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East of Eden

East of Eden

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East of Eden

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  1. East of Eden Part IV

  2. “I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught- in their lives, their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too- in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well- or ill?”(413)

  3. Structuralists • Basic structure of human consciousness • Steinbeck states that life can basically be classified as good or evil despite the variables of history and social consciousness or status of the individual, economic, race, ethnicity etc. • We all struggle with evil and have free will to oppose it

  4. Cal and Aron • “Aron drew love from every side…He was unchanging once a course was set. He had few facets and very little versatility…Change of direction confused Aron, but that was the only thing that confused him. He set his path and followed it and he did not see nor was he interested in anything besides his path” (422). • Aron almost selfish in decisions • Church, Abra • Ironically Cal wants to love others and tries to change his path to do so

  5. Aron and Abra • Serves as a mother and protector of Aron • “Aron began to cry and could not stop” (424). • Catharsis for Aron • She realizes coexistence of good and evil

  6. Cal and Aron • Aron struggles with information about mother • “’ If my father is a liar, Lee is a liar too.’ He was lost. He had no one to ask. Cal was a liar, but Lee’s conviction had made Cal a clever liar. Aron felt that something had to die- his mother or his world” (429). • Cannot see the morally complexity in his father lying to spare them pain • Cal wants to seek her out • Has the emotional capacity to deal with the pain

  7. Good vs. Evil • Lee’s characterization of Kate • “She is a mystery. It seems to me that she is not like other people. There is something she lacks. Kindness maybe, or conscience. You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. And I can’t feel her. I don’t know what she wanted or what she was after. She was full of hatred, but why or toward what I don’t know” (448). • Cal can see the frustration and pain she caused in his father now • Brings forth respect and pity for his dad • Adam exemplifies what Kate lacks

  8. Good vs. Evil • “I know- because I’ve got her in me.” • “Of course you may have that in you. Everybody has. But you’ve got the other too…You wouldn’t even be wondering if you didn’t have it. Don’t you dare take the lazy way. It’s too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry” (449). • Reminds Cal of his free will • His evil is not inherent thus Kate cannot choose for him

  9. Cal and Aron • Cal struggles with purity and sin • “One moment he was dedicated and pure and devoted; the next he wallowed in filth; and the next he groveled in shame and emerged rededicated” (450) • Aron confines himself in religion and the purity of mind and body • Builds a wall around himself to hide from reality

  10. Cal and Aron • “ Cal watched his brother triumph over sins he had never committed. He thought sardonically of telling him about his mother, to see how he would handle it, but he withdrew the thought quickly. He didn’t think Aron could handle it at all” (451). • Cal wants to be moral and makes moral choices • He does not see this in himself • Does not want to hurt the good and trusting Aron

  11. Cal and Adam • “Cal wanted to throw his arms about his father, to hug him and to be hugged by him. He wanted some wild demonstration of sympathy and love” (454) • Cal realizes Adam’s interest in him • Turning point

  12. Cal and Adam • “I’m the same as my father was. He didn’t allow me to be a person, and I haven’t seen my sons as people” (455). • Admits his failures • Cal sees him as human • Adam sees Cal for who he is, separate from Aron

  13. Cal and Aron • “’I have hated him…An I’ve hurt him too. But I don’t hate him now. I won’t ever hate him again…not even my mother” (458) • Cal realizes he is not like Kate • His darkness is lifted with the trust instilled by Adam • He can choose goodness and it is within him

  14. Cal and Kate • “’No, I haven’t. I’m my own. I don’t have to be you…If I’m mean, it’s my own mean” (466). • Sees a fearful and degenerate woman who lived her life manipulating others • He realizes he is his own person and not a product of her evil nature • Cal has a conscience and knows how to love

  15. Kate • Confrontation of past leads to fear and anxiety • Confines herself inside • Paranoid of Ethel • Evil character degenerating • Good characters flourishing • Good does triumph over evil