.. his forgiveness. Adam only mutters “Timshel.” Plot The plot was excellent. Everything in the story ran out from the nature of the characters. Nothing was too derived but ran smoothly from even to event. For example, Cathy evil nature brought her to killing her parents, attempting to make Mr.
Edwards go mad, attempting to kill Adam, and killing Fay. Adams gullible/innocent nature made him fall in love with the evil Cathy, and kept him from telling the police that it was Cathy that tried to kill him. Arons innocent/holy nature sent him into shock when he found out that his own mother was a prostitute. There was a lot of conflict and tension, enough to keep me reading. The events are believable in that time period but could also be something that would happen today in Downtown LA. Also, it was very interesting to follow the references of Cain and Abel throughout the story.
For example, Adams accepted gift of the puppy and Charles rejected gift of the knife, just like Abels accepted gift and Cains rejected one. The Charles beat his brother like Cain killed his (note the A in Abel and in Adam, and also the C in Charles and in Cain). The same thing happens in the following generation with Arons accepted gift and Cals rejected one. Then Cal kills Aron (note again the A and the C). The ending was pretty good but I felt that Steinbeck took a shortcut by not really resolving anything but killing most of the main characters. However, his ending with Timshel got me wondering about our own sin and our own evil nature.
Also, Cals nature was an interesting point for discussion on the nature or nurture question. Was Cal manipulative because of genes from Cathy? or was he manipulative by growing up jealous of Aron? Characters Steinbecks characters were all fully developed and could have made for an interesting story by themselves. I felt that I really knew the Trask household including Adam, his kids, Cathy and Lee. I grew opinions of the characters and I saw myself in Lees place. Cathy was a freaky person.
She had no conscious and was just a cold blooded killer. I cringed and her every description. Adam was a fool. He was too gullible falling in love with Cathy when everyone else saw that there was something wrong with her. I liked Samuel (more than cause hes me). He was a very nice person and went to help his neighbors. Like Lee said, he sees what is and not what he expects.
Lee was another great character. I thought it was interesting that he spoke like a Chinese immigrant when actually he was born in America and even went to college here. The way he took care of the kids went Adam was depressed was very honest and the way he searched after the true meaning of the story of Cain and Abel was amazing. All of Steinbecks characters brought strong emotions from me. Adam Trask: Son of Cyrus Trask and brother of Charles. He was an army veteran and married Cathy Ames who nearly killed him.
Aron Trask: Son of Adam Trask. He was very devoted to the church and had a holiness around him. Still, he lived in a fantasy world believing everything to be holy, even his mother. His fantasy world was shattered at his discovery of his mother in the whore house. Cal Trask: Son of Adam Trask and brother of Aron Trask.
Cal had some of the manipulative nature of his mother but unlike her, he felt guilty went he hurt people, so much so that he asked his father for forgiveness from indirectly killing his brother. Cathy Ames: Freak. Killed both her parents, killed her close friend Fay, attempted to kill Adam her husband, and attempted to kill Mr. Edwards. He had no sense of good. She had no conscience or guilt..
until the end when he went to church just to see her son whom she abandoned many years ago. Samuel Hamilton: All around nice guy. He was the father of nine kids and had a creative mind. He knocked Adam out of his self-pity after Cathy left him. Lee: Adams Chinese housekeeper. This guy brought about most of the humor in the book from the way people treated him.
People called him “Chink” or “Ching Chong” and talked to him as if he didn’t speak English when in fact he was fluent in it. He raised Adams kids practically by himself for the first year. Setting The setting was very realistic. Probably because Steinbeck actually grew up in Salinas valley where much of this book takes place. But like I said before, the setting wasnt very important because much of the things that happened could have happened today in LA. Style I enjoyed Steinbecks style.
Difficult words rarely came out and his sentences were always too the point. They were never too long or flowery which made for fast reading. Also, Steinbeck did a good job of bringing out the inner qualities of his characters. His use of Timshel wasnt very clear but did cause a lot of thought. Theme Steinbecks theme was the most basic, rudimentary theme of all.
A theme that was talked about since creation. Good and evil. His use of Cain and Abel and the word Timshel brought about ideas of sin. Cathy in this book could be seen as soaked with evil. No good. But good did seem to penetrate through her cold heart near the end of the book. Is man responsible for his actions or not? This was a question Lee pondered and pondered.
He fought for the answer which was Timshel. The correct translation was not thou must which is a command from God, or thou shalt which would imply that you didnt have to worry about sin, you would eventually conquer it, but it was thou mayest. You are responsible for your action. If you want to be good you can and if you want to be evil you can. Conclusion This small group of characters was a microcosm of the real world. There discussion of Cain and Abel was part of a much larger question, a yearning for the truth.
It was a discussion of Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, truth and lie. This group of people represented good, the bad, and the gullible. Anything you want to do you can do. Thou mayest, BUT you are responsible.