Essay on John Steinbeck 's East Of Eden

1049 Words Nov 13th, 2015 5 Pages
It is a proven fact that what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom is that humans can make conscious decisions over their actions. Instead of relying on just survival instincts, humans act according to certain social norms that are influenced by culture and environment. Given this freedom of choice, human beings mold and adopt their own definitions of good and evil. As a result, mankind’s struggle between good and evil is a common theme in literature, history, and film. John Steinbeck asserts in his novel East of Eden that a person can only be deemed good or evil after his or her death. This claim is not true because good and evil are not separate entities. In order to be good, a person has to possess and recognize evil. Also, whether someone is good or evil depends on the personal moral perspective of the individual doing the judging. Although there is a general agreement on what is morally right and wrong, people are complex enough to not be confined to the textbook definitions of good or evil. A person’s actions can be defined as good or evil, but the person cannot. In the novel East of Eden, Caleb Trask struggles with his morality. Being the son of Cathy, Cal inherited her vast capacity for evil, and initially seems to represent the biblical figure, Cain. Cal becomes jealous of Adam’s blatant partiality towards Aron, and causes the events that result in the death of his brother. Although he commits immoral actions, he is not a wholly bad person. He…

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