Good vs. Evil
In today's world good and evil coexist, often in one entity. The choices that humans make determine whether or not the world should consider that person good or evil. Many people make bad decisions in order to achieve a good outcome. However, most struggle with the choice of what to do. Central to John Steinbeck's East of Eden the theme of good vs. evil shows through the description of landscape, Samuel Hamilton, who represents supreme goodness, and Cathy Ames Trask, the most evil character in the novel. From the first chapter, the author outlines the central structure of good and evil in the form of the symbolic landscape of the Salinas Valley in California. The narrator learns to tell east with its "good" sunlit Gabilan Mountains from the western, dark, and foreboding "bad" Santa Lucias Mountains. Adam Trask navigates through life in the Salinas Valley wavering between good (light) and evil (dark). When Adam first moves to the Salinas Valley with Cathy they live in the West which proves to be symbolic as those were dark times. After Cathy leaves the family Adam, the twins, and Lee move to the East to endure better times which further signifies the importance of the description of the landscape as Steinbeck depicts the East as good. Samuel Hamilton, the Hamilton family patriarch acts as a mentor for Adam and stands in sharp contrast to Adam's father Cyrus who lies to amass power. Often associated with light, Samuel Hamilton, a self-educated immigrant from Northern Ireland who considers books to be treasures, demonstrates the positive principle of life. A good father figure, "It was the sweetness of his tongue and the tenderness of his soul. And there was just a cleanness about his body, so there was a cleanness in his thinking (Steinbeck, 11). The progenitor of nine children himself, he walks in sunlight, moonlight and starlight. Water always surrounds him and he washes constantly. In addition to his patriarchal position over most...
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