Angel And The Devil In East Of Eden By John Steinbeck

797 words - 4 pages

In East of Eden, John Steinbeck tells the history of two generations of different families Hamiltons and the Trasks from around the 1880s to the 1920s. Throughout the Trask family, there is a reoccurring glimpse of the Cain and Abel story reflected in two sets of brothers. Each generation struggles to balance the angel and the devil raging inside them. Steinbeck uses masks to prove no matter how destructive it may be, one will always strive for acceptance from others.
Charles Trask, who holds the destructive behavior of Cain, has an acute fear of rejection, despite it being a constant factor in his life. As a child, the only thing he wanted was love from his father Cyrus, but Cyrus gave all ...view middle of the document...

Abra sacrifices who she is to be the person Aron thinks she should be. Abra knows if she reveals her true self, Aron’s world will collapse. Therefore Abra keeps on her “perfect girl” mask so Aron doesn’t break down. He took everything he hoped his mother was and “[she] think[s] he dumped it all on [her]” (497). If Abra was herself, Aron would lose his mother. When Aron leaves, “[Abra] [does not] have to be perfect” she can finally be herself. What this couple does not know is Adam did the same thing with his wife, Cathy. He built up a “glowing beautiful goddess” instead of who she was (134). Unlike Abra, Cathy’s fear of rejection from Adam was not because she did not want to hurt him, it was because she needed him to shield her until she was well enough to leave on her own.
Liza Hamilton is rigid in her need to follow God’s every rule to such an extent she spends most of her life without even cracking a smile. Because she thinks “people having fun [are] wide open to the devil” she doesn’t allow herself the simple pleasures in life most other people enjoy (11). If Liza didn’t live so rigidly by the bible, she would most likely be more relaxed. She...

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