Friday, November 19, 2010

Steinbeck's East of Eden Still Knocks Me Over Every Time.

I appreciate the guest post, Isaias Valenzuela

John Steinbecks East of Eden keeps coming back to me, its as inescapable as a Sunday morning. I first read it when I was a freshman in high school, and every time I re-read it, I discover another angle that I never saw before.

The major analogy of the book, the parallel to the Biblical creation story of Adam and Eve, was at first pretty obvious painfully so, actually. Even the characters mock how the connection is so apparent. Lee, who serves as the books most insightful character, criticizes the main protagonist, Adam, for naming his two sons so closely to the Biblical Cain and Able. Lee knows what the readers know—Adam is purposefully, though perhaps subconsciously, leading the life of a man seeking tragedy. Its how he changes throughout the story that really generates my interest.

Steinbeck goes out of his way to play up this connection, but at the same time, he uses it to disguise the other parallels he deals with. The story itself, analogies and connections aside, stands alone strongly and is well worth the read.

If you ever get the chance, you can catch the movie version with James Dean airing on satellite television from The movie only portrays the last third of the book, but it does a good job with it.


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