After The Fall-John Steinbecks' "Eden Of Eden"- "There Are No Sins Outside The Gates Of Eden"
Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for John Steinbecks' novel, East Of Eden.
EAST OF EDEN, JOHN STEINBECK
I usually do not read the comments of book reviewers on Amazon.com (or, in a few cases, at least not until after I have written my own). I was, however, interested in finding out whether Steinbeck and his tale still held interest for today’s readers. The answer seems to be yes. Moreover, I was interested in what other people had to say about the symbolic nature of the clash between and among generations of brothers and its relationship to the old biblical struggles going back to the ‘first family’.
Damn, life has definitely been tougher since the ‘fall’. The morale to be derived from Steinbeck’s novel is, apparently, that while the ‘fall of man’ under the spell of earthly temptations had its down side humankind is better for the struggle. A strong argument can moreover be made that without that struggle by fallen humankind no serious progress would have been made. That struggle is epitomized by the characters, tensions and actions of the two brothers (in both generations ,Adam’s the father’s and Aaron’s and the son’s) which makes me think that Steinbeck may see this an eternal struggle and that we are endlessly doomed to roll that rock up the hill just to have it come crashing back down on us.
Those who have only seen the 1950’s movie version of this novel starring, among others, the ill-fated James Dean and a young Julie Harris, have missed some great writing about the effects of the destruction, struggle to rebuilt and attempts at redemption in the wake of the fall of Adam Trask and his struggle to change his ways. And through him, his sons. The movie (that I saw long before reading the book) skips over the compelling first section which deals with the seemingly pre-ordained destruction of Adam, by his ‘wife’ among others. Moreover, in the movie the demonic role of the ‘wife’ Kathy is glossed over (probably due to the less tolerate and more squeamish mores about ‘fallen women’ in the 1950’s). She is not a ‘nice’ person. Read the book and see why we, even the best of us, are now all living just East of Eden.