Theme Essay for East of Eden

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Jared Rappel Schmid
Period 1 Carey
English 11 B
20 March 2013

Throughout Steinbeck's books there are many themes. Not all of his themes occurred were recurring, but of the ones that were they often had a large impact on the writings. From the battle between good and evil to the acts of brotherhood, all of them had an effect.

In the largest book of Steinbecks, East of Eden, he shows one of the most famous of themes in the majority of books. Being the struggle between good and evil. He states that its his opinion that this theme is a recurring object in human history. He even makes the statement that “there is no other story.”(East of Eden, XV) The story being written of the Christian tradition gave representatives of Adam and Eve from the bible. The representors were Cain and Abel. The characters showed how every individual has struggled with the choice between good and evil. Steinbeck stated that when looking back on his or her life they, “will have only the hard good questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well or ill?”(East of Eden, 413). And Steinbeck goes on to explain how every generation will make to progress due to the fact that each person has to relive the same ancient history. East of Eden represented this struggle extremely well because each family portrayed in the four parts of this book had to choose between one of the two. From Cyrus, in the beginning of the book, stealing money during his office as the US Army administrator to Cal, at the end of the book, who worried that he had inherited a legacy of sin from his mother. But when Cal accepts the possibility and responsibilty of free will, or the choice between good and evil. This positive ending is corrupted when the reader realizes that the future generations with helplessly replay the same struggles over many years to come.

These struggles are also shown in one of Steinbecks better known books, Of Mice and Men, with the characters Lenny and George....
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