Common Themes In Steinbeck's Cannery Row And East Of Eden

1448 words - 6 pages

Cannery Row follows a group of unemployed boys that mostly steal what they need to live off of. Lee Chong, the grocer, lets Mack and the boys stay in a meal shack that they turn into their home, even though he knows they will never pay him rent. The boys show their appreciation to Lee Chong by no longer stealing from his grocery store. The boys also want to do something nice for Doc, who lives across the street from them. They plan to give Doc a party and spend a lot of time trying to get everything perfect for him, although they’re also throwing the party just to have a party for themselves.
They set the pary up in Doc's lab, which is also where he lives, one night while he is away on a trip, and the party end ups starting before Doc even arrives. Doc happens to be very late getting back from his trip, and when he arrives home at about dawn, the party is already over and his lab/home is competely trashed. After the party, a bad feeling overpowers the town for a long time. Many people in town blame Mack and the boys for the party going so wrong. Many other unfortunate events begin to occur after the party. A storm beaches several fishing boats, and a man falls asleep on the train tracks and loses his leg. The Bear Flag is shut down by crusading women from the town, and Dora loses the business that would have come from three conventions that are in town. Worst of all for the boys, Mack’s puppy, Darling, gets severely ill and begins to waste away. The boys have no one else to go to about Darling, so they decide to go see Doc. He tells them how to take care of Darling, and she gets better very quickly.
The luck of the town finally changes and everyone starts acting better. Mack and the boys again decide to do something nice for Doc since he helped them with their sick puppy. After discussing the situation with Dora, the local madam, they decide on another party that Doc can actually attend this time. Motivated by their failure the first time around, the boys are much more careful about their planning. The party for Doc ends up being a great success. Altough he wakes up with a bad hangover, Doc has a great time and takes time to reflect on life as he begins to clean up.
East of Eden presents two generations of brothers as they battle between good and evil. The first generation consists of Adam Trask and his hot-tempered brother Charles. The second generation is made up of Adam's sons, Aron and Cal.
The first part of the novel follows the first generation of Trask brothers, Adam and Charles, and Adam's wife, Cathy Ames, who is also referred to as Kate in the second part of the book. Cyrus Trask, the one-legged father, commits the "original sin" that begins the action of the novel. Cyrus loves his son Adam more than his other son, Charles. He favors Adam's gift of a puppy over Charles's gift of an expensive knife. Out of pure jealousy, Charles cruely beats his brother. Cyrus later lies about his Civil War record to win an important job...

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