East of Eden: An Interpretation
I. Cathy Ames - Cathy's main motivation was her desperate and
incessant need for money. This held true throughout most of the book;
it was only at the very end of her life that she realized that she had
been missing something her entire life. This is the reason she left
everything that she had amassed to her youngest son, Aron. This act
may have been a desperate attempt at making up for the love she was
never privileged enough to have.
Cathy viewed herself as someone who could outwit most anyone she met
-- especially men. There were a few of those who she feared because
she felt like their eyes could see into every one of her thoughts and
emotions. Samuel Hamilton was one of these people, and so she despised
Whatever happened in Cathy at the end was responsible for her change
in disposition. Her sudden "goodness" (if it can be called that)
impelled her to leave everything she owned to Aron, her "good" son,
and nothing to Cal, whom she felt was most like her in his devious
personality and sinful motivation (from what she gathered of the few
times they met).
Cathy saw nothing good or honest in any part of humanity. Even the men
who she served disgusted her. She surrounded herself with the slime of
civilization, and was blinded to everyone and everything else. I don't
know that Cathy ever truly liked anybody but herself, and in the end
the fact that she didn't even like herself frankly scared her. All of
her past misdeeds finally came back to haunt her. After swallowing her
"Drink Me," she finally ceased to be, and in her mind, never was; and
that was the way she wanted it.
Samuel Hamilton - Samuel Hamilton was a family man. He valued spending
time with his family and found that even more important than making
money. Even though he always complained about his extremely
unprofitable and barren ranch, he made a lifetime of happy memories
there and found it very hard to leave when he and Lisa moved to
Samuel had a persistency about him. Nothing could ever wear him down,
except of course, old age in the end. But no matter the number of
failed inventions or patents that didn't work out, he was always
working on another one of his ideas. Samuel was loved throughout the
entire county; everybody was his friend. He had one of those
insightful and humorous personalities that everybody liked. Samuel
loved life and ached for what each new day would bring. Although not
as devout as Lisa in her views about religion and what is sinful,
Samuel was a good, moral person who enjoyed life very much.
Samuel saw himself as nothing more than any other man he had ever met.
He was constantly giving and doing his part to improve society as a
whole. He cared for nearly everyone and everything. For his children,
Samuel wanted nothing but success and greatness, but at the same time
he wondered if it were a selfish and sinful thing to want greatness
for his children,...