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Free Study Guide for East of Eden by John Steinbeck

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES


CHAPTER 25


Summary


Part 1

Tom was alone on the ranch when he got the news that his father had died. He went inside and got out his dark suit. Then he lay down facing the wall.


Part 2

Samuelís funeral in Salinas was large. Adam Trask attended the graveside ceremony, but he would not go back to Olive Hamiltonís house with the family after the funeral. Instead, he walked in the rain to a bar and ordered a drink. The bartender told him that since he was wet, he should have a hot rum to prevent his catching a cold. Adam had several drinks. Then he asked the bartender about Kateís place. The bartender told him to go to Jennyís and avoid Kateís.


Part 3

Adam walked to Kateís place and entered. The woman who let him in, named Eva, seemed like a predatory animal. He told her his name and said he wanted to speak to Kate. Eva went to Kate and told her about Adam. As Kate listened, she got out some white powder and put it into two packets. She gave one packet to Eva and told her to go upstairs and use it, and then come back down and let Adam in her room. Kate also told Eva to tell the house bouncer, Ralph, to listen for a call from her. He was to throw Adam out on her command. After Adam was gone, Eva was to come back to Kate and get the other packet of white powder. When Eva left, Kate took out her revolver and readied it.

When Eva led Adam into Kateís room, she looked relaxed. Adam felt relief when he saw Kate and her degenerated body, for he realized she was no longer beautiful. He told her he had only heard recently that she was in Salinas. He said he had not been able to forget her, but now he could. Kate got out some liquor and offered him drink. At first he refused, not trusting her. When she poured herself a drink, he also took one. When Kate drank some of the liquor, she felt a frightening stirring inside herself. Adam enjoyed seeing her struggle, feeling like he was punishing her.


Adam told Kate about Samuel Hamiltonís funeral. She said she had hated Samuel and wanted to kill him because he had known the truth about her. Adam smiled at her tension and asked why she was so filled with hatred. Kate kept drinking until she finished the bottle. As she drank, she explained that she was filled with contempt, not hatred. She despised her parents, who pretended goodness. She said she had made a man kill himself and had laughed all night because he had wanted to have sex with her when she was a little girl. She said there was nothing in the world but evil and folly. When Adam protested this, she got out the pictures she had been sorting earlier. They were of a senator, a councilman, a professor, and a minister performing sadomasochistic sex acts. She told Adam how she blackmailed the men with the threat of exposure. Adam told her she was inhuman. She said she was smarter than humans. Adam told her she hated the good in people because she was so evil.

Kate said she planned to go away, buy a nice house, marry, and live a respectable life. She also said she planned to find and kill the man who had beaten her so badly before she came to Adamís house. Adam had heard enough. He got up to go, but Kate tried to stop him. She told him they could have sex. When he showed his repulsion, she became enraged. He reminded her that she was still the mother of his sons. She then told him that Charles was the father, not him. Adam, who did not believe her, said it did not matter. Adam twisted away from her, and Kate screamed. Ralph burst in the door and punched Adam, causing him to fall to the floor. She told Ralph to use his boots on Adam, but he hesitated. Adam seized the opportunity. He got up with difficulty and left the room smiling. Kate sat at her desk staring at the door with desolate eyes.


Notes

The meeting between Adam and Kate is climatic. When Adam sees Kate, he looks at her degenerate body and sees her for what she is. He is suddenly no longer under her power. She recognizes this loss and is enraged by it. She tries to tempt him back by offering to have sex with him, but he is repulsed, which enrages her further. She strikes back by stating that Charles, not Adam, is the father of the twins. Adam does not believe her and refuses to be affected. When Kate screams, Ralph, the bouncer, comes in and strikes Adam, sending him to the floor. Adam gathers his wits, gets up with difficulty, and leaves with a smile on his face. It has clearly been a battle of good versus evil, and Adam knows he has won the fight. The reader, however, wonders what Kate will do to strike back. As proven previously in the book, she will go to any means to have her way.


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