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Encyclopedia > East of Eden
East of Eden

First edition cover
Author John Steinbeck
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher The Viking Press
Publication date September 1952
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA

East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952. Image File history File links JohnSteinbeck_EastOfEden. ... John Ernst Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was one of the best-known and most widely read American writers of the 20th century. ... In political geography and international politics a country is a geographical entity, a territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Viking Press was founded on March 1, 1925, in New York City, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... East of Eden may refer to: Land of Nod, is according to the Bible located on the east of Eden East of Eden, the 1952 novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck East of Eden (1955 film), the 1955 motion picture based on the book East of Eden (rock band... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... The Nobel Prize in literature is awarded annually to an author from any country who has produced the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency. The work in this case generally refers to an authors work as a whole, not to any individual work, though individual works are sometimes... John Ernst Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was one of the best-known and most widely read American writers of the 20th century. ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors. // Eden may refer to: Garden of Eden, an original meaning, a place east of Eden described in Book of Genesis. ... The Salinas Valley in the Central Coast region of California lies along the Salinas River between the Gabilan Mountains and the Santa Lucia Range. ...


According to his last wife Elaine, he considered this to be a requiem for himself—his greatest novel ever.[citation needed] Steinbeck states about East of Eden: "It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years." He further claimed: "I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this."


Elaine, in looking back on the year that he worked on the book, said that his work on the novel affected him deeply. Perhaps the best way to put it would be to say that it was the last stage in putting himself back together after the years that had torn him apart.

Contents

Plot summary

The story is primarily set in the Salinas Valley, California, between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of the Great War (World War I), though some chapters are in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and the story goes as far back as the American Civil War. Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Official language(s) English Capital Boston Largest city Boston Area  Ranked 44th  - Total 10,555 sq mi (27,360 km²)  - Width 183 miles (295 km)  - Length 113 miles (182 km)  - % water 13. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total...


Adam Trask, after a tumultuous childhood in the East and enduring harsh treatment from his younger brother, Charles, spends his time either in the military or wandering the country. While visiting his brother at the family farm in Connecticut, they find Cathy Ames, a viciously beaten woman on their doorstep. Adam falls in love with her, and soon marries her, failing to recognize her as an innately evil woman.


Samuel Hamilton and his wife Liza, immigrants from Ireland, raise their nine children on the rough infertile hillside. As the Hamilton children leave the nest, Adam Trask, newly wed and newly rich after inheriting considerable wealth from his deceased father, Cyrus Trask, settles with a pregnant Cathy into a large and fertile plot near Samuel Hamilton's. After Cathy gives birth to twins, she shoots Adam in the shoulder and flees. Adam recovers and raises his children with the help of his Cantonese cook, Lee, and Samuel Hamilton, who is a regular visitor.


Meanwhile, Cathy becomes a prostitute in a brothel in the city, renaming herself Kate to avoid recognition, and eventually becomes the owner of the most "respectable" brothel in the area after killing its former owner Faye. Kate makes the brothel infamous for its brutal treatment of clients.


Adam's sons, named Caleb (Cal) and Aaron (Aron)—after their namesakes in the Bible—grow up oblivious of their mother's situation, with Cal pursuing a career in business with Will Hamilton, one of Samuel's sons, and with Aron going to college to become an Episcopalian priest. Cal finds out about his mother from a drunken acquaintance of his father, and goes to meet her; Kate learns of her two children, and recognizes Cal's similarity to herself in mindset. The arms of the Episcopal Church are based on the St Georges Cross, a symbol of England (mother of world Anglicanism), with a saltire reminiscent of the Cross of St Andrew in the canton in reference to the historical origins of the American episcopate in the Scottish Episcopal Church. ...


Adam becomes inspired by Samuel Hamilton's inventiveness and begins to come up with ideas on how to transport produce across the country using iceboxes on trains. The plan fails, causing Adam and his family, now living in Salinas, to lose most of their wealth. To give a gift to his father—admittedly to buy his father's love—Cal works with Will Hamilton to make his father's money back, capitalizing on World War I by selling dehydrated beans grown in the Salinas Valley. “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


Aron returns from college for Thanksgiving. At dinner, Cal gives his father the money, but Adam refuses to accept the money and tells him to give it back. Adam added that Aron's gift was living a good life, which he wished for Cal to do. Cal tells his brother about their mother, who is devastated by the news (he was under the belief that she died and was buried on the East Coast) and enlists in the army to fight in World War I. Aron is killed in battle and Adam has a stroke as a result. The novel ends with Adam saying timshel! (a Hebrew word said in the novel to mean 'thou mayest'), alluding to the point that Cal may have the ability to conquer his evil nature. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Stroke (or cerebrovascular accident or CVA) is the clinical designation for a rapidly developing loss of brain function due to an interruption in the blood supply to all or part of the brain. ...


