The, By John Abel

1920 Words8 Pages
Just as Steinbeck diverges from the usual interpretation of Charles and Caleb as Cain, he does too in the cases of Adam and Aron as the biblical Abel. Abel is originally described as the good one, the innocent and more likeable, after all it was his gift that God preferred over Cain’s. This is also the case of Adam’s son Aron, that Aron is the preferred son over Caleb.
In the first generation of the Trasks, following the Abel-Cain framework, Steinbeck had Adam as the Abel figure. Because there is only little information about Abel’s personality in the Biblical story from Genesis, people make their own assumptions of Abel’s character. All we know is that Abel was the preferred one and at the same time, he was killed by his brother Cain,
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Adam and Aron had also one thing in common, that they left their home, with no regard to their family. Adam simply went to the army, which seemed as some kind of escape than a service for the country and Aron decided to leave the Salinas to go to college.
After Cyrus died, Adam told Charles that he hated their father, even though Cyrus preferred Adam the whole time. This is another example of strange behavior to his brother Charles, who feels abandoned in their family home. Adam did not write him any letters, only to inform him if and when he was coming home. At this point of the story, Adam is no longer the pure and innocent Abel figure. When Adam tells Charles about his time spent in prison, Charles “felt warmth for his brother you can only feel for one who is not perfect and therefore no target for your hatred” (East of Eden 144). Leatham claims that at this point in the novel, the standard interpretation of Cain and Abel breaks down, and “so do[es] the dualism that separated Charles and Adam and the arbitrary and false divisions humans in general draw in order to categorize others and order their world” (Leatham 14). This means that neither Charles nor Adam are longer a hundred percent pure good or bad characters, it seems like they exchanged some of the traits. Adam is not an entirely good character because he neglects his family, he disrespects his father and he is not hard-working, but on the other hand, a reader has to see
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