East of Eden: Is Evil Nature or Nurtured?
John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden was inspired by a message he wished to send to his sons. Steinbeck created this epic story to carry his voice and advice to the two young boys whom he loved immensely. He wrote the story of good and evil, including love and hate, demonstrating how they are inseparable. ("East of Eden", Kirjasto) Steinbeck wanted to describe to Thom and John IV, the Salinas Valley, the treasured place in which he grew up. He aspired to detail every element from sights and sounds to colors and smells. He placed East of Eden here, in the Salinas Valley, not because of its significance to the story but the importance intended for his sons. ("East of Eden Summary") This setting includes more than memories from Steinbeck's childhood, it shows the history of the time period. Different waves of immigrants to California, new inventions including Ford automobiles and new windmills, an attempt at shipping lettuce in icebox train cars and organized prostitution across the West are some of the real occurrences that took place during this period of history. As his children grew Steinbeck hoped that East of Eden would show them their roots. The families created in the novel contributed to this significance. The Hamilton's were immigrants from Ireland, Steinbeck's true ancestors. The Trask family was fictional, helping to tell the story Steinbeck felt was important to every man. This universal family living next to a universal neighbor had meaning to his sons as well as to anyone who picked up the work. John Steinbeck calls the novel the story of my country and the story of me. East of Eden tells of a boy becoming a man as he overcomes jealousy and realizes self worth; this being achieved by the realization that everyone possesses good and evil. A quote from Steinbeck himself expresses the desire he had to instill this in the lives of his sons, "this is for my sons
to read when they are grown...And so I will...
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