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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

East of Eden VIII: Restlessness, Part Deux -- Maturity

 "After Adam joined the army and Cyrus moved to Washington, Charles lived alone on the farm."

There, that's it: the entire chapter. 

Plus details.

While the chapter goes on a bit of a narrative drive, the basics are pretty simple.  The boys' lives go on and on, and their perspectives, for the most part, change, which is the ultimate justification for this chapter in the first place.  And the changes are significant.  Watch: they've nearly traded places in their maturity.


Reading Questions
Chapter 6.1

  1. So Charles is alone and lonely.  After all these years, why would he remember the times from before the parting-of-the-ways as the "happy times?"
  2. Biblically speaking, what is the Mark of Cain?  This, clearly, is one of the simplest extrapolations of the Cain/Abel parallel.  Watch as it extends through the course of the book, and deepens as we meet the monster in Chapter 8.
Chapter 6.2, 6.3

  1. How has the time since Adam's enlistment left the brothers changed in some ways and, in others, the same?  (This is a broad question in reference, but, I think, can be answered simply.)

Cain flying before Jehovah's Curse, by Cormon


  1. The last question is really interesting. I think the answer is that they have matured and changed in the normal ways that a youth becomes an adult, but the underlying tension between them is still just as strong. Charles still feels jealousy at the fact that Cyrus loved Adam more, and Adam has not changed his feelings toward his father. Each of the 3 in a way has unrequited love toward each other. Cyrus loves Adam, who doesn't love him. Charles loves Cyrus, who doesn't love him. Adam loves Charles, who may love him back at times, but let's face it, he's insanely jealous of him and willing to beat the crap out of him when the fancy strikes him, out of this jealousy.

  2. But is he still willing to beat the crap out of him?

  3. Good point. I think he is, though. Remember when Steinbeck tells us that Adam dared not touch him, even out of compassion?


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