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Free Will In East Of Eden By John Steinbeck

1398 words - 6 pages

Timshel; meaning “thou mayest”, holds a significant role in East of Eden. It shows that anyone can desire to surmount vile in their hearts and create morality within them self. In the novel, Steinbeck portrays the significance of timshel through the introduction of free will, the internal conflict of Caleb, and the blessing of Adam.
Steinbeck portrays the significance of timshel through the introduction of free will, which plays an important role in the theme of Cain and Abel and provides the interpretation of Steinbeck. Timshel is brought in by Lee who is the servant of the Trask family and discussed by both Samuel Hamilton, and Adam Trask. In chapter 24 Lee discusses the idea of timshel by showing the different interpretations of it through various translations, in the Hebrew translation it says “thou mayest rule over sin” which gives man a choice to fight through their sin and overcome it (302). Thus, “the translation of timshel into “thou mayest” enables the release of the energy in every human being “(Schultz). Timshel helps us not only understand the choices of human beings, but it shows that “Steinbeck constructs his fiction around the theory that timshel should be translated to thou mayest…he tells us about his own philosophy from the use of the Bible” (Warren). Steinbeck uses timshel as a way to let out his own philosophy about humans from using the Bible. This introduction of timshel through Lee becomes a very important part of the story as well as a theme; by this Steinbeck conveys his ideas and thoughts on a man’s destiny. Timshel then becomes a big part of the story which alters the plot of the Cain and Abel story by offering free will. Steinbeck interprets timshel as one of the most important things in the story and it is not only used in the plot, but also used in the everyday life of humans. Steinbeck interprets timshel as one of the most important things in the story, he says “this little story turns out to be the most profound in the world” (Steinbeck). Not only that but, “the freeing of human possibilities is one of Steinbeck’s objectives in having the story grounded in the framework of the Cain-Abel story” (Schultz). This shows that timshel is what alters the plot and makes the second generation of the Trask family different from the first; by offering a choice. The introduction of timshel greatly affects the plot and provides views of Steinbeck which makes timshel a significant part of the story. Timshel is manly used in the internal conflict of Caleb Trask which makes the plot twist and the book more interesting.
Steinbeck portrays the significance of timshel through the internal conflict of Caleb Trask. Caleb is confronted with his evil mother who makes him believe that he is also evil, but then realizes that he has a choice and doesn’t have to be evil through timshel. In chapter 24 Cal is described as “sharp, dark, and watchful” while his brother Aron I is “a boy you like before he speaks and like more...

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