Message of Hope in East of Eden, Cannery Row, and The Grapes of Wrath
When I look at Caleb Trask, I see a man from the book East of Eden to admire. Although he was a man with many faults and shortcomings, and a man with an unnatural sense of cruelty, he was also a man who had a deep longing to be perfect and pleasing to his family, a man who craved his father's attention, and a man with a better heart than any other character in the book. When I look at Mack I see a man with more soul and more kindness than any other person on Cannery Row. He isn't ashamed of his poverty or life as a bum, and he embraces who he is, for all of the good and bad. He goes to exhaustive lengths to give his friend, Doc, a party. He is compelled to do this because he sees what Doc does for the people of the community, and he wishes to give him something in return. That kind of spirit and gentleness cannot be bought with any amount of money. When I look at Ma, in the novel, The Grapes of Wrath; never have I read of such a strong person, male or female, who so single-handedly kept her family together. While reading the book I became disheartened at what this woman had to endure and persevere through: death, family desertion, starvation, and sickness. I was also encouraged by her. Ma was a role model of integrity, or rather, she was a reminder of the ease in which I live from day to day-she was the epitome of courage and diligence. John Steinbeck uses three seemingly different characters to convey the same message, one of hope and perseverance.
When I first read East of Eden, nothing about Cal Trask's personality or his mannerisms made him likable. He was introverted, cold, and hard. I could not help but sense the story of Cain and Able being played out in a modern day version between him and his twin brother. Although Cal and his brother Aron were twins, distinct differences existed between the two boys. Aron was a natural spot of sunshine, illuminating his surroundings wherever he went. He was a curly topped child who was adamantly attached to his rabbits. Cal was the opposite of his brother, quiet and serious; he was looking forward to farming a small patch of land that his father was going to give him. Yet there existed an even greater difference between Cal and his angelic brother. Cal had a foreboding sense of anger and evil about him that was completely foreign to Aron. Cal takes pleasure in making his brother cry, and in causing a little girl to urinate in her pants by frightening her so.
It becomes apparent, though, that Cal struggles with his darkness and wishes passionately to be rid of his meanness. He doesn't like the way he is, but at the same time he can't change himself, either. From my first introduction of the two brothers, I was taken with Cal. He was the underdog, the less privileged castaway that his father wasn't concerned with. Aron wasn't human. He was too perfect. I was drawn...