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

Friday, November 19, 2010


  1. Why does Cal walk at night?
  2. What makes Cal more capable of dealing with the information about his mother than Aron?
  3. Discuss Cal's fear compared to his brother's or his father's.
  4. Did Cal "indulge" in the activities of Kate's place?
  5. Why does Lee answer Cal's questions?  Would Adam have approved?  Is Lee contradicting his employer?
  6. Why does Lee get so upset with Cal as he's leaving his room?  Which characteristics of his father's does Cal have, and what of his mother's?  Is there a naturally dominant side?
  7. Consider the second line of the chapter, "If he had been an only child or if Aron had been a different kind of boy...," in tandem with the previous question regarding Lee's action.  The idea is that if things had been different early in Cal's life, Cal wouldn't be who he is right now.  Apply this concept to Cathy.  What if she had had a sibling like Aron, or a mentor like Lee, or even a father more like Adam?  Is it possible that, once upon a time, she possessed the necessary traits, and had they been fostered differently, to be a less evil person?


  1. 5. I think it's hard to say whether Adam would have approved. He certainly would not have wanted Cal to figure out the truth in the first place, but I don't know whether he would have been able to come fully clean had Cal confronted him. The moment where Cal sees his scar suggests quite possibly he wouldn't have been able to. This is the type of role that fits Lee perfectly, though.
    6. Lee gets so upset with Cal because there isn't necessarily a dominant side. In Adam, it is love and in Cathy it is hatred. With Cal it's almost up for grabs at the present moment, and Lee worries that, if he takes this defeatist attitude, the evil side will win.
    7. No. Cathy is a monster. I think she's beyond the help that better circumstances may have offered.

  2. 7 -- You know, my heart and soul want to disagree with you, but to disagree would be also to disagree with the role of Cathy's character as a mechanism in the book. I really think Steinbeck intended her to be unequivocally evil and from birth. I do think, however--and in maybe a burgeoning tendency to agree with "those" critics--that the story might even have been stronger had Cathy, simply as foil to Cal, had the opportunity, were circumstances otherwise, to choose who she's become. Ultimately, it's an entirely moot point, but what if? What if Cathy had had the option to choose to be other that what she's become.

  3. Oh, I agree with you. I disagree with Steinbeck's view on this, but I'm just trying to answer it within the context of the book. I think there are innate qualities that do make some people different than others, but I have to believe that people can change based upon whom they meet, what they read, what they learn to believe, what they decide to be, etc.


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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...