The novel East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, is set in the Salinas Valley in Northern California. East of Eden began by explaining the beautiful scenery during wet years. The narrator described everything from beautiful spring flowers to dusky live oaks. There was a certain 30 year cycle in the Salinas Valley. About six years would bring over two feet of rain which made the land rich and plentiful. After those years would come seven years with a foot of rain. Then the drought came where there were less than ten inches of rain. That drought affected the land dramatically causing cows to starve to death. The cycle always continued that way. The narrator spoke about how his grandfather brought his wife to the valley very briefly.
Samuel Hamilton was a smart, charming young man emigrating from Ireland. Samuel’s family had a book from where they got all of their medical attention attended. It spoke of everything from cuts to the birth of children. Samuel had married Liza who was strange in looks but a good cook. Everything she knew and believed came from the Bible. She believed if someone was enjoying himself or herself, they were susceptible to Satan. Her beliefs made her a strong woman without faults.
The narrator spoke of the Trask family in the next chapter. Adam Trask was the son of Cyrus Trask, a military man. Cyrus had gotten shot in the leg causing surgeons to amputate his leg. Cyrus carved himself a wooden leg. Cyrus had met an African American woman who would call at him and offer her sexual services. Cyrus had hoped to find her and use his pocketknife to cut certain features off of her as revenge for the gonorrhea. Cyrus’ first wife was always unhappy. She committed suicide by holding her own head in a pond. Cyrus later remarried a woman named Alice. It took him only two weeks to win her heart, marry her, and impregnate her. She bore a boy named Charles. She was always trying to please others and never complained or treated anyone different. Charles had always had a bad temper. He was showing his dominance over Adam. Cyrus had taught the boys to be military men from a young age but only believed Adam could do it. Charles was jealous of Adam because he felt their father favored Adam more than Charles. Charles had an argument with Adam and fought to the point where Adam had to crawl away. Charles came back a short while after with a hatchet in his hand as he searched for Adam. Adam went away into the military and Charles realized how much he missed him.
Charles was lonely and missed Adam more than anyone else. Adam got discharged but spent a while wandering from town to town. He eventually wandered into his father...