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Free Study Guide for East of Eden by John Steinbeck

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES


CHAPTER 16


Summary


Part 1

Samuel Hamilton rode back home in the moonlight. He was bothered by something and tried to figure out what it was. Finally he realized it was the look in Cathyís eyes. He tried to remember where he had seen that look before and finally remembered a day when he was a young boy and his father had taken him to Londonderry. They had gotten caught up in the crowd and swept forward to a hanging. A man with golden hair was at the noose ready to be hanged. When he looked down at Samuel, he had nothing human in his eyes. Samuelís father tried to get out of the crowd so as to protect his son from the spectacle, but could not do it. As a result, he held Samuelís face against him and covered his ears. He later told Samuel that he was glad the man had been punished, because he had done dreadful things. Samuel was shaken to realize that Cathy had the same inhuman look and resolved to help Adam all he could as a "guilt-payment" for his ugly thoughts.


Part 2

The next morning Liza Hamilton was getting breakfast ready. Samuel came in and apologized for being late. She scolded him for his tardiness and for being out so late the night before. Liza observed a strict schedule, regarding any variation from that schedule to be a sin. Samuel began to tell his wife about the Trask house. She disapproved of the Trasks moving into the old Sanchez place, where the Bordinis, the last owners, had stabled their cattle and pigs because they were unused to houses made of stucco. She said the smell of pigs was impossible to remove. She then asked about Mrs. Trask, wanting to know what she wore. She disapproved that her clothes were store-bought and that she not hard at work. She decided it was not a good idea for Samuel to visit again since the Trasks were saturated with riches and idleness, which were the devilís tools.


Samuel explained to Liza that he would be doing a big job for the Trasks, digging wells and constructing windmills. She scoffed at the idea even though he explained that it was a chance for him to make good money. When they finished breakfast, Tom and Samuel went outside to begin preparations for the Trask job. Joe said he wanted to help, but Samuel said his mother would not let him. He suggested that Joe should tell his mother that Samuel was firmly set against his helping on the job, implying that she would probably let him go if it was in opposition to her husbandís wishes. Two days later, Joe was with Samuel and Tom as they headed for the Trask place.


Notes

This chapter highlights the domestic life of the Hamiltons and further endears Samuel to the reader as he interacts with his wife and sons. Liza Hamilton, though a strict and demanding woman, is still portrayed as a good person with the best interests of her family at heart. She scolds her husband for being late to breakfast and staying out too late the night before. When she questions Samuel about Cathy Trask, she immediately decides that she is not fit company and suggests that Samuel does not visit the Trasks again because of their riches and idleness. Samuel, however, has committed to work on the Trask place, digging wells and building windmills. In spite of his negative feelings about Cathy, he is delighted to have a chance to earn some good money and eagerly makes preparations for the work. He also tricks Liza into letting Joe accompany him and Tom on the job.


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East of Eden Free BookNotes Summary-John Steinbeck

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