Essay describing the use of religious aspects in the book "East of Eden" by John Steinebck; uses "timshel" and the story of Cain and Abel; shows different aspects of the characters using these stories

Essay by aeh416High School, 10th gradeA, January 2003

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"He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama," E.M. Cioran. Human character can be described as sensitive, charismatic, cunning, evil, and even animalistic. There are many instances in Steinbeck's East of Eden when the characters' actions are interpreted using Biblical stories or situations. In John Steinbeck's novel, East of Eden, his incorporation of Biblical stories aides in his scrutiny and interpretation of human nature. By using the story of Cain and Abel, along with the ever-popular translation of timshel, Steinbeck forces his readers to look at the characters he has developed in unusual ways.

The story of Cain and Abel is one strong Biblical reference used in the novel, East of Eden. This is a theme that can be seen throughout the story. Like Lee said when he, Adam and Samuel were naming the boys, "...the Cain and Abel story...I think it is the symbol story of the human soul...The

greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and that rejection is the hell he fears..."(270). The story of Cain and Abel truly is symbolic of the human soul, with love being the desirable emotion and rejection the feared. One of the two strong examples of this in East of Eden is the triangular relationship among the Trasks: Cyrus, Adam, and Charles. Charles fought for Cyrus's love although Adam forever won it, effortlessly, as stated by Cyrus when he said, "...I love you better..."(28). On pages 29-30, Charles and Adam get into a very lively fight. It is then established that Charles feels his father has no love for him, yet adores Adam. After Charles confronted Adam about their father's love and beat Adam senseless, Adam and Charles' mother had a talk. "He doesn't think his father loves him..."she...