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East of Eden
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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Jan 24, 2008 05:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
OK, you had to know I was going to start a folder for my favorite book, East of Eden by John Steinbeck.




Sera | 195 comments Ooh, Sarah, way to go! As you know, my favorite too :)


Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
I just posted some discussion questions I found in various places on the internet. But feel free to talk about any aspect of this book!


Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
I think there are many, many references to Cain and Abel specifically. There are a few other Genesis references I believe, but it's mainly Cain and Abel. I'll address these parallels in a different thread to avoid spoilers here.


message 5: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) This has always been one of my favorites as well. In fact, I'm just an all around huge Steinbeck fan.

I've always heard that East of Eden is a quasi-biography of Steinbeck's family. Can anyone verify that?

I also agree that there are some serious Cain and Abel issues in this book. But, it seems to be a theme in most of Steinbeck's works. If you read 'The Grapes of Wrath' with an eye to it, you will discover all sorts of thinly veiled biblical references. Maybe something Steinbeck was trying to work out through his writing...


message 6: by Sarah (last edited Jan 25, 2008 12:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
Jen, that is true. Samuel Hamilton was the name of Steinbeck's grandfather. His mother was Olive Hamilton, who married John Ernst Steinbeck Sr. Olive and "Ernest" appear in chapter 31 as "the narrator's" parents.


Bree This was the first "real" book I read. By that I mean a classic that i actually understood and enjoyed. I was just out of high school and taking a college class on American Lit. I totally enjoyed this book and it has remained on "must reads" list since that class.

I see lots of veiled biblical references in Steinbecks work as well, and like Jen wonder if he was trying to work things out through his writing. In some ways I think that's a real purpose of writing, trying to work things out in our minds.



message 8: by Sarah (last edited Jan 26, 2008 10:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
I believe that religion was one of Steinbeck's many interests. He studied all kinds of things, the Bible, marine biology, mythology, and politics.


message 9: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) Brenda- I definitely agree a bout the working it out. Probably for most writers, whether biographical or not. Think of why people journal. I would think it hard to not put at least a little of yourself into a character or place, or something in every book.


Pandora Okey I joined the group because of the East of Eden thread. I'm currently reading East of Eden for the second time. I love how Steindbeck decoded the Cain and Abel story. Very powerful stuff.

I was curious. I'm finding that although Cal is suppose to be the unloveable twin I think he is much more likeable. I'm having trouble liking Aron. I know part of this is due to Steinbeck but, it is a curious to note how the darker characters can be the more intresting ones.


Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
What do you find difficult to like about Aron?


Pandora It is hard to say. It just he is too good. Too soft. It so easy for Cal to control Aron. Cal also get the funny bits while Aron is too serious. I can also sympathize with the fact that Cal hides his pain and tries to survive the best way he can. Things come too easy for Aron and not always because he deserves it. There is an injustice that Aron gets all the sympathy and none goes to Cal who is hurting too.

I also like it that Cal is willingly to face the hard truths while Aron runs away from them. In a way Aron is like Raoul in The Man in the Iron Mask trilogy. So good but, also so weak that they end up chew up by the world without making a stand in their own defense. Having have to be a fighter I find this character hard to take.


Cal has what it takes to survive in the world. Aron does not. From Cal you can learn to survive. That is why I perfer Cal and find it hard to like Aron.


Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
I think that is the central theme of the novel: that Aron gets all the love and Cal gets none, and it does such a beautiful job of examining how one might turn out if they never received any affection.


Pandora The novel does do a great job of exploring rejection and how that can twist a person. I just find it curious that I always seem to be drawn to the darker character.

Another question. In chapter 34 on page 372 Steinbeck describes three men. I was trying to figure out who they could be. I think the frist might be Andrew Cargine (the library bulider), the second J Edgar Hoover, and the thrid FDR or maybe Lincoln. Then again maybe they are not real people. Any opinons?




Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
Hmm, good question! Lemme stew on it.


message 16: by Sera (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sera | 195 comments OOOOO, new posts on my favorite book EVAH

I need to go to sleep, but I will be checking in to read and to respond to this thread soon.


Pandora Finally finished the book today. When I got to page 517 when Abra explained why she didn't love Aron it became clearer to me my problem with Aron. He is a child who tries to force people into his boxes and gives them no chance to be who there are. Aron also doesn't grow and I perfer characters that grow and change.


message 18: by Traci (new) - added it

Traci Matkoski | 1 comments This is my first post! I just found this website yesterday. I am halfway through East of Eden. It has been at least 3 years since I have read the book. Here is my question, should I start over from the begining? Thanks for the help.


Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
Yeah, after 3 years I think it would be a good idea to start over.


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