cathy in their ideas
of revenge and hatred.


The book begins by describing Samuel
and his family living in Salinas Valley. Samuel was a very creative
man who invented many things. Even though any one of his inventions
could have carried him to fortune, he remained a poor farmer because the
fact was that even though he was a creative inventor, he was a bad business
man. Sam was known around his area to be wise and people came to
him for advice. He had a wife and nine kids.

After describing Samuel and his
family, Steinbeck jumps to a family living on a farm in Connecticut.

The father of the family, Cyrus Trask, was an army veteran. His wife
died after his first child whom he named Adam. Cyrus married again
and had another son, one year younger than Adam, named Charles. The
boys grew up close to each other. On one of Cyrus’ birthdays, Adam
gave his father a stray puppy while Charles gave him an expensive Swiss
knife. Cyrus never used the knife but was always played with the
dog. Charles grew very bitter at Adam for this. Adam, at eighteen,
was sent into the calvary by his father. 10 years later, Cyrus had
died and Adam returned home to live with Charles.

After discussing the Trask family,

Steinbeck jumps again and moves to the Ames family. The Ames had
one daughter who was very beautiful named Cathy. Through her beauty,
she learned to manipulate people. Cathy made an elaborate plan to
kill her parents and does so one day by locking them in the house while
burning to down. The townspeople believe Cathy to be death also.

After burning her parents, Cathy
left to work as a prostitute for Mr. Edwards. Mr. Edwards fell in
love with her but eventually found out about her past. He took Cathy
to her old town to play a little psychological warfare, same as she had
done to him. At Cathy’s old town he beat her nearly to death but
left her on the ground bleeding. Cathy crawled to the Trask house.

The police question her about her beating but she claimed remember nothing.

Adam fell in love with her and married her, not knowing she was pregnant
with Charles’ child.

Adam and Cathy move to Salinas Valley
where they bought a large farm and got a Chinese housekeeper named Lee..

Adam needed to build a well for his farm and was introduced by some of
the residents to Samuel Ames. Later, when Cathy was in labor, Samuel
was sent for to deliver the baby which turned out to be fraternal twins,
both boys. Soon after Cathy was well, she pulled a gun on Adam and
shot him in the shoulder. She left to work in a whore house owned
by a lady named Fay. After Adam was found wounded by Lee, the police
questioned him but he said that he accidentally shot himself. The
police didn’t believe him because he was in the Calvary for ten years.

Eventually, they figured out through some help by Samuel and other neighbors
that it was Cathy who tried to kill him. They found Cathy working
in Fay’s whore house but decide not to tell Adam, who eventually found
out anyway. Adam grew very depressed after Cathy left him.

He neglected his children who was cared for by Lee. Samuel found
out that the children were one year old and still not named so he went
to visit Adam to knock some sense into him. At Adam’s house, Samuel,

Lee and Adam begin talking about names and people in the Bible. They
start talking about the Story of