Free Study Guide for East of Eden by John Steinbeck|
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Lee set the supper table outside, where Samuel and Adam joined Cathy. Samuel realized that conversation was going to be difficult as soon as he sat down. Adam was so absorbed in Cathy, and she was so abstracted that neither of them listened to him. When Samuel looked at Cathy, he found that her eyes communicated nothing, causing him to shiver. He finished his meal early and prepared to leave. In the barn, Lee and Samuel entered into a conversation in which the Chinese man immediately showed his trust in the visitor. He asked Samuel if he needed a servant. Samuel, surprised that Lee might want to leave the Trasks, said that he had no money for a servant.
After dinner, Adam and Cathy sat outside. Although Adam talked about the plans he had for his land, Cathy was at first silent. She then told him she did not want to come to California and that she would go away as soon as she could. He told her she did not know what she was talking about and that everything would change once she had the baby. He asked her not to talk that way any more.
The meeting between Adam and Samuel initiates an important relationship in the novel, for the two men are to become friends. Samuel is portrayed as a happy, humorous, and truthful man, a deep thinker, and a clear visionary; in contrast, the portrait of Adam is begun as a tortured man who is entrapped by his fate. When Samuel looks in Cathyís eyes, he recognizes her lack of humanity, which makes him shiver. His reaction to her furthers the idea that she is an evil aberration. Samuelís immediate insight into Cathy is a stark contrast to Adamís blindness to Cathyís evil.
The encounter between Samuel and Lee is interesting. Lee, immediately trusting Samuel, drops his pose as ignorant, servile, and uneducable. Lee "comes out" to Samuel because he trusts him. He tells Samuel that he is "one of the rare people who can separate observation from preconception."
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. 09 May 2017