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The mother of author John Steinbeck—the author and one of the narrators of East of Eden—she is also a character in his own book. Olive Hamilton becomes a teacher who yearns for metropolitan life. "She was as intuitive as a cat. Her acts were based on feelings rather than thoughts. She had her mother's firm chin and button nose and her father's fine eyes. She was the most definite of any of the Hamiltons except her mother. Her theology was a curious mixture of Irish fairies and an Old Tetament Jehovah whom in later life she confused with her father. ... External realities of a frustrating nature she obliterated by refusing to believe in them, and when one resisted her disbelief she raged at it."

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