Free Study Guide for East of Eden by John Steinbeck|
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Adam noticed that Charles had added more land to the farm while he was gone and suggested that his brother build a new house on it; but Adam was not interested. Adam also learned that Charles had bought property in town, including the inn. Adam could not understand why Charles worked so hard. In contrast, Adam did not want to spend his life working on a farm.
Charles questioned Adam about why he never paid him back the hundred dollars he lent him to come home the first time. Adam admitted that he had forgotten all about it. He then told Charles what had happened to him. He explained that he ran from the chain gang three days before he was to be set free because he thought he would only be picked up again and re-imprisoned. Charles seemed amused and almost proud that his brother had been in jail.
Steinbeck opens the chapter in a characteristic way by making a universal statement about human nature, which he then applies to his characters. He notes that men cannot live together without falling into rages. He then shows how Adam and Charles Trask have great difficult living together. Opposites by nature, they bicker all the time. When Adam grows tired of the fighting, he always leaves, but he never fails to return to the farm.
Charles is the steady one, who wants to be financially successful. He works according to a strict code, pushing himself to rise and begin work at four thirty each morning. He invests his money wisely, buying more land. His only release from the routine of his existence is a trip to the prostitute. In contrast to the practical Charles, Adam is a philosopher, dreamer, and visionary. He does not want to waste the rest of his life working on a farm. Each time he leaves, he travels afar; first he goes to Boston for several months and then to South America. He also dreams of moving to California and tries to talk his brother into it; but Charles has no desire to leave the farm.
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. 09 May 2017