John Steinbeck wrote East of Eden for his two immature boies to state them about the greatest narrative of all the narrative of good and evil, of strength and failing, of love and hatred, of beauty and ugliness ( JOURNAL p.4 ) Because of the cardinal thoughts, Steinbeck believed the novel to be his magnum musical composition, and said that his other plants had merely been a pattern for composing this. ( Bloom 66 ) . East of Eden is an heroic narrative set in the narrow Salinas Valley, North California and tells the narrative of the entwined fates of two households, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. One of the major subjects in the novel is mankinds consistent battle between the waies of good and evil. Steinbeck regards the battle between good and evil to be of extreme gravitation in the universe, since it is endless. Every human being, irrespective of if others before him have succeeded or non, must cover with the battle. Humans will stay worlds, and this means that they are inclined to experience tempted by iniquitous hungrinesss and desires. Temptations are unconditioned in every one of us. In East of Eden, Steinbeck has both depicted the inevitable battle between good and immorality, which takes topographic point within the society and the battle that takes topographic point deep within every individual. The thing that fascinated me the most about the battle between good and immorality was how much it is really portion of our mundane life. Even though, non all people are in direct confrontation with evil forces every other twenty-four hours, we all still must do picks between good and evil daily. The intent of this essay is to analyze how the battle between good and evil is depicted in John Steinbeck ‘s fresh East of Eden.


Steinbeck has already in the gap of the novel established the natural position of good and evil with the graphic description of the scene. The ageless and coincident presence of both good and evil is emphasised by utilizing blunt contrast to depict Steinbeck ‘s place small town, Salinas Valley. The Valley is situated between two wholly contrasting scopes of mountains.

‘I retrieve the Gabilan mountains to the E of the vale were light homosexual mountains full of Sun and comeliness and a sort of invitation, so that you wanted to mount into their warm foothills about as you want to mount into the lap of a darling female parent ‘

( Steinbeck, East of Eden 7 )

‘The Santa Lucias stood up against the sky to the West and kept the vale from the unfastened sea, and they were dark and dwelling ‘ unfriendly and unsafe. ‘ ( Steinbeck, East of Eden 7 )

The landscape and the environment described symbolise the universe as a whole, which does comprise of both the good and the immorality. The good and the evil exist stopping point by, like the visible radiation and the dark mountains, which are separated merely by the little Salinas vale. And the fact that the characters of East of Eden live precisely in between the two complete antonyms, demonstrates how people in the existent universe invariably find themselves confronting the pick between good and evil. It besides proves that all the characters in East of Eden have the chance to take either manner.

The altering conditions in the vale besides illustrates the changeless battle between the two extremes. It is said that there were rich old ages, when the waterfall was plentiful. In these old ages the land was fertile giving ample crop and the nature was colorful and beautiful. But there were besides dry old ages, which put a panic on the vale. ( Steinbeck 10 ) The land dried up and the nature lost its luxuriance. Peoples were holding a difficult clip feeding themselves and their animate beings. This demonstrates the natural order in the universe, which means that good and evil victory in bend. There are times when good prevails, but they besides alternate with times when immorality has the upper manus.


In ‘East of Eden ‘ the general battle between the pure good and pure immorality forces is chiefly depicted through the character of Adam Trask. It is non direct. All characters of the fresh autumn into the duality of good and evil, but the two characters closest to Adam stand for the absolute borders of the graduated table. When there are cases where other characters show inclinations wholly opposite to their character, so the actions of these two ever derive from their indispensable qualities. Cathy Ames is the chief adversary of the novel and can be considered to be the prototype of evilness. She is the female parent of the Trask twins, Aron and Caleb, and the married woman of Adam Trask. She puts her accomplishment of use and fraudulence into usage countless times, and cold-bloodedly makes her manner through life ne’er caring about anyone beside herself. Even traveling every bit far as killing her parents, when they are unfortunate plenty to acquire into her manner. In the chapter, which introduces her character, Steinbeck already, without even giving the reader a glance of the character, adjudges Cathy to be a soulless monster.

