East of Eden Readalong discussion

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East of Eden > Part 2 Discussion / Chapters 12 - 22 [SPOILERS]

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Discussion for chapters 12 through 22 of East of Eden. Spoilers are allowed here so please only read through comments if you have already read up to this point.


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Jane | 7 comments HOLY CRAP, CATHY! Girl is scary. Also, I loved how sweet Samuel came to shake Adam out of his funk. I found the whole conversation about how you never hear of a kid named Cain to be interesting. And true! Fascinating look at the Cain/Abel story and how people feel about it. Does anyone else LOVE Lee? I love reading his dialogue when he’s talking with Samuel and Adam and he can relax and be himself.


message 3: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments Stephanie wrote: "Does anyone else LOVE Lee? I love reading his dialogue when he’s talking with Samuel and Adam and he can relax and be himself. ."

I've only just got to the conversation between Samuel and Lee and I really enjoyed it. There isn't much humour in Steinbeck, I guess, so when it does come it's all the sweeter. It's so funny to have a character playing up to the national stereotype just to get ahead in the world.


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments Samuel's visit to Adam's farm is interesting - Samuel seems to be able to see through people and he knows there is something wrong with Cathy and that Adam is oblivious to it. Even when Cathy tells Adam that she has no plans to stay there he doesn't believe her. But how much chaos will she create before she leaves?


message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily Emm (emmaleighbug) Note:: I’m posting without having read the other comments because I just started the section.

I am loooooving Steinbeck’s passages/chapters that discuss the philosophy of mankind. The parts that are not related to the plot or characters, but just discussing life or mankind or the setting. Chapter 12 is an excellent example, and then again in pieces of 13.

12 is about the passing into a new century, and how humans treat such an arbitrary thing. How the further back the years are, the more sacred and wise they become, but the more recent history was disposable and could have been better with different decisions...and how the future, all of the 20th century, was clean and pure, and that the first one to muck it up would be persecuted. While something very similar comes over me at every turn in the new year, I always wonder why the heck it is that we take a new year as a fresh start...because nothing is different at January 1st than it was on Dec 31st, at least nothing more than the difference from December 30th to 31st.

I also loved the description of how Kathy brings out the glory in Adam. How something in the contrast of her nature and his pushed him to be better (despite him being blind to her faults).

The writing itself and the philosophies behind this wisdom is just blowing me away. I’m listening to the audiobook at work, but I am going to have to get home and pull some direct quotes! So far these are definitely my favorite parts of the book.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "HOLY CRAP, CATHY! Girl is scary. Also, I loved how sweet Samuel came to shake Adam out of his funk. I found the whole conversation about how you never hear of a kid named Cain to be interesting. An..."

Love Lee too! This is the section his character starts to shine and only progresses throughout. He always seems to be the voice of reason and keeps everyone grounded in a way.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Jonathan wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "Does anyone else LOVE Lee? I love reading his dialogue when he’s talking with Samuel and Adam and he can relax and be himself. ."

I've only just got to the conversation between S..."


I realized I feel like I'm noticing more humor this time around than I was when I first read the book. Maybe this is just because I was so caught up in the drama of the book that I was taking it all a little more seriously, or maybe a lot of it went over my head before. But now I'm noticing he throws in a lot more humor than I remember.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "Note:: I’m posting without having read the other comments because I just started the section.

I am loooooving Steinbeck’s passages/chapters that discuss the philosophy of mankind. The parts that a..."





So good. I think this is the passage about glory you are referring to.

“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.”


It's interesting that you said Kathy brings out the best in Adam, which is true initially, but this "glory" is only temporary and he lets Cathy dictate all of his happiness leading to him neglecting his own children for a while. Steinbeck loves his philosophical passages, and often they drop out of nowhere, but they always seem to have a sweet and comforting feeling about them.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
One thing I wanted to add was the chapter where Olive Hamilton goes up in a biplane early in part 2. It seemed sort of random and out of place compared to the rest of the story, but still, I thought it was so entertaining. We learn that Olive is the narrator's mom so it's understandable he wants to talk about her in detail. But it seemed out of place cause this event was during her adulthood, but the rest of the book at this point is still telling of the Hamilton kids still as children. I think he may do this more as we go further along in the book, but this is the first time he jumps ahead in the timeline I believe, so it's initially jumped out me.


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