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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

East of Eden XXI -- chpt 20: Treacherous to her Master

Gustave Dore

Perhaps it's just my own personal adulation of both, but I was thinking while reading this chapter how Dante and Steinbeck seem to have some of the same darkling sense of humor.  There's an irony and a wit that seem peculiarly parallel, and I can't help but imagine what Dante would have done with Cathy and Adam in Hell.  Adam, of course, would be up above the gates with others guilty of sins of omission; Cathy, on the other hand....  Would she not be right at the very bottom with Judas, Brutus, and Cassius, hanging, wriggling, in the very jaws of Satan himself, demanding of him a fourth mouth?

Reading Questions
Chapter 20.1

  1. Kate to Faye: "You're so sweet.  You believe in everybody.  Someday if you don't watch, or I don't watch for you, someone will steal the roof."  //  "Who'd want to steal from me?" asked Faye.  //  Kate put her hand on Faye's plump shoulders.  "Not everyone is as nice as you are."

Chapter 20.2

  1. Kate is a master at disguising the physical symptoms of her thoughts with their emotional synonyms.  Here, Faye has just given her her will and Kate appears to be overcome with emotion and sorrow for the pall of death cast by such a thing.  What's really going on in her evil little mind?
  2. But there's a contradictory line after Faye insists the Kate drink the champagne: "Kate's chemistry screamed against the wine.  She remembered [what she did last time she got freaking tipsy], and she was afraid."  Afraid!?  Of what?  Is she actually afraid she might hurt Faye while inebriated?  That doesn't sound like her, especially considering the obviousness of her plotting.  What's she afraid of (and am I being too hard on her)?
  3. Is it the girl or the wine that does it in the end?

Chapter 20.3

  1. Why doesn't she just finish her off?  Is everything not in place and ready?


  1. 20.2.1. It's all an act. She expected this all along, and that is why she ingratiated herself to everyone. Everything going according to plan.
    2. She's afraid she might hurt Faye, but only in the sense that that would ruin everything. She's afraid because she's not as good (or really good at all) at hiding her truly malicious feelings when she is drunk, or even less than drunk apparently.
    3. It's the girl. All the alcohol does is make her less careful. These were her thoughts all along. All the alcohol does is remove the cover disguising them.
    20.3.1. The thing she wants to avoid above all else is suspicion. If she kills her then, then everyone will figure it out when she says, "Oh by the way, she just gave me this will earlier in the night." Not to mention the fact that the sheriff already knows who/what she is. It goes along with the beginning of next chapter about how every scheme is easier if one isn't in a hurry.

  2. Well said. So she has no remorse for her actions or fear for potential actions except that they might compromise future scheming.


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