East of Eden Readalong discussion

East of Eden > Part 4 Discussion / Chapters 34-55 / Final Reaction [SPOILERS]

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message 1: by Ian (last edited May 07, 2018 08:15AM) (new)

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 29 comments Mod
Discussion for chapters 34 through the end of East of Eden. Spoilers are allowed so please do not read through comments unless you have read all of the book!

message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 10 comments Did anyone else wish that Steinbeck had spent a little bit of time with Charles before he died? I can see why he didn't—the story had moved on to Califonia, Adam & Cathy—but a few more pages would have been of interest.

I'm quibbling though. I think East of Eden even surpassed my expectations. I was so involved in reading it that I forgot to post my thoughts here. Has anyone else finished it?

message 3: by Aurora (new)

Aurora (auroradomani) Just finished it today - despite how sad the story was in parts I really found this to be a pleasurable read. I loved reading about all of the characters, especially Lee. My least favorite was probably Adam, but mostly because I don't enjoy passive characters as much.

I'm curious to see what others think about Cathy/Kate's ending - do you think she was truly remorseful? Or just tired of living? I'm leaning towards the latter but I think she, like Aron and Adam, built up a fantasy world and when it came crashing down (Aron finding out about her), she didn't feel like she could cope anymore.

message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily Emm (emmaleighbug) I finished up the book this weekend, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. It is certainly a book more about the journey than the ending, I think. Lee’s philosophies are pure brilliance, as are so many of the observational details about the nature of humanity and society Steinbeck sprinkles into each and every chapter. That is the gold of this book to me. But I have to say I am a little bit disappointed in the arc of the story I guess. Maybe it’s that there were tons up high and low points throughout the whole novel like foothills rather than a peak the plot was building up to. I think I was just expecting the latter since that’s what general plot structure is and now I’m not sure how to feel because it wasn’t that way.

I guess I’m just not sure what to think of the ending itself either. It’s not a happy one, is it? And not very climactic. And I’m still not sure what the big deal was about the Hamilton’s!! I also resent that it is compared to Cain and Able or whatever, because Cal didn’t murder Aron...it was just a mean thing that led to a rash decision that happened to kill him.

I feel for Cal, I really do. I don’t think he had badness inside of him like Cathy did. She murdered people, Cal just felt normal feelings of jealousy and did a few bad things. Cal wouldn’t have been able to do them either if Adam had been honest or Cathy had actually left. Why didn’t she go back to the east coast when she left? Adam would have given her the money...one other question I had is why Charles was the real father? I mean, was he for sure?

I gave the book four stars because I really loved the writing, even if it wasn’t the type I could just read on and on for hours. Not all great writing is that way. John Steinbeck was probably something of a genius, is my major take away from this book, and I look forward to reading more of his work...however, I’m not in a hurry to do so.

I am looking forward to hearing other people’s reactions toward it.

message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily Emm (emmaleighbug) @anastasia It is interesting about Cathy’s death. I think what happened is that she saw her sons. First Cal, who had her cleverness, and then Aron, the one who looked like her, and she regretted leaving them. Perhaps it was the first time she regretted anything, and it shook her to her core, making her more paranoid about her previous terrible acts.

I personally liked Adam. I thought he was a good man, but I didn’t understand how he could check out of his life for so long. Especially with his sons there...

Which reminds me of something else - I hated when Cal thought that Adam loved Aron more because he looked like Kate. It was only a thought Cal had, and didn’t ever come up from Adam’s perspective, or Lee’s...but what a sad thing for him to think.

Overall, I liked Cal 100xs more than Charles. I only ever felt sad for and scared of Charles. Poor man never felt loved.

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