Free Study Guide for East of Eden by John Steinbeck

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1.) Trace the change in the character of Charles from his beginnings as the jealous brother to his life as a farmer who misses the company of his brother to his final act of vengeance when he writes his will.

2.) Examine Lee as a member of the Trask household. What are the boundaries of his role there? Is he more servant or more family member?

3.) Analyze the role of money in the plot of the novel and the attitude with which the characters regard it.

4.) What is the role of women in the novel? How do they function in the world of men?

5.) What are some of the prominent characteristics of Samuel Hamilton? How might he represent America?

6.) Examine one of the minor plots, such as the plot of Faye and Kate or the plot of Dessie and Tom. How does the minor plot relate to or echo the major themes of the novel?

7.) How is racism brought out in the novel? Give specific examples.

8.) Choose two couples in the novel and compare/contrast them. Where does the novel locate the strength of a good relationship?

9.) Compare and contrast Charles and Cal in relation to the figure of Cain.

10.) Compare and contrast Adam and Aaron in relation to the figure of Abel.

11.) Who/what is the protagonist of the novel? Who what is the antagonist? How is the conflict resolved?

12.) Trace the development of the main theme of the novel.

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East of Eden Free BookNotes Summary-John Steinbeck
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