Major themes

The book explores themes of depravity, beneficence, love, and the struggle for acceptance, greatness, and the capacity for self-destruction, and especially of guilt and freedom. It ties these themes together with references to and many parallels with the biblical Book of Genesis (especially Genesis Chapter 4, the story of Cain and Abel). Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Mohandas K. Gandhi - Freedom can be achieved through inner sovereignty. ... Genesis (Greek: Γένεσις, having the meanings of birth, creation, cause, beginning, source and origin) is the first book of the Torah (five books of Moses) and hence the first book of the Tanakh, part of the Hebrew Bible; it is also the first book of the Christian Old Testament. ... According to the Holy Bible and the Quran, Cain and Abel were the first and second sons of Adam and Eve, born after the Fall of Man (the only other child of Adam and Eve to be named in the Bible was Seth). ...


Steinbeck's inspiration for the novel comes from the fourth chapter of Genesis, verses one through sixteen, which recounts the story of Cain and Abel. The title, East of Eden, was chosen by Steinbeck from Genesis, Chapter 4, verse 16: "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden" (King James Version). In stories common to the Abrahamic religions, Cain or Káyin (קַיִן / קָיִן spear Standard Hebrew Qáyin, Tiberian Hebrew Qáyin / Qāyin; Arabic قايين Qāyīn in the Arabic Bible; قابيل Qābīl in Islam) is the eldest son of Adam and Eve, and the first man born in creation... In the Book of Genesis, Abel (Hebrew הֶבֶל / הָבֶל, Standard Hebrew Hével / Hável, Tiberian Hebrew Héḇel / Hāḇel; Arabic هابيل Hābīl) was the second son of Adam. ...


Steinbeck's allusion to Cain and Abel is furthered by the naming of the Trask family; the first letters of the names of the brothers are in match throughout the generations (Charles and Adam, Cal and Aron).


Some of the biblical parallels include:

Book of Genesis, Cain and Abel East of Eden, Charles and Adam East of Eden, Caleb and Aron
Cain is a "worker of the ground"; Abel is a "keeper of sheep" (Gen. 4:2, ESV). Charles is a farmer who works diligently even after he inherits considerable wealth from his father, Cyrus. Caleb invests in bean crops. Aron vies to become a priest, who are commonly compared with shepherds.
God rejects Cain's gift of crops in favor of Abel's lamb (Gen. 4:3, ESV). Cyrus prefers the gift from his son Adam (a stray puppy) over the gift from his other son Charles (an expensive knife). Adam rejects his son Cal's money and would rather he lead a good life like Aron.
After rejection from God, Cain kills Abel (Gen. 4:8, ESV). After being rejected by their father, Charles attacks Adam and beats him nearly to death. After Adam rejects Cal's money, Cal informs Aron of their mothers' brothel. Aron, distraught, enlists in the war and is killed in combat.
God put a mark on Cain to deter others from killing him (Gen. 4:15, ESV). Charles receives a dark scar on his forehead while trying to move a boulder from his fields. Cal is described as having a more dark and sinister appearance than Aron. Also noteworthy is the fact that Adam tells Cal, "timshel," meaning "thou mayest." This implies Cal may overcome his evil nature because of the "mark" put upon him by Adam.
Cain is the only one with progeny. Charles is the only one with children, as it is speculated that the twins Aron and Cal are his. Aron dies in the war, and Cal is the only one to carry on and have children

The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. ... Shepherd in Făgăraş Mountains, Romania. ... In Christianity and Judaism, the curse of Cain and the mark of Cain refer to the Biblical passages in the Book of Genesis chapter 4, where God declared that Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve, was cursed, and placed a mark upon him to warn others that killing Cain...

Writing "East of Eden"

Recent edition cover

As he wrote the novel, Steinbeck went through a number of possible titles for the book, including "The Salinas Valley," the working title from the beginning; "My Valley," after a Texas businessman suggested he make it more universal; "Down to the Valley," and then, after he decided to incorporate the Biblical allusion directly into the title, "Cain Sign." It was only upon transcribing the 16 verses of Cain and Abel in the text itself that he enthusiastically took the last three words of the final verse, "East of Eden", as the novel's title. East of Eden book cover This image is a book cover. ... East of Eden book cover This image is a book cover. ...


