East of Eden Readalong discussion

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East of Eden > Part 1 Discussion / Chapters 1-11 [SPOILERS]

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Discussion for the first 11 chapters of East of Eden. Spoilers are allowed in this thread so please only read comments if you have already read the chapters.


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Jane | 7 comments Oh my gosh! I was not prepared for Cathey Ames! She came totally out of the blue and now I’m really curious how this plot will unfold and how she’ll factor in. I know nothing about the story so it will all be new to me! I just finished Chapter 8 after the fire, and I won’t check back here until after I’m done with chapter 12, but I just have to say WOW! I am so intrigued!


message 3: by Emily (new)

Emily Emm (emmaleighbug) This is much darker so far than I was expecting! I don’t love reading about people that have so much darkness inside of them, especially like Kathy - who is described as being possessed by devils. It’s not too much for me to handle so far though, luckily!! I should have expected darkness considering Of Mine and Men...

To be honest I am wondering why the Hamilton’s were introduced so early only for the narrative to do a crazy deep dive into the Trasks for most of this section. I’m assuming they will weave into the story in a more significant way soon.


message 4: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Jane | 7 comments I agree, Emily! I was not expecting that either!


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments Emily wrote: "To be honest I am wondering why the Hamilton’s were introduced so early only for the narrative to do a crazy deep dive into the Trasks for most of this section. I’m assuming they will weave into the story in a more significant way soon. ..."

I was wondering the same thing as I progressed through Part One but now I've started Part Two it's becoming clearer.


message 6: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments The introduction of Cathy certainly raised the level of the book a notch or two. She's such an unpredictable and amoral character that there's no knowing what she'll end up doing.


message 7: by Aurora (new)

Aurora (auroradomani) This has been such a nice easy read so far, just doing a little at a time and enjoying the writing and the story about Adam and Charles. Then - Cathy comes in - and it just changes so much but in a good way. I'm enjoying this a lot so far!


message 8: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (sageribardan) I am past the Cathy part and I'm struggling as I don't care for any of the characters right now. Adam and Charles arguing with each other now and I'm going to give it a bit but as a "classic" this book isn't holding up for me.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Daniel wrote: "I am past the Cathy part and I'm struggling as I don't care for any of the characters right now. Adam and Charles arguing with each other now and I'm going to give it a bit but as a "classic" this ..."

I can see where you're coming from. The good news is there's a lot of time for things to change. I don't want to say much more than that here but I'm hoping something grabs you soon!


message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (sageribardan) I don't know, I'm into the second section and really hating Cathy and already seeing how this is going to go bad for Adam. I don't see myself completing this as quickly as everyone else.


message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments Hi Daniel. I've just finished the book and would definitely regard it as a true modern classic. If you're not enjoying it by the end of part one then it might be best to give up especially if you're expecting to like the characters - Cathy is truly horrible.


message 12: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (sageribardan) Yeah, I moved on. I don't think Steinbeck is my type of author. Loved his description of Salinas Valley and it's environs but just don't care to read about any of the characters. I don't need a character that is likeable but I need a character I like to read about, it's a small distinction but important.


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "This is much darker so far than I was expecting! I don’t love reading about people that have so much darkness inside of them, especially like Kathy - who is described as being possessed by devils. ..."

Yeah, Steinbeck really does like his dark narratives. It's always an interesting contrast to the often simple lives of his characters and his colorful descriptions. Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl -- all sort of exemplify this.

That is also an interesting point about the Hamiltons! They are introduced so early on and then the story goes in a different direction. Even though I've read the book before I can't remember specifically if there is any significance to this, so I will be following this closely as the book goes on.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Daniel wrote: "Yeah, I moved on. I don't think Steinbeck is my type of author. Loved his description of Salinas Valley and it's environs but just don't care to read about any of the characters. I don't need a cha..."

Hey Daniel. It's too bad you weren't getting along with it, but there's no shame in hanging it up. You can always try again another time if you have the desire to. For what it's worth I will say there are more character's, often significant, who come into play throughout the novel. It is a multi-generational story so things do change a lot, however, the characters you have met you may have to still deal with. Character development also plays a big part in this novel so people learn and change. But you have experienced the tone and style of the writing so that aspect will remain a constant.


message 15: by Ian (last edited Jun 18, 2018 11:26AM) (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Some thoughts of my own of part one.

I found it interesting how quickly I was swaying between sympathizing for Adam and sympathizing for Charles. Initially, I feel bad for Adam for being scared of his brother, not being raised by his biological mother, etc. Then I felt for Charles because he wanted the affection of his father and never got it. Adam starts making these decisions to join the military, not because he likes it, but because he doesn't know what else to do and doesn't want to face Charles. So here I felt for Charles as he becomes so lonely and later, once Adam is back, sounds almost scared to leave his past (the farm) and join Adam in a new life. Then Cathy comes in, the one constant in this where somehow, even after being beaten half to death, I feel almost scared of her. And I starting liking how Charles is suspicious of her while Adam seems naive and marries her. And finally, Steinbeck decides to toy with my sympathy and take another turn at the end of part one where Cathy climbs into bed with Charles. Sheeesh. I like the grey area involved in these characters. Even though Cathy seems psychotic and for the most part dislikable, the other two completely fluctuate for me. Not that they are particularly likable characters, but I still sympathize with each of them at different moments. I don't know if anyone else agrees? The first time I read this I can't remember ever siding with Charles, but I found myself doing that this time around.


message 16: by Aurora (new)

Aurora (auroradomani) Ian wrote: "Some thoughts of my own of part one.

I found it interesting how quickly I was swaying between sympathizing for Adam and sympathizing for Charles. Initially, I feel bad for Adam for being scared o..."


I definitely felt sympathy for Charles and I think the characters are written very grey so you can do that no matter how unlikable they are. I still have yet to feel real sympathy for Cathy, but then again, if I think about things from her point of view I can feel bad for her at certain times.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments I think my feelings towards the two brothers changed as the book progressed. I mean it's difficult to like Charles when he tries to kill Adam; Charles seems incredibly volatile at first but then as he mellows he becomes more human. A similar thing happens later with Cal and Aron.


message 18: by Emily (new)

Emily Emm (emmaleighbug) I like Adam, but I feel sorry for Charles. He has a temper in him that naturally scares me, as it does with Adam. I did however start to feel some sympathy with him when he was all alone at the farm, just waiting in Adam to come back. All he wanted was his father’s love, and of course that is heartbreaking because he never got it. I do feel that, but I definitely like Adam more.


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