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Free Study Guide-East of Eden by John Steinbeck-Free Booknotes Summary
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Adam forced Cathy to move to California, where Adam bought a place in the Salinas Valley and hired Lee, an oriental helper. Adam also met Samuel Hamilton, who befriended him and gave him advice about land and farming. Additionally, Adam learned that Cathy was pregnant; Adam was delighted, but Cathy was miserable, for she was not ready or fit to be a mother. She told Adam that she wanted to leave the farm and did not want the baby. When Samuel met Cathy, he was disturbed by her behavior, just like Lee had always been. Samuel was on Adamís land drilling for water when Cathy went into labor. He actually delivered the twins. During the labor, Cathy showed her evil side, biting his hand and causing an infection. After the birth, Cathy told Adam she wanted to leave; to prevent her from going, he locked her in her room. When she cajoled him into opening the door, she shot him in the chest and departed, leaving her hungry twins behind. Adam was too miserable over the loss of his wife to care for his sons; Lee became their surrogate father and mother.


Cathy went to Salinas, changed her name to Kate, and joined a house of prostitution, where she developed a close relationship with Faye, the madam of the house. The sheriff knew that Kate was Adamís wife and mother of the twins; he told her he would expose her if she ever tried to use her connection to Adam for profit or if she ever revealed her identity to her twin sons. Kate gained Fayeís trust to such an extent that Faye made out a will that left everything to Kate, whom she treated like an adopted daughter. At a party Faye gave to honor Kate, Faye insisted that she drink some champagne. Kate quickly became inebriated and lost control, telling Faye that she hated her. The next day, when Kate realized what she had done, she made Faye think she had dreamed all that happened the night before. She then decided to kill Faye by giving her poison, which she administered in small doses.

Adam had great difficulty recovering from the loss of his wife. Even after the twins were a year old, he had not bothered to name them. When the kind Samuel heard about Adamís condition, he went to the Trask place to jolt Adam out of his depression. With Leeís help, Samuel suggested names for the boys from the Old Testament. Adam agreed to name one son Caleb, after the Biblical character who returned to the Promised Land, and one son Aaron, after Mosesí brother who did not make it back to the Promised Land. The choice of name was a foreshadowing of the fates of the twins.

When Samuel went to see Adam to announce that his children were forcing him to retire, he, Adam, and Lee discussed the Cain and Abel story from the Bible. Abel presents to the Lord the best of his sheep as a sacrificial offering, while Cain merely presents a small portion of his grain. The Lord is greatly pleased with Abelís sacrifice, but displeased with Cainís offering. As a result, Cain grows jealous of his brother and kills him. When the Lord questions Cain, he asks, "Am I my brotherís keeper?" The Lord admonishes him and punishes him, saying he will never be able to produce crops from the land again and must travel the earth as a wanderer. The Lord also speaks to Cain about sin. Lee told Samuel and Adam that the English versions of the Bible have a mistranslation from the Hebrew about Cainís sin. In his studies, Lee found that the Hebrew word timshel should be translated "you may," indicating that the Lord tells Cain he has freedom of choice and may choose goodness or evil.

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