“ I believe there are monsters born in the universe to human parents. . . The face and organic structure may be perfect, but if a distorted cistron or a deformed egg can bring forth physical monsters, may non the same procedure produce a deformed psyche? ”

It is besides said that she is missing certain qualities that make a human. In crisp contrast to her features, Cathy is really guiltless looking and physically attractive. At the beginning of the novel, Steinbeck references that frailty ever has to hold a fresh immature face to appeal to people. ( Steinbeck ) This is a clear mention to Cathy, as she largely uses her looks to acquire her ain manner.

Samuel Hamilton is the caput of the family neighboring the Trasks. His character provides competition to Cathy ‘s as he is the pure incarnation of good. The patriarch of the Hamilton household is really wise, and ne’er turns down an chance to assist person in demand. Similarly to Cathy ‘s evilness, Samuel ‘s goodness is emphasised right from his debut.

‘And merely as there was cleanness about his organic structure, so there was cleanness in his thought. Work force coming to his blacksmith store to speak and listen dropped their cursing for a piece, non from any sort of restraint but automatically, as though this were non the topographic point for it ‘

Samuel ‘s good nature has such a powerful impact that merely his presence influences people around him to move better than they normally do.

In the instance of Adam Trask, external forces chiefly find his ” ‘ . He is pulled to one side or the other, due to the characters of Samuel and Cathy. With her attractive visual aspect and consummate use, Cathy has made Adam fall deep in love with her. Love is what blinds Adam, and makes it unable for him to see the true character of Cathy.

Adam ‘s infatuation with Cathy besides makes him distance himself more from Samuel, as he merely wishes to pass clip with Cathy. Samuel on the other manus can be considered to be the individual Adam look up to the most, but being under the influence of Cathy, he fails to see ‘ .

Even though Adam is in complete subservience to Cathy, when they are populating together, Cathy influences him the most after her going. When she runs off after the birth of their twins, Adam is left down and despairing. The normally good-natured Adam turns into a wholly different adult male. He merely stops caring about things that mattered to him so much before. He even shows small to no involvement in his boies, since they remind him of the loss of their female parent. His deficiency of concern about them is besides the ground why the twins do non hold names throughout their first twelvemonth of life.

The rejoinder of Samuel in Adam ‘s life signifies the return of the good Adam. When Samuel finds out about Adam ‘s indifference towards his boies, he instantly goes to his aid. Expectantly, Adam shows his reluctance to accept his aid. When it is clear that Samuel is non traveling to yield to his orders to go forth him entirely, Adam resorts to violence. In order to take Adam to the right path once more, Samuel has no pick but to contend with the evilness, that Cathy has cultivated inside Adam. The physical disturbance, which takes topographic point between Adam and Samuel symbolises the battle of good seeking to overmaster immorality. In this instance, good succeeds and the battle genuinely acts as a wake-up call for Adam. Even though their confrontation is violent, contact with Samuel manages to resurface some of the old Adam. He eyes are described ‘ and he instantly expresses his gratitude to Samuel. H

Samuel is besides the individual who helps Adam to interrupt loose from Cathy ‘s enchantment for good. On his deathbed, Samuel reveals to Adam that of all time since Cathy ran off from him, she has been working at a whorehouse in the town. The disclosure opens Adam ‘s eyes to the true nature of Cathy, and he eventually finds in himself the power to address her. Their concluding confrontation is another illustration of the direct battle between good and evil. Cathy is clearly fighting to keep her clasp on Adam, and TEMALE KOHASELT tries to lure him into kiping with her.

But her old fast ones do non allow her success

make non work on Adam any longer, and the lone feeling Cathy manages to elicit in him is repulsive force

His victory over Cathy marks the beginning of a new life for Adam and his household.

the He is now able to travel on with his life with newfound optimism, and promises foremost to be a better male parent for his boies.


The more they have to cover with existent grownup issues ; the male childs ‘ existent nature is revealed. Their ab initio so constituted functions begin to alter. Gradually the reader begins to see some fatal qualities of Aron. When Adam ‘s concern program goes downhill, and the household becomes the express joying stock of the town, Aron feels ashamed of his male parent.

After their male parent loses most of his money, Adam feels ashamed of him, and believes others to be mocking him. he wants to go forth the town, and travel to college. Aron does n’t back up him, and says that he is ashamed of him. ( QUOTE ) .

