East of Eden byJohn Steinbeck 1902 - 1968
Published in 1952, East of Eden was according to Steinbeck a "story of his country and the story of himself."
Steinbeck was brought up in and around Salinas, California, the second setting of the novel. His life experiences there are portrayed throughout this novel. A second strong influence on the novel is his Christian idealism learned through study of the Bible. Other themes in the novel are listed below.
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Basic information on East of Eden:
Time: From the Civil War to World War I
Settings: Connecticut and Salinas Valley California
Characters: Cyrus Trask, patriarch of the Trask family in Connecticut
Alice Trask, Cyrus' second wife, step mother to Adam, mother of Charles
Adam Trask, the oldest son of Cyrus and father of Caleb and Aron.
Charles Trask, second son of Cyrus
Samuel Hamilton, originally from Ireland, patriarch of the Hamilton family in California
Liza, Sam's wife, mother to nine children
Olive Hamilton, mother of John Steinbeck
Cathy Ames, a young woman who becomes Adam Trask's wife
Lee, Adam Trask's cook and servant in California
Caleb Trask, twin son of Adam Trask, brother to Aron
Aron Trask, second twin son of Adam Trask
Abra Bacon, friend of Cal and Aron Trask
Themes: Cain and Abel
Good and evil
The Hebrew concept of timshel
Salinas Valley history
A father's blessing on his child
People on the fringes of society
Turn of the century America
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BOOKS containing information on John Steinbeck and East of Eden can be found by using the Kingwood College Library catalog. Link to the catalog from the Library website at kingwoodcollegelibrary.com. Use the title or author's name as a subject keyword search to find books about the novel and the author. Some of the Reference books which discuss East of Eden are:
MLA The most authoritative index to scholarly journals in the area of literature. This index is used with microfiche which are located in the college library. No full text articles appear in this database. If you need help, please ask the reference librarian on duty.
PA Research II/Proquest This multi subject index contains some articles on East of Eden and Steinbeck. Limit searches to Peer Reviewed journals to obtain scholarly articles. Search both Current publications and the back file. Use your library barcode to login from off campus.
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The California novels East of Eden This site was created by Ed Stephan, Ph.D. Sociology at Western Washington University. Dr. Stephan is interested in the relationship of territory to society. This web page and the related pages were created after visiting California's Steinbeck country.
The National Steinbeck Center This web page about East of Eden is one of the pages linked to the National Steinbeck Center. The center is located in Salinas, California, the heart of "Steinbeck country."
Steinbeck Country A site created by the San Jose State Center for Steinbeck Studies, part of San Jose State University, which describes and shows pictures of many of the places Steinbeck uses as settings in his novels.
For further research try these search engines: Metacrawler || Google || AltaVista . More search engines can be found at the Kingwood College Library web page.
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Page created by , 3-19-02 || Return to Kingwood College Library || Updated 11/6/02.