The novel was not well accepted by the critics of its day, who found it heavy-handed and unconvincing in its use of Biblical allusion. Nevertheless, it became an instant best-seller in November of 1952, a mere month after it was released, and is now considered one of Steinbeck's finest achievements. 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Film, TV, and theatrical adaptations

EAST OF EDEN, PART I: PILLARS OF FIRE by John Steinbeck, adapted for the stage by Alan Cook, October 23 - November 23, 1996 EAST OF EDEN, PART II: BREAKING THE CHAIN by John Steinbeck, adapted for the stage by Alan Cook, November 7 - 23, 1996 https://www.actorstheatre.org/about_production_4.htm // Events November 3 - The musical Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, debuts. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... East of Eden is a 1955 movie, directed by Elia Kazan, and based on the novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. ... Elia Kazan, (Greek: Ηλίας Καζάν, IPA: ), (September 7, 1909 – September 28, 2003) was a Greek-American film and theatre director, film and theatrical producer, screenwriter, novelist and founder of the influential Actors Studio in New York in 1947. ... James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. ... Actress Julie Harris photo taken by Carl Van Vechten 1952 Julie Harris (born Julia Ann Harris on December 2, 1925 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan) is an American actress. ... Richard Davalos (born November 5, 1935) is an actor of Greek/American descent who starred in East of Eden as James Deans brother and portrayed a convict in Cool Hand Luke. ... Raymond Massey photographed by Carl Van Vechten Raymond Hart Massey (August 30, 1896 – July 29, 1983) was a Canadian actor. ... Jo Van Fleet (December 30, 1914 – June 10, 1996) was an Academy Award-winning American theater and film actress. ... Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (14 June 1909 – 14 April 1995), an Academy Award winner, was an acclaimed American folk music singer, author, and actor. ... Year 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays the 1981 Gregorian calendar). ... Timothy Bottoms (born August 30, 1951) is an American actor. ... Jane Seymour OBE (born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg on February 15, 1951) is an English-born actress probably best known today as the star of the TV series and film Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. ... Bruce Boxleitner (born May 12, 1950 in Elgin, Illinois) is an American actor. ... Karen Jane Allen (born October 5, 1951) is an American actress most famous for her roles in the films National Lampoons Animal House (1978), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Starman (1984). ... Warren Oates (July 5, 1928 - April 3, 1982) was an American character actor. ... Actor Howard Duff in Johnny Stool Pigeon Actor Howard Duff (November 24 - July 8, 1990) in Bremerton, Washington was a radio and stage performer before he began appearing in films in the late 1940s. ... Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923 – December 12, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American actress. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...


Popular culture references

Matt Costa (born June 16, 1982) is a singer/songwriter from Huntington Beach, California. ... // Meg & Dia self-released their debut album, Our Home Is Gone, in 2005, which featured a mostly acoustic style of music, and toured extensively in support of it, sharing stages with such national acts as Limbeck, The Format, Melee, An Angle, Koufax, and Steel Train. ... Anna Christine Nalick (born March 30, 1984, in Glendora, California), is an American singer-songwriter. ... It has been suggested that Pete Dohertys controversies be merged into this article or section. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Interview with Matt Costa where he cites John Steinbeck as an influence, and "The Ballad of Miss Kate" being loosely based on Cathy Ames.
  2. ^ Biography of Meg & Dia where band member Meg Frampton states: I love Fitzgerald, Salinger, and Steinbeck. "Monster", the first single from Something Real, is about East of Eden written by Steinbeck.
  3. ^ Interview with Anna Nalick where she explains: I was inspired to write that song after I read the book East of Eden and there is a character in there who was beautiful her whole life, but [...] she gets old, realizes that her looks are gone and that she's ready to go, she drinks a bottle of poison and she imagines that she's like Alice in Wonderland, slowly getting smaller and smaller and smaller until she finally fades away.

Something Real is Meg & Dias second album (but first mainstream) which was released on August 08, 2006. ... Alice in Wonderland is the widely known and used title for Alices Adventures in Wonderland, a book written by Lewis Carroll -- as well as several movie adaptations of the book -- and is also the setting for several short stories. ...

External links

Summaries and Discussion

The following pages contain chapter summaries, anaylses (of themes, symbolism, and motifs), and/or character profiles:

  • Steven Jacowski on East of Eden Background information; character information; discussion/review.
  • East of Eden on Oprah
  • SparkNotes: East of Eden Chapter summaries; character information; analyses of themes, motifs, and symbols; quotations.
  • NovelGuide: East of Eden Chapter summaries; character information; analyses of metaphors and themes; quotations
  • GradeSaver: ClassicNote: East of Eden Chapter summaries; character information; analysis of themes.
  • Google Patents The character Samuel Hamilton (Steinbeck's maternal grandfather), as referenced in the novel, has three patents associated with him: a Thrashing-Machine, a Header Spring and a Plowshare Attachment.



 
 

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