But still on his male parent ‘s money. He runs off from jobs, and in fells from immorality, so to talk. He besides believes that his female parent ‘s evilness affects him.

They are both affected by the intelligence that their female parent works in a whorehouse. And is evil. Both the male childs believe that because of Cathy, they are besides necessarily evil.


The internal battle of good and evil within a human being is depicted through the character of Caleb Trask. His life and destiny give replies to one of the most of import inquiries explored in the novel: Are people born with unconditioned dispositions towards good or evil or does everyone hold equal chance to take between the two waies?

To turn out his point, Steinbeck has used many ways to insinuate that Caleb was born to go an evil individual. To so demo that even if a wholly flawed individual like him who was rather destined to go immorality could take the right way, everyone has the chance.

The blunt use of the allusion of Cain and Abel reinforces the impression that Caleb is destined to be evil. Initially Samuel Hamilton proposes the male childs to be named after Adam ‘s Bible namesake ‘s eldest boies Cain and Abel. Although this marks the first clip the allusion of the two brothers in the Bible is mentioned in relation to Aron and Caleb, it is antecedently besides used with the first coevals of the Trask brothers, Adam and Charles. Not merely make both coevalss of Trask brothers have matching initials to Cain and Abel, but their lives besides portion many analogues with the celebrated narrative of sibling competition. Most obvious analogue being the male parent figure ‘s penchant of one brother over the other. During the class of the novel, it becomes evident that the brothers of the first coevals, Adam and Charles, genuinely correspond to Abel and Cain severally. This and the fact that the brothers of the 2nd coevals likewise to the first portion initials with the Biblical characters leads to believe that their kineticss are besides traveling to be similar ; the twin whose initial is ‘C ‘ would be the bad twin and the twin with the initial ‘A ‘ would be the good 1. This is besides reinforced by the blazing use of the allusion of Cain and Abel, when believing about names for the twins.

Caleb ‘s and his brother Aron ‘s features are besides invariably juxtaposed. Caleb is said to hold dark brown hair and eyes and be the manipulative and wary twin. Aron on the other manus is described to be angelic-looking and being sort and charitable.

The evident obtrusion of Caleb ‘s actions and features is used by Steinbeck to foster the impression that Caleb is traveling to stop up as an evil individual, much like his uncle Charles before him.

The more they have to cover with existent grownup issues ; the male childs ‘ existent nature is revealed. Their ab initio so constituted functions begin to alter. Gradually the reader begins to see some fatal qualities of Aron. When Adam ‘s concern program goes downhill, and the household becomes the express joying stock of the town, Aron feels ashamed of his male parent.

After their male parent loses most of his money, Adam feels ashamed of him, and believes others to be mocking him. he wants to go forth the town, and travel to college. Aron does n’t back up him, and says that he is ashamed of him. ( QUOTE ) .

But still on his male parent ‘s money. He runs off from jobs, and in fells from immorality, so to talk. He besides believes that his female parent ‘s evilness affects him.

They are both affected by the intelligence that their female parent works in a whorehouse. And is evil. Both the male childs believe that because of Cathy, they are besides necessarily evil.

Caleb is the 1 of the twins, who really realises his freedom of pick, and really conflicts with his hidden immorality.

When in the first coevals much of the narrative is told through the eyes of the so to state good brother, Adam, so in the subsequent coevals the supporter is the Cain paradigm Caleb. And he every bit good invariably compares himself to his brother like many others.

When Caleb finds out who his female parent is, he believes that he has received her evilness. But the maidservant, Lee, smartly disputes him, by stating that he is the lone 1 who can command and make up one’s mind over his life. Lee believes that it would be excessively easy to pardon yourself for being evil merely because of your lineage. ( Steinbeck, East of Eden 544 ) Lee ‘s wise words make Caleb endeavor even more towards a virtuous life, but unluckily like the remainder of people ; he finds it difficult to deny enticements.

