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East of Eden

A book by John Steinbeck

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My review of East Of Eden

  • Jul 7, 2003
East of Eden was originally published in 1952, and the setting for the novel is the late 19th and early 20th century. I still enjoyed reading East of Eden though, because there are timeless themes presented in this book. Sibling rivalry, guilt, and betrayal are some of the main themes in this book. It was ironic and interesting to read how 2 sets of brothers from different generations compete for the approval and love of their father.

There are many memorable characters with strong personalities in East of Eden. I loved the complex character of Cathy. She is a whore who shoots her husband and abandons her family. This incident leaves her husband Adam shattered and confused in the beginning of the story. I loved how Adam becomes a stronger person and a better father later in the book. I loved the supporting character named Lee in this novel. He is a loyal servant to the patriarch Adam Trask. He is also the primary caretaker to Adam Trask's sons Caleb and Aron.

I loved reading about the development of the characters especially the twins Caleb and Aron. Caleb is the curious, brave, independent, strong willed sibling who has dark thoughts. His brother Aron is the sensitive, studious one. The contrast between their personalities is very interesting. The most intense part of the book is when Caleb learns of the existence of his mother and confronts her.

East of Eden becomes a very predictable book about a third of the way in, but it is still a wonderfully written book. I simply loved the evolution of the characters especially Adam. East of Eden has themes of sibling rivalry, guilt, betrayal, loss, and the American dream of getting ahead and raising a family that are still relevant in society today. I enjoyed it very much.

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More East of Eden reviews
review by . June 29, 2010
East of Eden is a complex and interesting reflection on the interaction of good and evil with the human soul. Through incorporating references to Cain and Abel, John Steinbeck leads the reader to ask, what is good? what is evil? can any human being be completely and thoroughly evil? and most importantly, what is free will?       Using multiple literary devices, John Steinbeck portrays the struggles of two generations of the Trask family in addition to those of his own ancestors …
review by . July 12, 2010
This book written by John Steinbeck tells a story of several characters whose lives are entwined.  Set in the late 1800's into the 1900's the story is written so that it is told from the perspective of different characters throughout and often has flashbacks to give the reader further understanding of the complicated social situations.  Because the story encompasses more years than your average novel, it helps paint the picture of our developing nation.  Each character is …
review by . June 30, 2010
   I first read East of Eden when I was twelve years old. Needless to say, I did not truly grasp it. However, I read it again twice in high school, and each time I read it I discover something new. Each time I read it I feel hopeful. Many think it is a depressing tale, too full of religion, too full of pain, however I find it full of hope. What i have taken most out of this book is "timshel." This word mean "Thou mayest." For Lee, this word changes his life. He tries …
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2010
This sweeping masterpiece is expertly woven by a master of epic novels.
review by . June 28, 2010
This is a classic!      Though the plot may be predictable, its style and character development truly merit its great recognition. Most of the characters are exaggerated and unrealistic. The overstatement and overemphasis of the characters' specific detail and idiosyncrasy that truly makes this book special.      John Steinbeck effectively uses characters to further bring objectivity. In this case, he employs Lee's objective nature to bring …
review by . August 11, 2010
I loved this book.  I love being invited into a story that was written so long ago, yet so relevant to our world today.  That defines a truly timeless classic in my opinion.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
My all-time favorite book!!! A book that truly examines human character. Truly interesting and timeless with great lessons. A must read!!!
Quick Tip by . July 07, 2010
a very old book. read along with the grapes of wrath.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
loved the movie
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
How is it possible to dislike all of the characters?
About the reviewer
Robert Yokoyama ()
Ranked #37
I love to read new books and talk about them. I also like to listen to different kinds of music and talk about that. I am a friendly guy who likes to meet new people. I love to read books that teach me … more
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About this book


Novel by John Steinbeck, published in 1952. It is a symbolic recreation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel woven into a history of California's Salinas Valley. With East of Eden Steinbeck hoped to reclaim his standing as a major novelist, but his broad depictions of good and evil come at the expense of subtlety in characterization and plot and it was not a critical success. Spanning the period between the American Civil War and the end of World War I, the novel highlights the conflicts of two generations of brothers; the first being the kind, gentle Adam Trask and his wild brother Charles. Adam eventually marries Cathy Ames, an evil, manipulative, and beautiful prostitute; she betrays him, joining Charles on the very night of their wedding. Later, after giving birth to twin boys, she shoots Adam and leaves him to return to her former profession. In the shadow of this heritage Adam raises their sons, the fair-haired, winning, yet intractable Aron, and the dark, clever Caleb. This second generation of brothers vie for their father's approval. In bitterness Caleb reveals the truth about their mother to Aron, who then joins the army and is killed in France. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 0142000655
ISBN-13: 978-0142000656
Author: John Steinbeck
Genre: Literature
Publisher: Penguin
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1984 (British first edition)

Collection of Classics


A Fine Balance

Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009


First to Review

"A truly great book"
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