This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Cathy Ames As The Devil In John Steinbeck's East Of Eden

760 words - 3 pages

Cathy Ames as the Devil in East of Eden


East of Eden was a novel that explored the roots of evil in its most primal form. Through intricate plot lines and complex characters, John Steinbeck weaved a tale of brutality, cruelty, and isolation. One important character that helped to illustrate the presence of evil throughout the book was Cathy Ames, an intelligent woman who ruthlessly used other people to serve her own needs. When reflecting upon East of Eden, a debate that often surfaces is whether Cathy's evil was a result of nature or nurture. Arguments for and against both sides are in the book. At some times, Cathy is portrayed as a wicked fiend who's aggression stems from nowhere but her own empty heart. Other times, Cathy appears weak and afraid of people who aren't the least bit intimidating. Those are the moments in the book where one must question whether Cathy is truly evil, or just an impatient and self-centered individual.


Cathy's upbringing did not seem to be a likely place to foster dissent and animosity in the young girl. Her parents were loving and eager to educate and entertain Cathy. Unfortunately, Cathy was not a standard child. She was quite different from other children. This fact was very obvious to Cathy's parents and the townspeople. Similar to other children, she learned how to use certain facts and pieces of information to her advantage. However, Cathy's vast cleverness set her apart from other children in that she used much more sensitive information dealing with adult issues for her manipulative purposes. Whatever she did as a child was cold and calculated. Cathy's actions as a youngster seem to point to the conclusion that her sinfulness came from nature and not nurture.


A disturbing scene in the book describes how Cathy's parents died in a house fire. It is quite obvious from the text that Cathy was the culprit of the horrible tragedy. Among the other atrocities she committed included mentally torturing her English teacher to the point where he eventually took his own life and...

Find Another Essay On Cathy Ames as the Devil in John Steinbeck's East of Eden

Common Themes in Steinbeck's Cannery Row and East of Eden

1448 words - 6 pages generations of brothers as they battle between good and evil. The first generation consists of Adam Trask and his hot-tempered brother Charles. The second generation is made up of Adam's sons, Aron and Cal. The first part of the novel follows the first generation of Trask brothers, Adam and Charles, and Adam's wife, Cathy Ames, who is also referred to as Kate in the second part of the book. Cyrus Trask, the one-legged father, commits the "original

John Steinbeck's East of Eden: Modern Biblical Story of Cain and Abel

2348 words - 9 pages John Steinbeck's East of Eden: Modern Biblical Story of Cain and Abel " And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, ' Where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, ' I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?' And he said, ' What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now

Free Will in East of Eden by John Steinbeck

1398 words - 6 pages Achievement." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. Pugh, Scott. "Horrifying Conclusions: Making Sense of Endings in Steinbeck's Fiction."Steinbeck Review 3.1 (2007): 69-83. Print. Schultz, Jeffrey, and Luchen Li. "East of Eden." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. 1952. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print. Steinbeck, John. Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

977 words - 4 pages . Aron’s death was similar to the Cain and Abel story because Cal convinced Aron to join and indirectly kills him. Cal hoped to move on and have a happy life with Abra. Evil was no longer present in the Trask family because Cathy and Aron were gone ending the fortune’s evil. Cal faces his sin and the sins of his family and is used in the Lord. Works Cited Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

1972 words - 8 pages sends his readers into a whirlwind of emotions when following the choices that Cal must make to become a good person. Jackson J. Benson, a writer on Steinbeck explains Steinbeck’s use of biblical allegory in his essay titled John Steinbeck: Novelist as Scientist: Although the Biblical materials in East of Eden may be more confusing than useful, if we can look beyond them (or see that Steinbeck is using religious materials to make a non-religious

Overview of East of Eden by John Steinbeck

2265 words - 9 pages John Steinbeck used his childhood growing up in the Salinas Valley as the backdrop to his 1952 novel, East of Eden. Similar to the Garden of Eden, the Salinas Valley is lush and fertile in some places like the Trask ranch while other places are dry and barren like the Hamilton’s land. Steinbeck “wrote the story of good and evil, embracing love and hate, demonstrating their inseparability” (Krávlová 51). He creates an allegory for the story of