Caleb is the character whose battle between good and evil is the most expressed in the novel. Caleb is surely good at bosom, since there are a figure of times when he is assisting his close 1s. When his male parent ‘s new concern goes downhill, Caleb is the boy who tries to assist him through the job. Compared to Aron, who feels ashamed of his male parent, and attempts to non be associated with him, Caleb puts a batch of attempt into gaining his male parent adequate money to acquire him out of the quandary. Although Caleb had good purposes, he has chosen the incorrect manner to transport them out, and therefore fails to assist his male parent. And in order to salvage his brother from happening out the truth about their female parent, he insists Aron to travel to analyze in Stanford. On the other manus, he besides shows his immoral side. He admits to kiping with cocottes and agrees to take portion in a strategy to do money.

The two sides of him are endlessly in a ‘tug of war ‘ , there are occasions when the good side in him is prevailing, and at that place cases where evilness additions the upper manus.

Although he was besides predestined to go evil Unlike his predecessors, Caleb manages to contend his evil inclinations and happen the way to goodness.

The character Lee, who is the amah of the Trask family, can be considered the most educated of the characters. After the twins are born, Lee takes up the treatment of the scriptural narrative of Cain and Abel, which is difficult to be understood by most of the work forces at that clip. But after old ages of analyzing and analyzing the text of Genesis word for word with the aid of Chinese bookmans, Lee discovers the true significance of God ‘s preachment to Cain. The Hebrew word Timshel, which was used by God, has been mistranslated in the English interlingual renditions of the Bible, and has caused it to lose its true significance and value. It has even misled people into believing that they are non the Masterss of their life and hereafter. This one word has led worlds to believe that they genuinely do n’t hold the power to alter the path of their life and that it all depends on something greater. The American Standard interlingual rendition of ‘Do 1000 ‘ orders work forces to prevail over wickedness ( p.369 ) . The King James interlingual rendition makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt ‘ significance that work forces will certainly prevail over wickedness. But the original word Timshel really means ‘Thou mayest ‘ , which gives the pick to work forces themselves. In world it is non God ‘s or anyone else ‘s demand, or promise which determines the way of a human being. Timshel offers worlds free custodies to make up one’s mind about their fate and leaves all doors open. Nothing in this universe is predestined. Every individual is in charge of his/her ain life, and responsible for the manner they turn out to be. The find is of great importance to the human sort.

Caleb is the character in the novel who wholly embraces the construct of Timshel. His desire to be good is so immense, that he even prays that he could be more like his brother, who is portrayed as the incarnation of all that is good ( Steinbeck, East of Eden 462 ) The difference between Caleb and other opposite numbers of Cain in the novel, is that he realizes there is ever opportunity of salvation. Caleb becomes cognizant that it is him who determines his hereafter, non anyone else. With the aid of Lee, Caleb realises that it is absolutely normal for human existences to be flawed, and doing errors does non do them evil monsters. It is rather inevitable to non give into enticement and follow the impulse towards evil instead than good. But what truly affairs is how the individual decides to take his life from that point frontward.

Caleb ‘s brother Aron besides has to cover with the troubles of life, but goes about it in a incorrect manner. Afraid of subjecting to enticement, Aron wholly withdraws himself from the universe. He believes that to be the lone manner to really salvage himself. The fearful behavior is condemned by many other characters, particularly his ex-girlfriend, Abra, who now confesses to Caleb that he loves him non his brother. And that partially because Caleb was strong and wilful plenty to manage his moral battles. Peoples have to confront their jobs, and the trade with them. Avoiding enticements does non do a individual good. Rather facing enticements and managing them is what makes a good individual. Since Caleb is strong plenty to cover with the battle inside him, he wholly embraces the thought of timshel. Much like his Biblical opposite number, Caleb is given the opportunity to deliver himself.

When God fins out that Cain had killed his brother Abel, he punishes him by puting a grade on his brow to warn others that the act of slaying will be badly punished. Though Cain was banished from the Garden of Eden and had to populate in the East of Eden, he still was granted the permission to go on to cultivate the land. The grade seems to be a mark of clemency from God, and gives Cain a opportunity to deliver himself. In the novel, Adam ‘s concluding approval of Cal symbolizes the salvation of Cal, who is eventually shed of his guilt.

“ We all have the potency for good and evil, but being evil is a pick, ” states Lee, a retainer who acts like the philosopher in the novel and who, possibly expresses Steinbecks positions on the topic.

After all, redemption, in this book, is tied to a construct that ‘s cardinal to the human experience: Choice.