East of Eden Biblical Allusions Essay

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck is a book filled with biblical allusions. From the constant references to the biblical story of Cain and Abel to the constant use of the Hebrew word “timshel.” The correspondence of the names (C and A) and the similar story lines prove that Steinbeck was using the Bible as the main allusion for East of Eden. Yet it is the end of the book that wraps up the allusion and clarifies Steinbeck’s theme because the finishing piece of East of Eden is a close to exact copy of the finishing peice for the story of Cain and Abel. Throughout the book, chapter by chapter, Steinbeck creates more and more similarities between Cain and Abel, Charles and Adam, and Caleb and Aron. The first group of similarities starts with the first generation of the Trask family, Charles and Adam. Cyrus Trask, the boys’ father, stated that he loved Adam more than Charles and that was proved to be true to the boys, when Cyrus chose Adam’s birthday gift of the puppy over Charles’s birthday gift of an expensive knife. Due to the partiality, Charles’s jealousy takes over and he nearly beats Adam to death. In the Cain and Abel story, after Cain kills Abel, God ‘marks’ Cain to prevent others from killing him and in East of Eden, Charles receives a dark scar on his forehead while attempting to move the boulders on his field. One last similarity between the characters of the two stories, is that of Cain and Abel, Cain is the only one who can and does have children because Abel is dead and in East of Eden, of the two first generation Trasks, Charles is the only one with kids, seeing that Cathy Ames hints that Caleb and Aron couldn’t possibly be Adam’s but are actually Charles’s kids. The second group of similarities has to do with the second generation of the Trask family, Caleb and Aron. Caleb and Aron continue on the characteristic resemblance that their father and uncle had
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