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Good and Evil

The good is always challenged by the evil and this vicious cycle of life is reflected well in
the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck. East of Eden contains many characters of different traits
and merits, which contributes to the story with unique and interesting color; however all characters
can be divided into the two sections of good and evil. The life choices made by each characters
clearly depicts the perpetual contest between good and evil; the struggle between good and evil is
an eternal cycle of life.
The first individuals who successfully portray the never ending clash of good and evil are
Adam Trask and Charles Trask, brothers who share polar characteristics and personality. Adam is a
very good hearted and innocent man whose kind heart makes him vulnerable to misfortune, such as
his unfortunate marriage with the corrupted woman Cathy Ames. Unlike Adam, Charles is a violent
and and cynical man who falls prey to loneliness and therefore desires Adams company as a means
of escapism. Ever since the two brothers were young, Charles would try to bring corruption upon
Adams mind by displaying jealousy, hate, and anger. Adams, being the pure hearted character he is,
does not at all become a victim of evil, but rather continues with his usual positive attitude towards
life. In fact, as Charles and Adams grow up to be adults, Adams captivates Charles with his positive
aspect on life.
Cathy Ames and Samuel Hamilton, although differing significantly in terms of personality,
also perfectly exemplifies the never ending contest between good and evil. Cathy Ames was a
corrupt women who fell prey to her desires for wealth. Because she was obsessed with trying to
satisfy her avarice, Cathy Ames betrays her kind husband Adam, who had taken care of her for
many years, and leaves him to fulfill her desire for money. Cathy is a perfect example of the evil
as she gave up her human value and lost to her impure desires. Unlike Cathy Ames, Samuel
Hamilton was successful in holding up to the strong blows of desire and conserved his needs,
becoming a force of Good. Samuel Hamilton, instead of desiring money, desired a sense of
community, as he invited Adam and Cathy from the cold outdoors to his humble home. Samuel
Hamilton did not help Adam and Cathy with an incentive and therefore establishes his character in a
positive manner.

By analyzing the aforementioned character individually, it would be difficult to identify the
theme of Good versus Evil. By comparing the characters to each other, however, one can truly
realize the purpose of the usage of extreme character difference and notice the seemingly unending
cycle of good and evil. Through the usage of a multitude of different characters with subtly similar
traits of the good and evil, John Steinbeck states that the perpetual contest between good and evil
can be found in everyday scenarios and that this vicious cycle cannot be avoided. In a world that
has the good, there is always a hint of evil.
Work Cited
Adam came walking out from his village. His shirt was dirty and the stolen clothes were wrinkled
and soiled from having been slept in for a week...adam called (61)
Adam said, Just thinking. And he was thinking with amazement, Why Im not afraid.......dead
and resurrected. (63)
Samuel began to talk tot push the silence away. He told how he had first come to the valley...He
gave up. (173)
Cathy spoke very quietly.....As soon as I can I will go away. (175)
Kate sat in the swivel chair behind the desk. She was still pretty.....wrappings of elastic bandage to
support the veins. (316)

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