Growing into his own very different young manhood, Cal has taken to wandering Salinas at night. In a haphazard late-night encounter, a drunk invites Cal to Kate's whorehouse and blurts out the truth: "She's Adam Trask's wife, mother of them damned twins. ... Well, she was no good as a wife but she's sure as hell a good whore."

Cal goes to Lee to deal with this new revelation, and again the shadows between good and evil are drawn. Of Cathy, Lee says, "There is something she lacks. Kindness maybe, or conscience. ... She was full of hatred, but why or toward what I don't know. It's a mystery. And her hatred ... was heartless." Adam, on the other hand, says Lee, "has in him, magnified, the things his wife lacks. I think in him kindness and conscience are so large that they are almost faults." *** In Cal, Lee foresees, there will be both the mother and father, evil and good, hatred and love—depending on the choices he makes.

Lee's words loom large, for Cal, as for each of us: "It's too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. ... Look at me closely so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do it..."

Whatever you do, it will be you.

We'll see where that leads Cal, Aron, Cathy, Adam and East of Eden next week!

— Oprah

Footnote: * Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, page 124.

Photo Credit: Painting of John Steinbeck courtesy of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University


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