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East of Eden
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Archived 2011 Group Reads > East of Eden 07: Chapters 27-30

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message 1: by Loretta (new) - added it

Loretta (lorettalucia) Discuss below.


Bucket My favorite quotation in this section is when Lee and Adam are discussing what Adam should do about the will and Lee says: "Yes, memory. Without that, time would be unarmed against us."

This plays right into theme of being trapped by the past that this novel is all about. It is also a nice clue about Steinbeck's view on the free will vs. predestination debate that has surfaced occasionally in the book. What seems like predestination and inevitable is really just our past decisions and experiences continuing to play a role.

Toward the end of the scene where Lee says this, he gets frustrated with Adam and says that he already knows what Adam will do and Adam does too. Adam is confused, but later he says that he kept trying to change his mind and was snapped right back to having to go see Kate and tell her the truth. Because of who Adam is (based on his past) he must do this, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's predestined to.

Early in the novel, I felt like Cal and Aron were doomed to repeat the story of Cain and Abel, but now I'm wondering if part of Steinbeck's goal here is to show how that past can be defeated - that no matter how trapped we feel, we do still have free will. In some ways, the relationship between Charles and Adam was a step forward from that of Cain and Abel and it's possible that Cal and Aron could take another step forward.

So, I'm hopeful that their relationship won't end in tragedy, but I'm not holding my breath!


Denise (momtoconnor) My heart broke for Cal when he prayed to not be mean anymore. I hate seeing him repeating the path that Cathy took...but at least he has some awareness of it.

I'm wondering what happens next with the money from Charles...can't wait to read the next section.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Denise wrote: "My heart broke for Cal when he prayed to not be mean anymore. I hate seeing him repeating the path that Cathy took...but at least he has some awareness of it.

I'm wondering what happens next ..."


I loved that passage. I really did feel sorry for him as he's still so young to be aware of his own faults in the way it came across.

I'm intrigued to see what will happen with the money because there have been times when Adam has almost seemed to regret how he has enough money to live on without having to work his land. I wonder how it will make him feel knowing that his brother has worked hard and saved all his money yet he has admitted that he doesn't work hard yet lives comfortably. It's an interesting contrast in the ways people deal with money and working which I think it's still relevant today


Bucket I think part of why Adam dislikes having the money that he does is that he still feels like his father stole it, or got it in some not-nice way (as he tells Charles earlier in the book).

It's fascinating to watch the parallels among the 'Cain' characters (Charles, Caleb, Cathy) and the 'Abel' characters (Adam, Aron). As I said above, there does seem to be progress made in the new generation.

I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of Abra - her name also begins with an A, but she doesn't seem to have the 'good but weak' and somewhat self-centered state of mind that Adam and Aron (and maybe Abel too?) have.


Juliette Denise wrote: "My heart broke for Cal when he prayed to not be mean anymore. I hate seeing him repeating the path that Cathy took...but at least he has some awareness of it...."

I felt so bad for him too, but upon reflection it gives me a lot of hope for him. His awareness and his desire to be different sets him apart from Cathy and Charles. And Charles...sneaky, cheeky boy leaving money to both Adam and Cathy, I have to admit when I read that part even though I was scared for Adam and the boys, I smirked a little, I didn't think Charles had it in him.


Juliette The story of Lee's mother was a scary look into the human condition. If it were my mother's story I would want to push it to the back of my mind and forget about it. I find it interesting how Lee's father would not allow him to do that. I hope that Adam follows suit and tells the boys everything about thier mother.


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 18, 2011 03:39PM) (new)

Juliette wrote: "The story of Lee's mother was a scary look into the human condition. If it were my mother's story I would want to push it to the back of my mind and forget about it. I find it interesting how Lee..."

I remember being confused at the time, so maybe someone can enlighten me.

Was it true that although what happened to Lee's mother was horrific, afterwards he was brought up amongst the perpetrators? Or did I completely misread that?! I don't have my copy with me at the moment (and won't until Monday) so can't go back and check!


Juliette
Was it true that although what happened to Lee's mother was horrific, afterwards he was brought up amongst the perpetrators? Or did I completely misread that?! I don't have my copy with me at the moment (and won't until Monday) so can't go back and check!


That is what I gathered, that Lee was raised by the men who defiled his mother.


message 10: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) Heather wrote: "Juliette wrote: "The story of Lee's mother was a scary look into the human condition. If it were my mother's story I would want to push it to the back of my mind and forget about it. I find it in..."

Yes, he was raised by the same men who killed his mother. Its almost unfathomable. It had to be confusing to Lee, these men led to his mother's death, but yet they cared enough to help raise him.


Lahni Bucket wrote: "I think part of why Adam dislikes having the money that he does is that he still feels like his father stole it, or got it in some not-nice way (as he tells Charles earlier in the book).

It's fasc..."


Charles is the one who always thought the money was stolen. Adam didn't think so.

I hope Lee gets to own his bookstore. I don't see Adam being independant anytime soon.


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