Review Of ' The Magnum Opus East Of Eden '

1318 Words6 Pages
Sins of the Father Parents are ultimately responsible in their choice to have children. However, the roles that those parents have in shaping the lives of their children is entirely up for debate. There is no set guide for how you raise your children. As a result, we see a wide range of involvement from smothering to entirely absent. In Steinbeck’s magnum opus East of Eden, the influence of father figures on Adam Trask as well as the resulting effects on Adam’s children is explored. The figures in his life only serve as guiding hands, but the choices he makes are his to make freely. The failures of Adam Trask are rooted in his childhood. His upbringing was not the warm and loving experience that many would hope for. It was said that…show more content…
There is no compassion, and he shows his favor infrequently and arbitrarily. The tipping point came when Cyrus favored Adam’s puppy over charles’ pocket knife for no discernable reason. Charles attacked Adam out of anger, and Cyrus demanded to know why. Adam said simply that “He doesn 't think you love him” (4. 4). These behaviors are the makings of a dictator or authority figure, not a father figure. While authority may be a component, Cyrus lacks the proper guidance and love to be a father figure. These feelings came to fruition when it was said that “when a child first catches adults out… his world falls into panic desolation” (3.2). Unfortunately, Adam suffers as a result of this newfound revelation. Adam went into the military bearing the weight of his father’s expectations. Adam finally did stand up to his father when choosing to return to his regiment instead of remaining in Washington as a member of his staff. Cyrus retaliated by ensuring that Adam would “Rot in the barracks” (6. 2). Cyrus retained his control over Adam, but Adam “Remembered that Cyrus was lonely and alone - and knew it” (6. 2). Steinbeck developed Cyrus as an easily recognizable antagonist, His behaviors exemplify sin.Steinbeck 's reflection on the effects of poor parenting only serves to reinforce the lessons for his own children, persuading them to choose the right path. When asked about the influence on his children, Steinbeck said “I want them to know how it was, I want to tell
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