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Son to Cyrus and Mrs. Trask, "young Adam was always an obedient child. Something in him shrank from violence, from contention, from the silent shrieking tensions that can rip at a house." Adam is good-natured and retiring, pacifist and idealistic, fearful of both his father and half-brother. His father forces him into the army to fight Indians in the West. He marries the arch-villain of the novel, Cathy Ames, falling for her pretense of innocence and goodness, and fathers the twins, Aron and Cal, who are born near Salinas, where "Adam went happily about building and planning his Eden." For part of East of Eden, Adam is Abel to his half-brother's (Charles's) Cain. Later, in the Salinas Valley, as patriarch of a family, he will assume the role of the Biblical Adam, even as his sons, Cal and Aron, suggest Cain and Abel.

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