Archetypes In East Of Eden

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From the publication of East of Eden to today the rights and empowerment of women have escalated exponentially. Women are no longer obligated to follow the nurturing mother ideal; they can be independent and strong. Then, in the novel, East of Eden, some believe the author oversimplifies his female characters by filing them into either traditional, caring mothers or heinous villains. However, Steinbeck utilizes their simple, one-dimensional archetypes to show how complex his female roles truly are through subtle details.
Within the novel, most female characters are designated into the class of typical, loving mother types, but they are each defined separately within their cohort. For example, Liza lives life as a devoted mother to her nine
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Even though she is depicted as a murderous monster who worked to destroy her own children through abortion and the revelation of her true identity to Aron, in reality, Cathy solely worked against what she didn’t understand –goodness. This highlights how Cathy also followed the idea of timshel, but she could only follow what she knew –human nature. Not only did Cathy serve as the novel’s main adversary Steinbeck utilizes the evil within her to show how evil could be defeated by goodness. Opposing viewpoints state East of Eden contains underdeveloped, stereotypical female characters argue that Steinbeck categorizes women into two, extreme types: caring mother or heinous villains. However, within the novel, Steinbeck denies his female character’s simplicities by creating multidimensional roles within their womanly archetypes. Each female is capable of being motherly or wicked while being her own individually developed character. Therefore, Steinbeck does indeed create his female characters, as flat rather than round characters. However, though they may remain underdeveloped, they may also remain as individuals separate from their
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