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East Of Eden This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   East of Eden shows why John Steinbeck is such an acclaimed author. Following the lives of the Trask family from 1860's Connecticut to the Salinas Valley, Northern California during World War I, the novel explores human nature and the choices that people make in their lives. The Hamilton family, Lee the Chinese philosopher-cook, and others who are involved in and influence the lives of the Trasks, also play important roles in the novel, adding character and variety to the story.

The story of Adam and Catherine Trask parallels the biblical story of Adam and Eve; the story of their sons, Caleb and Aron Trask parallels the story of Cain and Abel. Like the Hebrew version of both biblical stories, East of Eden, revolves around the Hebrew word, Timshel - thou mayest - to which Steinbeck attributes great significance. The narrative explores the choices that the main characters make and leads the reader to examine his or her own choices in life.

A reflective commentary on human nature, East of Eden takes the reader on a tour of the human mind and focuses on people's abilities to deal with emotions (like self-doubt and jealousy), as seen through the eyes of Steinbeck. The novel's characters encompass a wide cross-section of humanity - the poor and the rich, the dreamer and the pragmatist, philosophers, poets, the brave, and the cowardly - giving the reader insight into a diversified human morass. Readers might question the authenticity of the one-dimensional character of the evil Catherine Trask, but even this character serves to illustrate a facet of human existence - life without a conscience.

Although the novel moves at a sedate pace, it augments the story rather than detracts from it, giving readers time to think and absorb, something they are bound to do when reading this novel. Those who enjoy philosophical discussions and are intrigued by the human mind will enjoy this sensitive, thought-provoking, and fascinating portrayal of humanity. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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