John Steinbeck's East Of Eden

1757 Words8 Pages

John Steinbeck, perhaps one of the most thoughtful and sophisticated writers thus far, had a lasting career of many great novels ranging from 1929 to 1961. He contributed greatly to the literary movements of modernism and naturalism, although most of his novels fall into the movement of modernism. Steinbeck explored the lives of characters who led ordinary lives, just like the people who were living at the time. In his novel, East of Eden, Steinbeck delves into the lives of a complicated family across its generation. He explores the battles between good and evil and most interestingly, within this battle of good and evil, he picks apart the influence of the subconscious and unconscious mind on behavior, aligning with the similar theme in the …show more content…

John Steinbeck wrote the story following Cal and Aron to show the relationship between brothers to his own two sons. He said once that East of Eden was written directly for his sons to “ tell them one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest story of all—the story of good and evil, of strength and weakness, of love and hate, of beauty and ugliness” (National Steinbeck Center). He felt driven to explore the impact of good and evil and the struggles that come with the power of the unconscious mind so that his sons would understand this phenomenon. Steinbeck used East of Eden as a textbook of sorts for his two sons so expose to them the new ideas stemming from Sigmund Freud and another famous French philosopher at the time named Henry Berguson. Berguson reiterated some of the same ideas a Freud when he stated that the unconscious mind is triggered by moments that remind an individual of moments from the past, causing a powerful emotion to arise in a person when they are reminded of a time from the past. This powerful emotion influences the response of the individual, thus proving that the unconscious is a very powerful force that, like emotions, can become out of one’s conscious reign. (Miami Dade College) Again, Steinbeck follows the story of Cal to show these emotional powers and struggles of the mind. As Cal grows up, he becomes more and more aware of his evil tendencies and the impact that he is having on his life. Although he wishes that he could overcome his meanness, he continuously finds himself reverting back to his evil impulses. Cal states, “I don’t want to be mean. I don’t want to be lonely” (Steinbeck 337) when he realizes that he often acts evil due to his unconscious brain. He starts to go crazy because he wishes to overcome his evil but does

Open Document