January 25, 2013
East of Eden is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1952. It follows the lives of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, and illustrates how the families lives intertwine. The novel starts out with a short introduction of Salinas Valley and Samuel Hamiltons's family, then quickly jumps into introducing the Trask family. Adam Trask then described his childhood on his father's farm in Connecticut. He tells stories in detail about his brutal treatment from his brother Charles, and the tough love he received from his father Cyrus. Adam and his brother had a poor relationship because Charles believed that their father loved Adam more.
Their father Cyrus was a war aficionado and he wanted his favorite son, Adam, to enlist into the military. Adam's life from then on consisted of fighting, travel, and jail time. When he was finally ready to come home he contacted his brother and went back to the farm in Connecticut. Upon his return he was informed that their father died and left them rich. Adam wasn't satisfied with his lowly life on the farm once he was rich, he wanted to do something more with his life. Unlike Adam, Charles was besides himself on whether their father came about the money honestly and feared to spend it.
A parallel story introduces Cathy Ames. She was described as “- Not like other people, never was from birth.” (72) She had a malformed soul and was evil from the time she could talk. She caused the death of a teacher, murdered her parents, and faked her own death. After she faked her own death, she met with a married man and became his mistress. Drinking always caused her to spill her words, and one night while she was with her lover he got her drunk and she admitted how she manipulated him to care for her. That didn't settle well with the man. He took her out of town, beat her to near death, and left her in an alley. She crawled to the nearest house she could find and ended up on the Trask's doorstep.
Adam fell in love with Cathy while caring for her, even though Cathy had no feelings for him. She manipulated him just like she did everyone else. Adam in his ignorant bliss married Cathy. Once he had money and a bride, he left his brother at the farm and traveled to Salinas Valley, California. On the trip to California, she found out she was pregnant. She tried to preform an abortion but the attempt failed. Later that night after a visit from the doctor Adam found out Cathy was pregnant. He was ecstatic. They continued their travel to Salinas Valley and once they arrived there Adam searched for the perfect piece of land to buy for his family. He wanted a place with water because he knew California was a dry place, and that is when he met Samuel Hamilton.
Samuel Hamilton was a Salinas Valley native who was smart and talented, but very poor. He was quick to help but never too concerned with receiving payment. He had a large family and a strict wife. His lived on a poor piece of land that was almost impossible to cultivate, which left him with little. He was kind to everyone, and everyone came to him to revel in his joy. He was talented in everything he did and was said to have a talent for finding water underground. When Adam Trask came into town and wanted to know whether or not a piece of land had water, Samuel was the first man he was directed to.
After the three stories all catch up with one another, the novel truly begins. Samuel and Adam became friends shortly before Adam's wife Cathy gave birth to twin boys. Cathy had no intentions of staying with Adam, and she wasn't going to let anything stand in her way. She shot Adam in the shoulder when he tried to stop her from leaving, and left him to bleed. Their Chinese housekeeper Lee found him on the floor when he returned home and called for the doctor. After loosing the love of his life he fell into a bout of depression that was debilitating. While Adam...