Friday, May 8

East of Eden, and maybe East of Hades too.

I apologize for the recent lack of posts! I have been missing inspiration in my life since finals. This has been the worst academic semester of my life! I went from all As last semester to maybe A, B. C (in that order) this semester. Yikes! Well, as the saying goes, "As are great but Cs get degrees!" I'll still graduate with WELL above a 3.0 and that's what matters!

Besides, clinical depression is a major killer to motivation. Now that I'm getting all nice and medicated, I should be fighting fit for next semester.. which begins in Spanish in a couple weeks! Uh oh! At least I'll have my wonderful husband with me along for the ride. I love taking classes with Daniel - it brightens my day and we get to study together. Ugh, he's so perfect sometimes. I'm a stupid gushing idiot! I secretly hate 90% of other couples who are gaga over each other.. so ungrounded in reality, I think! But in private, I gush over my husband as well. C'est la vie!

Before finals, I finished East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Which reminds me, yikes, it's due at the Cleveland library! Bah. I knew going to the library was a bad idea. I just want to steal all the books and never give them back. I'm truly a book fiend.

Reading is sexy!

Anyway, so I loved East of Eden, even more than I loved the other books of his that I read, Grapes of Wrath which I read in my grandmother's house (she has her own library room! I only dream of having an entire room for a library!) over Christmas break in two days, and Of Mice and Men which I read in thirty minutes. (It's a basically a long pamphlet)

This book was a bit heftier than the aforementioned ones, so it took me a few days to read it. But I literally couldn't stop reading, and I never wanted the book to end.

So, no spoilers, but here's an overview of the book ... if you're the type like me who doesn't even want your story ruined by even the back cover or inside flap, then stop reading NOW!

The portrait of Salinas valley was indescribable. Due to my views on hippies, working, and politics, I've never been that big of a fan of California. Well, John Steinbeck showed me that yes, God has a use for EVERY piece of land in the United States!

I can't imagine golden fields or wildflower meadows or dazzling sunsets like Steinbeck described. I can only hope one day to visit, and maybe take a gander at the world that he loved so dearly.

More descriptive and entrancing than his setting, however, were the characters. For me, it is the description, actions, and dialogue of the characters that make or break a book for me. I love entering the mind of a fictional character and living through their actions. Well, Steinbeck didn't disappoint.

There were many characters - Adam, Charles, Cathy, Aron, Cal, Lee, and the whole Hamilton family (based on Steinbeck's maternal grandparents and their children) and the whole lot of them were dazzling.

The main plots centered around Adam and Charles, and then Aron and Cal, Adam's sons, and how their stories relate to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel.

(As a side note, this reminds me of the song "Jenny Says" by Cowboy Mouth. There's a line in the song, "My name is Cain and I am now unable..." Get it?! I laughed and laughed when I heard that line, and Daniel thought I was crazy)

Cathy is representative of Satan. She is the most evil character I have read about in the Bible (other than maybe Satan himself) or in any Shakespeare play. I don't think any movie director could match the evil that Cathy seemed to represent. I found myself continually surprised by her, and amazed at Steinbeck's description of her.

Another interesting aspect of the book is the discussion of the Bible verse where God tells Cain his sin will rule over him. Upon inspection of the Hebrew word, "Timshel" actually means "thou mayest." Which could allude to forgiveness (even in Genesis, before Jesus Christ!) and the ability for mankind to fight his natural evil nature. Steinbeck gave the ultimate argument for good vs. evil, albeit in a roundabout way.

You can read the full Timshel book excerpt here. But here's a quote to get you to go to the link:

Adam said, “I don’t see how you could cook and raise the boys and take care of me and still do all this.”

“Neither do I,” said Lee. “But I take my two pipes in the afternoon, no more and no less, like the elders. And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing—maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed— because ‘Thou mayest.’

Anyway, I won't ramble on any longer about how amazing the book is. Just read it!

Over, off, & out,


The Wine Commonsewer said...


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