preview

East Of Eden Character Analysis

Decent Essays
Strength or Weakness: Vulnerability in East of Eden In East of Eden, John Steinbeck explores how the personality trait of vulnerability affects an individual. He shows this through Cal (Caleb) Trask’s result in his defensive position from society and a desire to change himself. Cal develops a forced defense against society from his susceptibility. Cal seems to be a powerful person based on his looks; nevertheless, he still has weaknesses. The narrator describes Cal after he hunts with his twin brother Aron: “[Cal] was . . . bigger of bone, heavier in the shoulder, and his jaw had the square sternness . . . Cal’s eyes . . . sometimes sparkled as though they were black. But [his] hands were very small for the size of the rest of him. Cal protected his hands” (Steinbeck, Ch. 27). The narrator describes Cal as having a typically large build, implying that he is strong. Although he seems strong, his hands that are “very small for his size” symbolizes his vulnerability, a sign that he is easily harmed. Hands represent strength, power, and protection because of their ability to make powerful gestures and movements. However, in Cal’s case, his hands are a weakness because they are small and fragile; thus, instead of his hands protecting himself, he finds the need to “protect his hands.” While hands generally symbolize power, eyes, on the other hand, symbolize an open path to the soul. The narrator describes Cal’s eyes as sometimes sparkling “black.” The color black not only
Get Access