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East of Eden
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Archived 2011 Group Reads > East of Eden 06: Chapters 23-26

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message 1: by Loretta (new) - added it

Loretta (lorettalucia) Discuss below!


Juliette I am really glad Adam went to see Cathy, I just wish he could have hidden his relief and happiness from her a little better. It's like he threw some gasoline on dry wood and all it needs is a small spark to set it off. I'm afraid that he or his kids might be the dry wood.
Also I figured Samuel would leave at some point, but I really like Lee, part of me selfishly hopes we still get to hear from him.


Judy (patchworkcat) I agree about Lee, Juliette. I could have cried when he left. I'm not sure Adam can replace his nurturing of the twins. In spite of shaking off most of his ghosts, I'm not convinced he's still up to parenting full-time.

Since Cathy kept saying that she could get Adam to come back at anytime and he didn't fall into her arms although drunk makes me believe that she will seek revenge. Hopefully, that doesn't involve the twins, but you're right, it probably will.


Carol (peppersgirl) I agree! I'm afraid to see what Cathy will do next. She is one of the most evil characters I've ever read.


Denise (momtoconnor) Cathy makes my blood turn cold...I hope she doesn't hurt the children.

Just wondering...is this story partially true? He refers to his grandparents as Olive and Ernest Steinbeck who I take to be are John Steinbeck's actual grandparents so I wondered how much of this was based on real people. Have to do some research.


Judy (patchworkcat) Let us know what you find out, Denise. That would be interesting to know.


Denise (momtoconnor) Found this on wikipedia...

Kind of interesting to think Samuel was a real person. Would have love to meet him.

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.

"The Hamilton family in the novel is said to be based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck's maternal grandfather.[1] A young John Steinbeck also appears briefly in the novel as a minor character.[2]"


Carol (peppersgirl) Thanks Denise that's really interesting. Can't wait to get to Steinbeck's cameo appearance.


Judy (patchworkcat) This is nice to keep in mind as we read. Thanks for looking it up, Denise.


Bucket I started the book last week, and I'm happy to say I'm completely caught up so I can join in the discussion with you all!

I'm excited to learn that some of the characters are real, and the fact that Steinbeck is making major use of his memories clarifies why the setting here is just so well done.

With all the Cain and Abel talk, it's pretty clear to me that a wedge will be driven between Caleb and Aron eventually and I agree that Cathy will probably have something to do with it. I'm curious to see what becomes of her hint about Charles - if that festers within Adam or not.

I've been fascinated by the conversations among Lee, Samuel, and Adam throughout the novel. I love when Lee says that it is key to our humanity that we can blame our imperfections, at least in part, on the sins of our ancestors. I've kept this in mind as the story continues and it seems so central. Even Cathy has a moment in this section where she blames her parents for her being the way she is.

There's a struggle going on in this novel to determine whether we are all trapped by pre-destination or have free will and, like in real life, time is hurtling forward and characters are speaking and acting without worrying about when they are making decisions and when they are just following along, letting life carry them. Steinbeck is doing an excellent job of making me think about the way these two seeming opposites are muddled together. Samuel's comment about a parent manifesting in a child what he thinks he sees is one example - this could seem like predestination though it is based on a parent's choices. Another example is the way that the past plays a large role in the present. Adam was chained by his past with Cathy and I think his somewhat rocky relationship with his brother will come into play.

Anyway, these are my thoughts at this point - I'm really enjoying the book!


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) Bucket, that was some seriously fast reading! Glad you are joining in.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

The fact that Samuel Hamilton was based on a real person has made me really happy. He's such a great character.

Interested to find out what role Cathy will play in the rest of the book. Everyone seems happy and settled and it's frustrating to know that it cannot continue this way for the rest of the book!


Carol (peppersgirl) I know I'm just waiting for Cathy to make her move.


message 14: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary (attorneymom) Great comments and insights.

Was anybody else a little surprised about Adam's immediate and unwavering rejection of Cathy given his blind devotion to her earlier in the book?


message 15: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) Yes, but very relieved....


Carol (peppersgirl) Yes it felt a little out of character for him but I have to agree I was relieved.


Juliette I think that Samuel saw that coming, that Adam would be able to look at Cathy with reality instead of the fantasy that he had built up in his mind. The fact that she aged a bit probably helped too.


message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary (attorneymom) I think Samuel thought knowing the truth about Cathy would either save or kill Adam, and, of course, Samuel hoped It would save Adam if Adam rejected her. But I didn't get the feeling that Samuel thought Adam would necessarily reject Cathy.

It's too bad Samuel didn't live to see what ultimately happened.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) Mary wrote: "I think Samuel thought knowing the truth about Cathy would either save or kill Adam, and, of course, Samuel hoped It would save Adam if Adam rejected her. But I didn't get the feeling that Samuel ..."

That's what I felt, too, Mary. It is too bad about Samuel dying.


Lahni Denise wrote: "Cathy makes my blood turn cold...I hope she doesn't hurt the children.

Just wondering...is this story partially true? He refers to his grandparents as Olive and Ernest Steinbeck who I take to b..."


The narrator is Olive's and Ernest's son, presumably John as I dont remember him being named. The author John Steinbeck's parents, not grandparents, were Olive and Ernest Steinbeck. (Wikipedia)

Adam should have been a little more careful with Kate. She always has Alan to get even.

At the end of the section Lee says he wants to put papers and roast pig on his fathers grave. Does he mean Samual as a father figure or his actual fathers grave? The way Adam walked out and knocked over the teacup makes me think he is upset somehow. I feel like I'm missing something from that scene.


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