So Charles and Adam start a new day with, basically, a throw-away conversation--one they've had before, over and over--to which, clearly, Steinbeck does not want to draw too much attention. There's a sound on the front porch (the house must not be too far from the road; so the rest of the farm must stretch on and on behind it and too the sides, unlike the farms I'm mostly familiar with in Ohio and Michigan, where the house seems to generally sit right in the middle of the property).
The sound isn't a cat, of course, as they think initially, it's a severely damaged woman, bloody and trashed from head to toe. Cathy, or Catherine, or whatever her name is. Interestingly, of the two men it's the Cain figure who makes the first prophecy, followed quickly and unwittingly by the Abel figure, as the latter initiates the rescue:
Charles: "I think you're making a mistake. I'll go [fetch the doctor], but I tell you we'll suffer for it."
Adam: "I'll do the suffering. You go."
Notice Adam's immediate empathy for this girl. Remember, also, his evident desire to get married. It's not difficult to see how these emotions will likely combine; unfortunately, he can't see that this, in this case, can only result in his detriment.
- Would you care for the girl? And why is Adam so stubborn about it? He invests himself so thoroughly that he doesn't see the difference between being a good Samaritan and walking into more potential problems than he could ever escape! Sure he doesn't know who she is--who she really is--but that doesn't matter. Would you do what he's planning to do?
- What is the calculation behind the feigned amnesia?
- Charles is still adamantly against the girl, and not just her presence in his house, but her, fundamentally. Is there something in his nature that predisposes him to this attitude, or is this a real premonition (I don't see any other possibility); then Adam: is he predisposed to his behavior--is this something well within his nature?
- At the end of the section, what is it about Charles that she recognizes? (This answer is directly connected to Charles's observation that she will end up with a scar just like his.)
- I first read East of Eden while living in my realtor's basement. My wife and son were back in Utah after the house hunt upon our initial arrival in Michigan. I was reading it during my first week as a new teacher at SASA. Since that first read and subsequent three or four times through the book, I've wondered about this conversation between Charles and Cathy in 11.3. HOW DOES HE KNOW SHE'S A DEVIL? We know he's right. We've watched her grow up. How does he know? (The beginning of 11.4 seems to indicate that there is possibly some non-verbal communication shared between devils--some invisible tattoo or portent (think monster!).)
- Is Charles capable of lying? He believes Adam is not. Is Charles? Did Cathy speak out in her drugged sleep?
- Based on the previous evidence from Cathy's beating at the hands of her father all those years ago, when tears well up in her eyes now before Adam, are they genuine? Or has she learned to craft those, too?
- (And she lies about EVERYTHING!)
- Despite her lies, she seems surprisingly soft and sincere here. How deep does the lie go? Is there any sincerity at all?
- After her in-the-mirror declaration of agreement to Adam's proposal, Cathy: "She smiled herself when she thought what Charles would say. She felt a kinship to Charles. She didn't mind his suspicion of her."
- Would Cathy have claimed the money if she saw it advertised?
ADAM IS SO FREAKING OBLIVIOUS
IT MAKES ME SICK!
IT MAKES ME SICK!
- Not that he should have known exactly who she is, but why is he doing it? Why does he marry her? There's so much more here than the absence of what we customarily think there should be in a marriage, or the events leading up to it. This is evident in Adam's absolutely ridiculous accusation to Charles: "I think you're jealous, Charles. I think you wanted to marry her."
- Poor, stupid, Adam.