Never Ending War: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

917 words - 4 pages In John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”, the author continuously brings up the theory of man always at war with good and evil, and ultimately having to choose which side they are on. As humans, uncertainty and confusion are two main factors to our indecisiveness. Nor is it easy when we are being engulfed by conflicting pathways and influences of others. In “East of Eden” the complex character of Cal Trask is pulled by two conflicting directions. He

A book report on John Stinbeck´s East Of Eden

1515 words - 6 pages succeeded. He has with me. This book is simply about the power of choice and as long as you know you have that choice then the possibilities are endless and hopeful. The power of timshel gets crystallized when Caleb confronts his evil mother Cathy and he says: " I'm my own. I don't have to be you".John Stienbeck´s East of Eden is a profound book with layers and layers of wisdom to embrace and lessons to learn. The heavy book is easier to read

Essay describing the use of religious aspects in the book "East of Eden" by John Steinebck; uses "timshel" and the story of Cain and Abel; shows different aspects of the characters using these stories

904 words - 4 pages "He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama," E.M. Cioran. Human character can be described as sensitive, charismatic, cunning, evil, and even animalistic. There are many instances in Steinbeck's East of Eden when the characters' actions are interpreted using Biblical stories or situations. In John Steinbeck's novel, East of Eden, his incorporation of Biblical stories aides in his scrutiny and interpretation of human nature

Good vs. Evil in East of Eden

1202 words - 5 pages Everything is arbitrary. For example; how does one know what is hot, without knowing what cold is? This to, is the rule for good and evil. Good and evil are interrelated, as expressed in the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck, or at least more interrelated than one might expect. "We all have the potential for good and evil, but being evil is a choice," states Lee, a servant who acts like the philosopher in the novel and who, perhaps expresses

Character Developement In East Of Eden

639 words - 3 pages entire novel. In John Steinbeck's novel, East of Eden, the characters are unusual, realistic, and intersting, all which contribute to the appeal of the novel. These characters appeal to the reader, and the reader is able to sympathize with most characters, from the most upstanding citizen to the ruthless seductress.Faye, although the owner of a whorehouse, is depicted a respectable, honorable woman, by the description Steinbeck gives her

Similar Essays

How Cathy Is Evil In The Book "East Of Eden" By John Steinbeck

1483 words - 6 pages filled the jar halfway with the blood. She then buried the evidence of the chicken. She then took off the apron in the kitchen and put it on the stove. She poked the coals until the apron caught on fire. Again before leaving she hid the evidence of the jelly jar. She remorselessly locked her parents in their house and set it on fire. Her parents sad death did not make Cathy shed a tear as she was looking into a new exciting career

Angel And The Devil In East Of Eden By John Steinbeck

797 words - 4 pages In East of Eden, John Steinbeck tells the history of two generations of different families Hamiltons and the Trasks from around the 1880s to the 1920s. Throughout the Trask family, there is a reoccurring glimpse of the Cain and Abel story reflected in two sets of brothers. Each generation struggles to balance the angel and the devil raging inside them. Steinbeck uses masks to prove no matter how destructive it may be, one will always strive for

The Significance Of Sibling Rivalry In Steinbeck's East Of Eden

1513 words - 6 pages biblical characters embraced Steinbeck’s characters throughout every concept in the novel, the good vs. evil confines the characters personality in every idea of Steinbeck’s novel. From the biblical story of Cain and Abel to Adam and Charles to Cal and Aaron the story continues through out every generation. John Steinbeck's novel, East of Eden is the epic story of a California family who struggle to overcome issues of betrayal, infidelity, and the age

John Steinbeck's East Of Eden Good Versus Evil

993 words - 4 pages Good Versus Evil in East of Eden   The idea of good versus evil is illustrated in several ways in John Steinbeck's East of Eden. This is seen through the external conflicts in the novel, the internal conflicts of the characters, and a universal understanding of the battle between good and evil.   External conflicts between the main characters, Cathy and Adam, reflect the idea of good versus evil in their relationship. Cathy, who is