Hopelessness and Desperation in East of Eden

February 15, 2021 by Essay Writer

East of Eden, the author John Steinbeck uses a narrator conducting a hopeless and desperate tone comidating before a critical change of Adam’s relationship towards another. Before the critical outcomes of Adam the tone of hopelessness and desperation can show a relationship that intertwines with the myths of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel.

Steinbeck’s narrator uses a hopelessly desperate tone when Adam tries to lock Cathy in their house. On page 201 near the bottom of the book, it talks about Adam, a major character who is married to Cathy, had locked her in their house. Adam did so because his wife had told him she wants to leave him and their twin sons to be on her own. “He stood panting, his ear close to the panel, and a hysterical sickness poisoned him. He could hear her moving quietly about. A drawer was opened, and the thought leaped in him- she’s going to stay. And then there was a little click he could not place. His ear was almost touching the door.” The narrator disputes what Adam’s perception was, listening to Cathy shuffling in the house, he subjected a group of tense words in order to describe his discomfort. “… a hysterical sickness poisoned…” shows a weakness in Adam and the way the narrator describes how Adam’s regret and disparity grows with the intense words the narrator uses. “the thought leaped in him- she’s going to stay…” using the hash mark right after the text saying Adam had a quick thought pop in his head, and then say what his thought was, shows the fact that Adam didn’t want to believe what was happening and he didn’t want to feel hopeless, which leads to the tone not only being hopeless but also desperate. In the event of East of Eden containing the concept of Adam and Eve, there being two sides of Salina Valley where there is good on one side and bad on the other, Adam chooses to want to find the hope of good through the bad of Cathy. The narrator tells this event in a hopeless tone to show that the narrator knows there is no way of Cathy being able to represent the good side in the story of Adam and Eve.

After Adam had been shot and Cathy was gone working at a whore house, Adam had become distant and closed off from the world. This has become a problem with Lee, Adam’s worker, and Adam’s neighbor, Samuel Hamelton. Samuel has decided to go over to Adam’s place to make Adam snap out of his delusions and to take care of his twin sons instead of Lee taking care of them. This shows a tone of hopelessness and desperation for both Adam and Samuel because they both want to fix the situation but both don’t know what exactly to do. “You bought your uprightness, You bought your thumb on sideways. Listen to me, because Im like to kill you after. You bought! You bought out of some sweet inheritance. Think now — do you deserve your children, man?” “Deserve them? They’re here — i guess. I don’t understand you.” Samuel wailed, “God save me, liza! It’s not the way you think, Adam! Listen to me before my thumb finds the bad place in the throat. The precious twins — untried, unnoticed, undirected—- and I say it quietly with my hands down — undiscovered.” (Page: 258-259) Where the passage is highlighted, the narrator tells that Samuel was begging for Adam to listen to him so he can confront him on his behavior, the emotion of how the narrator describes the actions of Samuel is desperation, if Adam doesn’t listen to him, he’ll kill him. The contempt of Samuel having the amount of frustration towards Adam proves that Samuel is hopeless with not knowing how to help Adam become a better father. Without looking at how tensing the words means are, and looking at the way the narrator tells of what Samuel and Adam had said, it shows contempt and frustration. Samuel is told in this passage to be desperate to want to change the way Adam is. To snap Adam out of his stage of grief, the narrator shows desperation. This passage doesn’t exactly go with Adam and Eve or Cain and Abel but is help from Samuel leading Adam back to the good side of Salina Valley and to prevent The Cain and Abel concept from Adam’s twin sons.

With the rest of the book to be read comes the last page. With the twins of Adam now with names, Cal and Aron they grew up to find out who their mother is and for Aron to go into the army. While Aron fights in the army, Cal comes to fear and question his true intentions of being born good or evil because of his mother. During the time of Aron and Cal growing up, Adam became like his father and cared for Aron over Cal. Cal grows to feel rejected and always second questioning himself as well as feel hopeless. Soon after Aron is killed in battle thereof Adam dies in disparity and hopelessness. Before Adam dies, Lee grows with desperation to get Adam to tell Cal that he means not to reject Cal all this time. “He did a thing in anger, Adam, because he thought you had rejected him. The result of his anger is that his brother and your son is dead.” Cal said, “Lee — you cant.” “I have to,” said Lee. “If it kills him I have to. I have the choice,” and he smiled sadly and quoted, “ ‘If there’s blame, it’s my blame.’” Lee’s shoulders straightened. He said sharply, “Your son is marked with guilt out of himself — out of himself — almost more than he can bear. Don’t crush him with rejection. Don’t crush him, Adam… Then his lungs filled. He expelled the air and his lips combed the rushing sigh. His whispered word seemed to hang in the air: “Timshel!” His eyes closed and he slept.” (Page 602) The narrator goes through a conversation of Lee yelling at Adam to forgive himself to his son Cal for the times Adam had rejected Cal as a person. Lee is hopeless about the way Adam is treating his now only son and tries to make amends towards the two before death parts them. This shows the last time Adam siding between the Adam and Eve concept. There being him making a detrimental choice that will affect his son Cal as he passes. This is helped with Lee knowing that if Adam doesn’t make things right, Cal will be stuck in the thought he was born to the side of evil like his mother. With these words, the narrator had Lee had spoken, Adam had only to say, “His whispered word seemed to hang in the air: “Timshel!” His eyes closed and he slept.” Timshel implies Cal may overcome his evil nature because of the ‘mark’ put upon him by “God”. In begging his forgiveness of his son, Lee also tells Adam ‘Your son is marked with guilt.’

Although the fundamental idea in East of Eden is that evil is an innate and inescapable human problem, the novel sets forth hope that each individual has the ability to overcome evil by their own choice. And through the tone of hopelessness and desperation, the narrator tells many of the ideas of how the people are helped or affected with good and evil.

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