* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

East of Eden XLIII -- chpt43: ABEL'S SACRIFICE

Reading Questions
Chapter 43.1
  1. File:Cain and Abel.jpgTwo chapters ago, we saw Cal's sacrifice to his father; now we see Aron's, and while we later see Aron's typically teenager "he wouldn't understand," why is it really that he doesn't want to tell his father?  Additionally, compare Aron's feelings for his father with Adam's feelings for his father (or Charles's for that matter).  There's an interestingly mirrored parallel there.
  2. Is lack of ambition, like Lee's, a blessing or a curse?  (Consider this in and out of context.)  In Lee's case, how does it perfectly serve him as arbiter for this odd family?

Chapter 43.2
  1. Would knowing Mary Magdalene were his mother make it any easier for Aron to forgive her?  What should this reveal to him about his ambition for the Cloth, and why will he not--at least not now--recognize such a revelation?

Chapter 43.3
  1. Interestingly, Cal's "sacrifice" is as vegetable as was Cain's.  How might Aron's be indeed considered the animal sacrifice of the Old Testament, especially considering Abel's sacrifice was of the firstlings and of the fat, or the best, thereof?
  2. Why does Lee keep bringing up von Clausewitz?
  3. Aron is guilty of the greatest misconception of all of humanity, regarding the color of grass and fences.  I'm surprised Lee doesn't spend more than a sentence pointing this out, instead he opens up a pontificating #10 can of the extremes of youth.  Why doesn't he know--or chooses to ignore that--this won't do a lick of good?


  1. Alright, cool, finally got caught up on a trip to Detroit last night. Here we go.

    43.1.1. I think it's because he views his father as an embarrassment. His father lost all this money, and now Aron gets mocked at school. I think that he KNOWS his father would be very happy for him, and that's why he doesn't share it.
    43.1.2. Hmm... really good question. Steinbeck seems to be saying that a lack of ambition could be a good thing. It's almost like a lack of ambition marks emotional maturity. And it may be. However, I'm still young, so I'm a big fan of ambition. One caveat: Tom had no ambition, and his life didn't turn out very well. Would it have turned out differently had he chosen greatness? We'll never know.
    43.3.1. I'm really not sure. It seems to me that his sacrifice is his following through with his ambition. How that is a sacrifice, I guess I don't know. Perhaps because he's giving up Abra? But at the same time he generally seems to be enjoying his piety. So it's hard to tell. Not sure how it is an animal sacrifice? Could you explain?
    43.3.2. No idea. I would have to know more
    about von Calusewitz.

  2. I think Lee might be using the word "ambition" loosely--or perhaps it's the impetus behind the lack of ambition that's significant. Lack of ambition can be from laziness or contentedness or from depression. Lee, I believe is content. Tom was depressed. Adam used to be lazy (still is to a degree).
    As far as the sacrifices are concerned, Aron, I believe is sacrificing himself. He is the lamb without blemish. However, he is not making the sacrifice to Adam--our god here. Cal, on the other hand, is making a fully sincere and complete sacrifice of his means and self. Steinbeck seems to be making a case for Cain. If the motive was right and just behind the sacrifice, why does it matter what it's form is? Aron, while perhaps making a sacrifice more emblematic of that of Abel's, is not doing so lovingly to his god, so shouldn't it count for nothing? Yet the god--ADAM--loves it all the more.


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...