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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

East of Eden XV -- Olive, the Olympian

Chapter 14

"I must tell you that there are certain things in the existence of which my mother did not believe, against any possible evidence to the contrary.  One was a bad Hamilton and another was the airplane.  The fact that she had seen them didn't make her believe in them one bit more.
"In the light of what she did I have tried to imagine how she felt.  Her soul must have crawled with horror, for how can you fly in something that does not exist?"

No questions.

This has always been one of my favorite chapters.  While I don't know what Steinbeck's real mother was like or what he thought of her, this chapter speaks loudly of the adoring love a son can develop for his mother long after childhood has passed.  This chapter doesn't have a lot to do with the conflict of the story, and I like to think while reading it why Steinbeck feels the push to include it.  Maybe that can be the source of solicited responses.  That, and, if you want a bit of a writing challenge, change the face of the situation and write Olive in her first Olympic competition (preferably not naked like the Greeks, but not contemporary either; what event, where did her talent come from and how did it develop).  Or just talk a minute about your mom.

Love this chapter....

(you can read all but two pages of this on Google Books: here)

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